||RARENA Dr. Ralf Resch Sustainability Consulting|
The term "sustainability"is more and more used inflationary. At least this proves a positive connotation and an evergreen character, given its long history.
Let’s start with Hans Carl von Carlowitz (1645 1714), the German author of "Sylvicultura oeconomica, oder Haußwirthliche Nachricht und Naturmäßige Anweisung zur wilden Baum-Zucht" (1713). In this book, he described rules for the usage of forests, maintaining their capability to provide ecosystem services (among others as a supplier of wood for mining usage). Nowadays this is often referred to as "living off biological interest without ever touching prinicipal". Unfortunately we don’t do that, and instead exhaust the natural resources and pollute the earth with emissions and waste beyond its regeneration capacity.
When the consequences of pollution and overexploitation could hardly be overlooked, the "Club of Rome" published in 1972 a report about "The Limits to Growth". 1987 the world commission for environment and development (after the chairperson also referred to as "Brundtland commission") formulated the principle of sustainable development as follows: "Sustainability is understood as development that meets the needs of today without compromising the needs of future generations to meet their own needs." The focus here is obviously on intra- and intergenerational fairness.
When in the 1990ies more and more corporations realised the importance of sustainable behaviour for their activities and their responsibility for social trends (Corporate Social Responsibility, business ethics), the three pillar model of economic, ecological and social criteria, also referred to as Triple Bottom Line or People Planet – Profit, evolved.
As enterprises are the main target group of our sustainability consulting, this three pillar model describes best our approach to sustainable development. In other words: "Sustainability management means that all business activities are systematically organised in order to minimise ecological impacts and to foster desirable social effects in an economically efficient manner." (Corporate Sustainability Barometer, p. 23, Centre for Sustainability Management of the Leuphana University Lüneburg and PriceWaterhouse Coopers, 2010).