What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is the ability of life to be supported through eternity while living in the present but making decisions in consideration of future generations. It is monitoring our environmental and social environments but progressing economically. For businesses a common reference to sustainability is considering and maintaining a “Triple Bottom Line.”
What is the Triple Bottom Line?
The Triple Bottom Line is a business term used for considering social, environmental and economic impacts. In the past, businesses and governments have only accounted the economic impact as a measure of success. This is largely based on the common measurement of welfare in terms of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). GDP does not account for social or environmental impacts; however, these are both essential in maintaining an efficient business and directly impact the revenues and net profit of businesses.
For example, monitoring and caring for social impacts improves office productivity. Simultaneously, environmental impacts can alter supply and quality of products produced. Including social and environmental impact in a Triple Bottom Line approach can improve business performance. It can also fully account for business practices, including externalities.
What are Externalities?
Externalities are side-effects of commercial activity and are rarely accounted in business practices, unless companies practice a Triple Bottom Line approach. However, externalities can create an enormous impact, and are often negative.
Historically, our economic approach has not included the cost of externalities. This creates misrepresented pricing, sub-par business practices and surplus extraction.
To live within our current means, one planet Earth will not sustain us; therefore, it is essential for businesses to monitor their Triple Bottom Line and the broader population to practice sustainable living. As a group, we must realize this and take steps to reduce our impact.
How to Practice Sustainability
1. Educate yourself and others on social and environmental impacts. Find out more about sustainability issues in our blog.
2. Engage your community and volunteer at events.
3. Audit your waste stream and take steps to improve it, like refusing single-use plastics!
4. Vote with your wallet by purchasing products with sustainably-sourced materials. Find some of these products in our marketplace!
The more that consumers demand sustainable products and express the importance of sustainability in their purchasing decisions, the more companies will transition to producing these products.
As we grow, we should remember to think consciously, so we can THINK HEMPY THOUGHTS.