Holistic Sustainability – Environmental, Economic & Social

Posted by on Aug 16th, 2011 and filed under Renewable Energy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

When you hear someone mention sustainability, is it “environmental responsibility” that comes to mind?

Sustainability is in fact about more than just the environment.  As detailed in Wikipedia, sustainability is the capacity to endure and the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social aspectsdimensions}.

More and more organizations are supporting this rounded, holistic view.

Environment considers the impact of the organization’s operations on our natural resources – air, water, land, minerals, fuel, ecosystems.

Economic considerations check that operations are not ineffective, are efficient and required.

Social aspects consider human rights, labor rights as well as corporate governance.

Here’s an example of one organization’s triple-bottom line vision of sustainable development, where energy development should occur in a way that provides economic prosperity, promotes social well-being and preserves a healthy environment.  And you can browse their web site to review how they strive to achieve these dimensions.

There are many many other blogs and articles about the environmental angle.  Lots of ideas about what we can do to help the environmental dimension.  What about economic and social considerations?  Are there small things we can change on a day-to-day basis that can have an impact?

Let’s take a seemingly mundane category – carpets.  Indeed, there are a growing number of eco-friendly carpet materials.

But what about carpet cleaning?  Here’s an every-day thing that helps environmentally, economically and socially.

Investing in quality carpet cleaning will lengthen the life of a carpet (that’s an economic saving).  While this makes good sense for home-owners, it’s particularly beneficial for businesses to consider eco-friendly, high quality commercial carpet cleaning because defering replacing carpets not only defers carpet spending, the business disruption that replacement can cause could be costly.

And what’s in those products that are used to clean carpets?  After cleaning, they’re in the air.  Check if the cleaning solutions you are using are have the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Clean Seal of Approval.  And if they are recognized by Designed for the Environment as environmentally friendly.  Keeping those chemicals out of our air is also good for home and work health.

Look around you. Think. I’m sure you’ll soon have a list of things you can affect day to day that grows sustainabilty, one act at a time.

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