Sustainability: What It Means and How It’s Changing

Growing demand for sustainable industrial, commercial and development practices is quickly changing the way the world does business.

New technologies, as well as shifting priorities and new agendas, are needed in order to meet and overcome some of the biggest modern challenges.

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is a concept that allows organizations to exist, function and even expand the scope of their operations without depleting non-renewable resources or doing excessive harm to the natural world.

pillars of sustainability

Sustainable business practices are essential for dealing with threats caused by climate change, species depletion or pollution. Investing in sustainable infrastructure now could allow businesses to have far higher costs these problems may result in should they be ignored.

Why is Sustainability Important?

According to the GetSmarter Sustainability Report, it’s important to understand the crucial business benefits that sustainability offers. Business practices that are unsustainable have the potential to quickly exhaust precious natural resources, destroy ecosystems and natural habitats or to accelerate the process of climate change.

Sustainability is essential for ensuring clean air and water as well as protecting the natural environment and preventing potentially-catastrophic consequences like widespread extinction or ecological collapse.

The 3 Pillars of Sustainability

The core tenets of sustainability are of particular relevance to corporations, businesses and larger organizations whose actions and operations have the potential to make a greater impact.

1. Environmental Protection

The most often discussed aspect of sustainability – protecting the environment, is an important responsibility. Environmental protection involves finding ways to reduce carbon footprints, minimizing waste and pollution or finding sustainable alternatives for both materials and workflow processes.

2. Social Development

Business practices that are less than ethical can cause no end of problems. Social development efforts typically focus on treating employees and associates in sustainable ways or improving a business’s standing within the surrounding community. Providing staff and associates with fair pay and treatment is essential for ensuring that employees are able to create and maintain a safer workplace and social environment.

3. Economic Development

Reinvesting profits and directing revenue in order to fund sustainable development is another essential concern. While many businesses may find it challenging to strike the right balance between profitability and investing in their own future economic development, doing so can be an issue of paramount importance. Ensuring that future growth, expansion and development can be handled in a sustainable manner is never an issue that should be taken lightly.


Adherence to the core concepts of sustainability can help to ensure that businesses are able to make more effective choices and direct their actions in a way that will have the most impact. Incorporating the three pillars of sustainability into either a planned or existing business model can lead to long-lasting benefits that no business can afford to ignore. In addition, it will also help you to avoid being a victim of greenwashing.

Investing in sustainable business practices means investing in our shared future. Businesses would do well to take further action in their efforts to curb carbon emissions, decrease their consumption or resources or to lessen the impact that their operations may be having on the natural world.

Best Practices for a Green Business

Looking for ways to make businesses greener is a growing trend. Waste and destruction are just bad public relations while making an effort to clean up your act is increasingly supported by customers and employees alike. There are a number of myths about sustainability, such as the belief that it will cost you more money. In fact, taking steps to try to reduce what your company wastes will lead to savings. A green business is good not just for the environment but also for your balance sheet. If you’re considering starting a business but want to adhere to green principles, the tips below can help you.

ecofriendly home

Make it Your Business

If you want to be a small business owner but you aren’t sure what kind of company you want to run, one option is to actually run a green business. You might start a company that recycles metals or paper, or you might look into organic farming, helping homeowners design greener living spaces, or installing solar cells.

You could become an environmental consultant or educator. These are all vastly different types of enterprises requiring very different skill sets and backgrounds and won’t be suitable for everyone. But the point is that if this value is truly a core one for you, consider making it front and center.

Get the Right Tools

Whatever type of company you decide to launch, having the tools that will allow you to run efficiently and with the smallest amount of waste is important. It’s even better if those tools can perform multiple functions as is the case for electronic logging devices in fleet management.

Having ELD devices are necessary to ensure that you remain compliant with hours of service and other regulations, but they have benefits for the sustainably minded as well. They can help streamline operations, reduce costs and save you money. They can help you ensure that your fleets use less fuel. You can review a guide on how they can improve your overall efficiency.

Reduce Waste in Offices

Within your offices, you can create a green culture that takes steps to try and cut back on waste. There are many ways to do this. Make an effort to purchase items that have little or no packaging. Discourage any type of one-time usage of disposable items.

waste management for businesses

Have recycling containers throughout the workspace, and encourage their use. Keep reusable plates, cups, glasses and silverware in the kitchen. Install a dishwasher, which washes dishes with less waste than handwashing and takes the burden of washing the non-disposable items off any single person.

Make an effort to learn more about plants and choose only native plants for landscaping, ensure that any landscaping does not require a great deal of water and maintenance. Recycle electronics and buy used when you can. The ubiquitous nature of computers in modern workplaces may mean that less paper is wasted than would have been a few decades ago, but there is still a lot that companies can do to cut back on paper usage as well. Use recycled paper, and print on both sides. Distribute reports and other documents electronically.