Sustainability is a concept that’s gaining more and more followers. At the personal, business, and governmental levels, society is seeking values that are aligned with the concept of sustainability. This is the only way to build a society founded in a viable long-term economy. This is called circular society and economy.
What is sustainability?
For the UN and other international organizations, sustainability is a series of characteristics of development that ensures the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. This definition was proposed in the Brundtland Report of 1987. Today, this is known as sustainable development of the economy, the environment, and society.
How many types of sustainability are there?
Environmental sustainability, which is perhaps the best known form, does not have to be tied to workplace, economic, or urban sustainability. It does undoubtedly have many points in common with them, though, and it’s been shown that these values do align.
The truth is, there are many types of sustainability, which are outlined in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and their aims. Roughly speaking, these fall into: social sustainability, economic sustainability, and environmental sustainability.
Some sustainable values are of more interest than others
Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, not all carry the same weight for wealthy society; SDG 13 on Climate action covers more than 43% of news related to sustainability, for instance. That’s twice the interest of any other topic on the list. It is followed by:
- SDG 11, Sustainable cities and communities (22%);
- SDG 8, Decent work and economic growth (22.3%);
- SDG 7, Affordable and clean energy (22.3%);
- SDG 9, Industry, innovation and infrastructure (19.3%).
Once food needs (SDG 2) and basic health needs (SDG 6) have been covered, it’s understandable that more developed countries pursue less urgent goals, though these are just as relevant for the future.