Sustainability

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Chapter 2 - Society


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Welcome to the Sustainability page

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WEF - 2023
Al Gore video on Vimeo
Al Gore 2023

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Meaning of the sustainability concept

Nowadays, sustainability is a strategic concept. That means there are two main topics to consider.

The long term

There have been attempts to define this for example:

  • "Sustainability can be defined as the capacity to maintain or improve the state and availability of desirable materials or conditions over the long term"
  • "Sustainability is the long-term viability of a community, set of social institutions, or societal practice. In general, sustainability is understood as a form of intergenerational ethics in which the environmental and economic actions taken by present persons do not diminish the opportunities of future persons to enjoy similar levels of wealth, utility, or welfare"
  • "Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs

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The next step to take

  • Choices matter: it is not possible to sustain everything, everywhere, forever
  • Scale matters in both space and time, and place matters
  • Limits exist (see planetary boundaries)

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Key sustainability themes

Corporate Social Responsibility

Today, many companies view Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a critical part of their overall business strategy, recognizing that it can help to build trust with stakeholders, enhance their brand reputation, and contribute to long-term business success.

In het Nederlands spreekt men over Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Ondernemen (MVO).

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SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 as a global framework for sustainable development, with a deadline of 2030. The SDGs consist of 17 interconnected goals and 169 targets to address global challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and environmental degradation.

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ESG

ESG, which stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance, refers to a set of non-financial factors used to evaluate a company's sustainability and ethical impact. The concept of ESG dates back to the 1960s and 1970s. Still, it gained greater prominence in the 1990s and 2000s with the rise of socially responsible investing (SRI) and the development of corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. As a result, ESG has become an increasingly important consideration for investors and companies seeking to balance financial performance with social and environmental responsibility.

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