Sustainable development is a growth model that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising those of future generations. It consists of two elements: environmental and economic sustainability.
In this article, we will see how these two elements are interconnected and how they are fundamental for ensuring a sustainable future for all.
Economic sustainability is understood as the ability of a system to generate lasting growth in economic indicators, through the creation of income and work for the sustenance of populations.
Environmental sustainability is understood as the ability to preserve natural capital in terms of the quality, availability and reproducibility of natural resources, including the functioning of ecosystems.
Sustainable development is a relatively new concept, which was first introduced in 1987 by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, which defined it as “a development process that meets the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own”.
In essence, it is an approach to economics that takes into account the impact that human activities have on the environment and society, trying to minimise the negative effects.
The goal of sustainable development is to create a balance between the economy, environment and society, so that everyone can thrive without compromising others. This means, for example, that economic activities must minimise pollution and exploitation of natural resources.
Businesses play a key role in sustainable development because they are among the main economic and social actors that can contribute to promoting sustainable production and consumption practices.
In the first place, companies can adopt sustainable management practices, minimising the environmental impact of their business. This may include, for example, reducing waste of energy and resources, promoting sustainable forms of production and consumption, and adopting green technologies.
Secondly, businesses can promote sustainability through innovationby developing sustainable products and services that meet the needs of consumers and society as a whole. This may include, for example, the use of eco-sustainable raw materials, traceable and from recycled materials, the development of low environmental impact technologies, the promotion of sustainable consumption practices.
The decision to embark on a path of sustainability, starting from the phases of research and business development is a fundamental step for promoting it along the value chain of the company.
The research and development phase represents, in fact, the moment in which the company’s products and services are developed, and it is the moment in which strategic choices can be made for sustainability.