Ecology

What is sustainable development?

Sustainable management is something everyone talks about. But only few know what this really means and again less do apply it.

Using resources without over usage is sustainable. But how this can be applied and how even you, the consumer, can make the change is not always easy to see.

Definition of sustainable development

Sustainable development is like sex talk between teenagers: many talk about it; many say they are good at it; but the truth is that only very few have ever done it. 

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The definition which can be found is “Economic development that is conducted without depletion of natural resources”. This comes back to the definition of sustainability and maybe you did read our article about sustainable fashion? – In the same term sustainability is always related to usage of resources without overuse.

But the question is how far to go. What is “normal” usage, where is the limit? This is not easy or maybe impossible to define. This is what makes the topic of sustainable development so difficult and not easy to understand.

More marketing than real values

But it sounds good for advertising, for greenwashing, to show that a company actually cares about humans and planet. If a company says they work towards sustainable development or that they apply a sustainable development strategy this sounds great, right?

But what are they really doing? It is most of the times impossible to measure, to know what is going on. As production without resources is impossible, but what is sustainable each and every one defines on their own.

Ask yourself: What is sustainable? And following ask the same question to you friends or family and you will see that with a high change definitions are not the same.

Sustainable development goals from the United Nations

The UN did release in 2015 the so called sustainable development goals covering 17 goals towards a more sustainable long-term approach. 17 goals for humans and the planet, released with a 15 year plan until 2030. You can read the details of this plan here.

These goals give a guideline and the possibility to at least talk about the same values.

The 17 goals include 5 main topics: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.

People    

This first category of goals works towards the end of poverty and hunger in all forms. Human beings should reach equality and dignity. Health shall be ensures and everyone shall have the possibility to live in a healthy environment.

Planet   

Today environmental pollution is high; the planet will not recover if we do not stop pollution. This second black of goals is to work towards a sustainable consumption and production. The usage of natural resources without abuse and in respect of nature shall be possible. Actions need to be taken now to stop climate change.  

Prosperity    

Humans should live in dignity, have visions dreams and goals. And this is part of the sustainable development goals of the UN. People should have fulfilling lives and “that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature”.

Peace    

It sounds like a general goal for the world: peace. But the fight for resources is a huge factor for war. Only of resources are used in good manner, if water for example is accessible for everyone we will reach peace.

Partnership    

The United Nations puts a focus on partnerships. Only if nations, companies and humans work hand in hand these goals can be reached. The partnerships include as well communication which goes further than the goals. If you did read our blog article about the equal pay day you remember that Amany Asfour, the current president of the BPW (Business Professional Women) organisation promotes as well these goals. Equality is one of the core values.

So what is sustainable development really about

What is means is good manner. Things seem normal for most of us. Like to pay people for work. To assure that people can eat, live in peace and are treated equally. Or if to use water not just to turn in back to nature highly polluted. It is about respect of humans and planet- sounds easy.

The UNESCO defines it as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. We should live today with what we need but not more. We can use resources but should keep in mind what we use and that we cannot use all to assure that our children and grand-children still have what they need.

Life in 2020 is (most of the times) not sustainable!

When was the last time you did buy something as you really needed it?

How about the last time buying clothes? – Did you buy the pants as otherwise you had literally nothing to wear? Or rather because of a new colour, a new style or because you just felt like buying it?

Same for the supermarket: Do you buy the chocolate as you need it or for pleasure? Or the avocado or the pineapple?

Today we overconsume without realizing it.

Sustainable development starts with yourself !

Ask yourself each time you buy something if you need something. If you don’t just do not buy it. Like this you can already reduce to what you need.

Further ask yourself the question where things come from: The further away the lass sustainable for the planet. You probably find vegetables from your country as well as important. Buy local, support your economy and reduce transport emissions.

In terms of fashion apply the same. Buy products made locally. Keep in mind that cotton uses more resources than linen for example. And just like that you can make a change.

Of course you should still buy things and make yourself pleasure. But how much more pleasure by knowing that your purchase has an impact. And if you want to know what is going on check for brands selling from their production place and visit them. Go to the market instead of supermarket and talk to the producers and you will see that they put a lot of love in what they do – you will be surprised.

We agree that companies need to change their production methods that they need to do things differently and produce less with fewer resources. But as long as we, the consumers, give money for what is produced nothing will change.

You have a voice – with each purchase you vote. So change your habits. A small gesture towards sustainability. And maybe talk about it, share your actions. Impact maybe one other person and this person someone and so on. Together we will make an impact for the future of humanity and our planet!

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