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What Is Sustainability?

Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The concept of sustainability is composed of three pillars: economic, environmental, and social—also known informally as profits, planet, and people. Increasingly, companies are making public commitments to sustainability through actions like reducing waste, investing in renewable energy, and supporting organizations that work toward a more sustainable future.

How Sustainability Works

Sustainability encourages businesses to frame decisions in terms of environmental, social, and human impact for the long-term, rather than on short-term gains such as next quarter’s earnings report. It influences them to consider more factors than simply the immediate profit or loss involved. Increasingly, companies have issued sustainability goals such as commitment to zero-waste packaging by a certain year, or to reduce overall emissions by a certain percentage.

These companies can achieve their sustainability needs by cutting emissions, lowering their energy usage, sourcing products from fair-trade organizations, and ensuring their physical waste is disposed of properly and with as small a carbon footprint as possible.