In 1987, the UN Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
An approach to developing anything that recognizes the need to meet the challenges of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations in 2015. The goals are broad and somewhat interdependent, yet each has a separate list of targets to achieve. Achieving all 169 targets would signal accomplishing all 17 goals. The SDGs cover social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice.
Corporate Social Responsibility
A business outlook that acknowledges responsibilities to stakeholders not traditionally accepted, including suppliers, customers, and employees as well as local and international communities in which it operates and the natural environment. There are few accepted standards and practices so far, but a growing concern that the actions organizations take have no unintended consequences outside the business, whether driven by concern, philanthropy, or a desire for an authentic brand and public relations.
The total amount of greenhouse gases emitted directly and indirectly to support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of either carbon or carbon dioxide.
Carbon footprints are calculated by countries as part of their reporting requirements under the Kyoto Protocol, as well as by companies, regions, or individuals. Direct greenhouse gas emissions can include tailpipe emissions of CO2 from motor vehicles, methane from landfills, and hydrofluorocarbons from leaking refrigeration or air conditioning equipment. Indirect greenhouse gas emissions arise from coal and other fossil fuel-based energy generated to power residential, commercial, and industrial activities. Indirect emissions also arise from fossil fuel combustion used in the manufacture, transport, storage, disposal, and recycling of commodities and manufactured products.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The discharge of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and various halogenated hydrocarbons, into the atmosphere. Combustion of fossil fuels, agricultural activities and industrial processes contribute to the emissions of greenhouse gases.
A term for leveraging technological and process changes in order to generate solutions that offer more value than current offerings while reducing resource use and environmental impact throughout the product or service’s life. Ideally, eco-efficiency not only achieves the best possible efficiency in terms of materials and energy used in the creation, use, and disposal of a product or service, but it might leave residual value equal to or higher than these inputs.
A term for the gradual, average increase of temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. Local temperatures around the world, however, may increase or decrease in varying amounts. Global warming is accelerated by the greenhouse gases expelled into the atmosphere from human industry.
The global climate has changed as human activity has released more and new substances and gases into the atmosphere. This has many results, including global warming, the effect of consistently increased average global temperature, particularly in the oceans. One of the most common term associated with climate change is global warming, which can be confusing since climate change can take many forms, including higher temperatures in some areas, lower ones in other areas, and more powerful natural disasters (such as hurricanes). The term global weirding, coined by Paul Hawken, describes this inconsistent (but elevated) weather change around the world.
Any material or energy that can be replenished in full without loss or degradation in quality.
Pertaining to or having achieved a state in which the net amount of carbon dioxide or other carbon compounds emitted into the atmosphere is reduced to zero because it is balanced by actions to reduce or offset the emissions.
A dynamic and interdependent living communityof people, parts, or mechanisms that interact with one another. The term was coined by Arthur Tansley, a British Ecologist, who said that ecosystems have the capacity to respond to change without altering the basic characteristics of the system. A business can be viewed as an ecosystem, as can a market, industry, or economy.
Permaculture is an ecological design system that employs an integrated systems approach to developing ecological human habitats, food production systems, and other material and non-material needs.
The biological diversity of life on Earth. As human influence spreads, there is concern over the reduction of the total number of species and its effect on economics, medicine, and the ability of ecosystems to remain viable. Some measures of biodiversity loss are the World Wildlife Fund’s Inventory, and the IUCN Red List. WEO Wilson (Harvard University) and Peter Raven (Missouri Botanical Gardens) are key leaders in tracking and understanding the value of biodiversity.
The water footprint measures the amount of water used to produce each of the goods and services we use. It can be measured for a single process, such as growing rice, for a product, such as a pair of jeans, for the fuel we put in our car, or for an entire multi-national company. The water footprint can also tell us how much water is being consumed by a particular country – or globally – in a specific river basin or from an aquifer.