Do you have any idea of what are the sustainability 3 pillars and how to apply them in your day-by-day life? In this Hourglass article we give you a simple overview and how our actions can help environment.
Sustainability: why should you care?
When you look in perspective, is easy to understand why sustainability matters. The Earth has been existing for 4.500.000.000 years (4,5 billion). It took us 200 to mess with the entire global ecossystems.
Since we started emitting a lot of carbon and methane massively in the atmosphere. The carbon to produce consumer goods; methane because of livestock.
The logic was: if I produce more, I have more profit. As it had no consequences to anything around. Humans have this thing of thinking about themselves as something apart from nature, and not a small percentage of it. But, well, that’s what we are.
The indecent amount of CO2 in the atmosphere caused global warming, and global warming caused climate change. So, sustainability cannot be a beautiful empty speech. We need actions, and we need paramters.
It is common, from time to time, for new paradigms to emerge in the corporate world that end up significantly changing the way companies position themselves before their publics and society in general.
All these numbers reflect that, more than ever, an organization that wants to remain competitive in the market needs to implement the pillars of sustainability in the business.
What is sustainability?
For a long time it was wrongly believed that sustainability was solely related to the environment.
Following this principle, companies started to promote projects for the preservation of flora and fauna, reforestation, protection of endangered species, among other specific actions that, as valid as they may be, do not represent, in themselves, the broader concept of sustainable development.
This is not a utopian world. We all know companies won’t stop carbon emissions just like that, especially the main responsibles for climate change like petroleum or automotive induestries.
So, in order to get climate justice, we need to act like adults and remember that we need to have a systemic vision, with economical growth, but also social equality when we talk about going green.
Social, Economic, and Environmental: the 3 pillars of sustainability
Hello companies, this one is for you: there’s no way you can claim your brand as sustainable or ecofriendly if you do not follow the 3 pillars. Not one, not two, but all of the principles connected: environmental, social and economic sustainability. Environmental responsability is about looking the big picture and adjusting your actions to it.
About the social sustainability, the first goal is to make sure people around you are being sustainable. For companies, how can you provide for your workers a sustainable work space? Are you aware of how your partners and suppliers handle the waste and carbon emissions of their businesses?
Developing socially sustainable actions goes far beyond, for example, giving vacations and benefits to employees.
It must provide an environment that stimulates the creation of legitimate and healthy working relationships, in addition to favoring the personal and collective development of those involved.
The next factor to be taken into account is the economic one. For a company to be economically sustainable, it must be able to consume, produce, distribute, and offer its products or services in a way that establishes a fair competitive relationship with other competitors in the market.
In addition, its economic development must not be at the expense of an imbalance in the ecosystems around it. If a company profits by exploiting the poor working conditions of its employees or the degradation of the environment of the area around it, for example, it is not meeting this pillar, and consequently cannot exercise sustainability in its fullness.
Finally, the third pillar must consider the valuation of natural resources. Environmentally correct sustainable development refers to all conduct that has some impact – direct or indirect – on the environment, whether in the short, medium, or long term.
Here we seek, first of all, to minimize as much as possible the environmental damage that can be caused by industrial production, in addition to avoiding possible waste in the day-to-day work. As practices of this pillar, we can cite the use of renewable raw materials, water reuse, and even the recycling and reuse of waste.
The benefits of being a sustainable company
Besides all the environmental preservation ensured by sustainability, companies that are aware of their impacts can also benefit from several other aspects.
By promoting environmentally friendly methods, a company is placed ahead of the competition and attracts new audiences that choose to consume sustainable products.
By reducing the environmental impacts and making a conscious use of natural resources in relation to competitors, it also gains in the generation of value for products, in the optimization of the production effort by reducing waste, and in the implementation of innovations in management processes.
Sustainability 3 pillars into action
Sustainability needs planning, monitoring, and evaluation of results, because its three pillars must be aligned with the company’s objectives and cannot be defined based on punctual or simply compensatory actions.
Sustainable development is a path trodden daily, with mutual respect and awareness that all companies, communities, people and other beings are integrated into a single ecosystem.
Also, there’s numbers to consider: our goal as society is to keep the global warming in the 1.5°C levels to the next decades, as predicted in the “best scenario” on the IPCC report – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Thus, in order for there to be balance, it is necessary that each part takes the whole into consideration, understanding that it is just a small drop in this infinitely larger universe, but that it can be affected by its actions.
Sustainability examples for your personal life
Make no mistake: individual actions aren’t enough to help climate change. The global warming problem is systemic, so we need to think big, but these actions can help build a new culture that can change our whole society someday:
- Saving water;
- Avoid the use of plastic bags;
- Reduce beef consumption;
- Preference for consuming biodegradable products;
- Separate the garbage for selective collection;
- Make short trips by walking or cycling.
- Adopt collective transportation or rides.
Sustainability examples for organizations
In the corporate environment, for a company to call itself sustainable, it needs to be ecologically sound and viable, socially just, and also culturally diverse.
- Don’t use disposable cups;
- Save paper, water, and energy;
- Invest in recycling;
- Use economical equipment;
- Encourage the use of alternative transportation;
- Invest in training about sustainability;
- Create projects for environmental preservation;
- Respect the environmental laws;
- Do not pollute;
- Use renewable energy sources;
- Treat residues from industrial processes;
- Invest in reverse logistics;
- Use ecofriendly materials in your products;
- Donate to reforestation;
- Support indigenous people
Why are the sustainability 3 pilars important?
The sustainability pillars have the highest importance for our modern world. They work like a guide to which factors we should considerate in eco-friendly attitudes. Environment is the top priority for all nations and also companies. With these 3 pillars, we can make sure that we’re walking in the right path towards a carbon neutral society.