is sustainable development?
Development is a much used "buzz word", loved by Government
bureaucracies. But what does it mean to you and your business?
For too many years large businesses, run by "bean counters",
have only focused on the bottom-line of returning a profit for their
shareholders at the expense of their greatest asset people. Moral
and social responsibilities have all but vanished in some larger
Line profits have been detrimental both to the environment and social
responsibility. The ramifications of which, over the last forty
years, have seen a shift in wealth, which has lead to increased
poverty worldwide, through mechanisms such as globalisation and
World Bank debt. All this in the name of development, trade and
our desire to have cheaper consumables to deal with our status anxiety.
Brundtland Commission (1997) defined Sustainable Development as: "Development, which meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own
At its heart is the simple idea of ensuring a better quality of
life for everyone, now and for generations to come. The concept
of sustainable development is not new and has been around for a
number of decades.
do we need sustainable development?
need for development is as great as ever, but future development
cannot simply follow the model of the past. This is true for the
world as a whole, and for every community in this country. The global
picture is alarming. A quarter of the world's people survive on
incomes of less than US$1 a day. A fifth have no access to health
care. A huge challenge already, it may seem, it is only becoming
harder; whilst the world's population is increasing and will increase
by half again, (another three billion people), by 2050.
what do we need to focus on?
Although the idea is simple, the task is substantial. It means meeting
four objectives at the same time:
1. Social progress which recognises the needs of everyone;
2. Effective protection of the environment; (After all we still
need to breathe fresh air and drink clean fresh water);
3. Prudent use of natural resources;
4. Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and
Bottom Line (QBL)
For businesses the QBL has become a powerful defining factor for
operation this century. The quadruple bottom line takes consideration
1. Environmental factors
2. Social factors
3. Governance Factors
Some say that sustainable development is dead with the current wave
of conservative ideals and recent economic prosperity in Australia. However, due to the Global Economic Meltdown of 2008-09, the whole world's thinking has changed to a new paradigm.
After all, if environmental, social factors and governance factors, (such as transparency) are not considered,
then business operation cannot be sustained. Industrial growth can
never be sustained over long periods, due to its cyclic nature and
as all resources are finite. Mathematically it is impossible. This
may account for why the average length of time Australian Companies
stay in operation is less than 12 years.
If you own or run a business, now is the time to take a stand for
QBL principles and your environmental responsibility through waste
minimisation, energy analysis, reduced rework and handling through
quality plan implementation and an increase in social responsibility
to increase morale, reduce absenteeism and improve overall work
performance, for example.
Not only will you live up to your environmental and social responsibilities,
but you may also save money through increased efficiency and productivity,
and hence, increase your bottom line anyway.
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