One of the longest ongoing debates in the modern world involves sustainability and how it can be integrated into the economic and social aspects of society. There is no doubt that sustainability plays a crucial role in the restoration of the planet and the survival of living beings. Rapid industrialization is putting undue pressure on our planet’s resources and decision-makers across the globe need to take immediate action if they wish to restore the planet.
Even nations and businesses that are simply concerned with achieving economic growth must acknowledge that the sustainability of business depends on the planet’s natural resources, such as clean water, fertile land, and a diverse population. In light of this, let’s examine the subject of economic sustainability and look at some change-provoking examples of economic sustainability.
What is Economic Sustainability?
Economic sustainability describes actions that support a company’s or country’s long-term economic growth while simultaneously preserving the environment, society, and culture. Despite a generally shared understanding of the types of business practices (such as the use of harmful manufacturing techniques, the production of food waste, and the burning of fossil fuels) that contribute to climate change, very few organizations today are successful in achieving economic sustainability.
The goal of economic sustainability is to achieve economic growth without making the negative environmental trade-offs that traditionally go hand in hand with growth. Economic sustainability is a broad collection of decision-making principles and corporate practices.
When it comes to environmental impact, the truth regarding the damage caused by the global business community is harsh. They are one of the worst contributors to the abuse of natural resources and carbon emissions. By not prioritizing environmental sustainability, businesses around the world are contributing to the negative environmental impact.
Generally speaking, businesses which make use of the cheapest manufacturing technology have the worst environmental impact. One example of this is fast fashion and single-use plastic. This is due to the fact that increasing costs to the environment do not result in higher pricing for consumers. This is understandable given that companies are rarely required to cover the full cost of the environmental damage their operations generate.
What are the Benefits of Economic Sustainability?
The benefits of economic sustainability are numerous. They are not only beneficial for the planet but they can also help the business increase their revenue and stay profitable for the long term. There are many reasons why a sustainable economy is important, from corporate interests to idealistic environmentalism, here are some of its benefits:
- The Sustainability of the Global Economy: Since the planet’s natural resources are finite, the reliance on unsustainable methods must come to an end. Any commercial enterprise that wants to last the long haul needs to invest in new resources and develop new procedures of production.
- The Preservation of Human Life: The exploitation of fossil fuels has exacerbated the catastrophic situation facing Earth and human habitation. Humans have the chance to protect the earth for future generations by making efforts to reduce energy usage and change how businesses operate.
- Innovative Breakthroughs: Innovation and discovery have historically come from the natural world. Therefore, the chance to discover novel substances and processes that can form the basis of new goods or other economic advantages is threatened by the ongoing destruction of the natural environment.
Some Examples of Economic Sustainability in Practice
Fortunately, there are many real-life examples of economic sustainability practices emerging globally. Businesses and governmental organizations in some situations are enhancing their sustainability procedures to lower their carbon footprint. While this is going on, innovative businesses are producing goods or technology that helps the environment in one way or another. Some people have even adopted economic sustainability principles at the expense of minimal growth.
Although there is still a long way to go for the world to reach true economic sustainability, these real-life examples can serve as a catalyst for change in organizations of all kinds as well as among individuals.
Innovative Air-to-Water Technologies
The most intriguing example of economic sustainability is a new gadget that can draw water out of the air. Many businesses have created or are developing these kinds of inventions. These kinds of systems demonstrate economic sustainability in action by offering the manufacturer financial rewards while also having a significant positive impact on the environment, such as reliable access to clean water (which 2.2 billion people around the world do not have) and significantly reduced plastic usage.
Expansion of Recycling
One of the best methods to lessen your carbon impact is still recycling. Today, a wide range of businesses have turned to recycle—or its cousins, upcycling, downcycling, e-cycling, and pre-cycling—as a source of revenue. Many businesses have also committed to producing minimal to zero wastage in their production.
Sustainable Fish Farming
Nearly one-third of the world’s fisheries are currently in danger of extinction due to overfishing, which is wreaking havoc on our oceans. The good news is that fish producers are able to switch to a more commercially viable strategy because the technology for fish farming is gradually improving. Consider filtering and reusing wastewater, as well as processing fish waste and using it as a premium fertilizer.
All of these are great examples of how economic sustainability can be applied to traditional businesses to make them more sustainable and even more profitable.
Schneider Electric: Inspiring Sustainable Growth
Sustainability and Schneider Electric go hand in hand. It has been and will remain the foundation of everything we do. In just 15 years, we’ve helped our clients reduce their carbon footprint by 120 million tonnes while also increasing global energy access by around 30 million. At Schneider Electric we are fully committed to ensuring that our clients are making the most out of their sustainability initiatives. We have set out our own Schneider Electric pledge, under which we will be carbon neutral in our operations by 2025 and end-to-end by 2040.