Sustainable Development for Real
It’s important to get the deﬁnitions out of the way early on – and most people are still very confused as to what sustainable development does or doesn’t mean. And is sustainable development the same thing as sustainability? For me, it’s the science of sustainability that provides the rock-solid foundations upon which the structures of sustainable development are now being raised – still somewhat tentatively and haphazardly, it has to be said. That science takes us back to the core principles of ecological limits, with a brief historical excursion to consider why so many earlier civilizations brought upon themselves their own collapse by ignoring those limits. For most businesses today, however, this remains far too unworldly: here, the language of the triple bottom line (economic, environmental and social bottom lines) still prevails, or ‘stakeholder strategies’, or corporate social responsibility (CSR), all jumbled together in a goulash of jargon and lofty aspiration that somehow still serves to keep physical reality at bay.