Achieving sustainable development | Sunday Observer

Achieving sustainable development

15 May, 2022

You may have various definitions on sustainability and its implications on the human survival. As you have your emphasis on the United Nation’s definition on sustainable development in the Brundtland Report, you understand that it is defined as a development which meets with the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet with their own needs.

It is also assumed that available resources are not infinite and therefore should sensibly and conservatively utilised in order to make sure that there is a considerable amount for future generations, without having a negative effect on the present quality of life.

A sustainable society is also required to be socially responsible where it has to focus on environmental protection and dynamic equilibrium both in human and natural systems. In that context, sustainability has both short term and long term benefits.

Unless more sustainable choices are made, we would not be in a position to maintain the earth’s ecosystems or continue to function as we do right now.


If the harmful processes are continued without making the suitable changes, fossil fuels are very likely to run out: a large number of animal species would also become extinct while the irreparable damage on the atmosphere would be more ubiquitous. Nontoxic atmospheric conditions and clean air, water quality and its cleanliness and the growth of resources on which you can rely can be considered as some of the benefits of sustainability.

It is well known that the concept of sustainability is composed of three pillars: environment, social and economic. This is also known as profits, planet, and people. Meanwhile, the said concept also has a specific relevance to corporate sustainability and efforts taken by companies.

Most importantly, as you comment on the aspect of sustainability, environmental protection becomes one of the most frequently discussed elements.

Environmental protection has its concern on the reduction of carbon footprint, usage of water, non-decomposable packaging as well as wasteful processes as a part of a supply chain.

It is also noted that these particular processes can frequently be cost effective, financially useful, and important for environmental sustainability. Social development is another crucial element where it deals with the aspect of treating employees fairly and ensuring ethical, responsible, and sustainable treatment of employees, stakeholders as well as the community among which a business is operated.

More responsive benefits such as better maternity and paternity benefits, learning and development opportunities and flexible schedules could be identified as the benefits that can be derived by social development.

For instance, sustainable labour should be included in the business operation, and it involves with fairly payment schemes as well as facilitating a safe environment for adults’ employees to operate.

Another case in point is economic development which is also supposed to be the simplest form of sustainability. An economically sustainable business must have profits and produce sufficient revenues to be continued into the future.

Achieving an equilibrium is a challenge in economic development. It is advisable if companies attempt to generate profit in accordance with other elements of sustainability rather than just trying to make money at any cost.

In addition to economic performance, focusing on social and environmental sustainability is an approach that is often referred to as the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach.

The UN recently declared that the Sustainable Development Goals as their central aims in order to successfully achieve a better and more sustainable future.

They are involved with the task of addressing global sustainability. The seventeen sustainable goals that are expected to achieve by 2030, are sustainable economic growth, zero hunger, clean water and sanitation, no poverty affordable and clean energy and responsible consumption and production.

Meanwhile, sustainability is measured by having an assessment of the performance of three key principles altogether, notably a balanced treatment of all three.


But, these three key principles of the Triple Bottom Line approach do not give a measurement system of themselves, despite that the recent methods used to measure the sustainability have made an attempt to measure sustainability through them.

Albeit there is no official universal method to measure sustainability, it is found that a large number of organisations are developing industry specific tools and practices in order to evaluate as to how social, environmental, and economic principles function as part of a company.

A renowned website dealing with the subject of sustainable development revealed “The Triple Bottom Line approach to operating a company is useful for businesses in a number of ways. Not only is it ethical and important to meet UN standards of environmental sustainability, it is also economical and allows a stronger business model.

Additionally, sustainability enables an organisation to attract employees, stakeholders and customers who are invested in the goal of sustainability and share these values. The impact of sustainability can therefore be positive for a business’s image as well as revenue”.

In 2018, the European Union commission issued six key transformations to be made. If these transformations are properly implemented, they would facilitate a better sustainability that is to be achieved by the present goal of 2050.

Sustainable development is not simply an environment challenge, but it is a challenge on the improvement of education and healthcare as well. Hence it is needed to achieve a higher income and better environmental decisions. In order to adopt a circular economy and reduce demand, it is important to be responsible with the consumption and production and do more with limited resources.

It will also be necessary to decarbonise the energy industry through clean energy resources and renewable processes that are able to provide clean and affordable energy to everyone.


While protecting the biosphere and the oceans, everyone should be assured with the supply of food and clean water and that will need an efficient and sustainable food systems which can be achieved by increasing the agricultural productivity as well as the reduction of meat consumption.

With the “smart” infrastructure and Internet connectivity, settlements should be transformed into Smart cities for the benefit of the population and the environment.

The website revealed “A digital revolution in science, technology and innovation would be required to support sustainable development, as it is hoped that the world will use the development of Information Technology to facilitate sustainability”.

Amid the climate crisis, there is a current movement towards sustainability as a form of a more appealing priority for business since people chose to have more sustainable lives.

It is predicted that in the future, positive impact on climate over the entire value chain, improved impact on the people, environmental and productive impact on society will probably be the goals of a business.

Also, the organisations will be held responsible for any damage done on the environment and it would be required to limit harmful emissions.

The website added: “It is also expected that resources be reused to suit the global increase in population in what is commonly referred to as a “Circular Economy”. This change would allow one person’s waste to be another’s resource, in a process that would greatly reduce waste and create a more efficient supply chain”.