That word, "sustainable", is loaded with prejudice and can be misunderstood. To some people that word “sustainable” is almost foolish because it connotes radical, controversial, non-traditional behaviour. It evokes ideas of riotous students camping outside military bases, vegetarians, tofu (“what's that?!”) and “weirdo beatniks”.
But “sustainable” has a definition with an underlying commercial philosophy which has been well phrased by the Brundtland Commission:
“meet the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Even though that's a human centred focus, which debases the necessity of recognising the interdependence of humanity in nature, it represents an important departure from the egotistical, hedonistic thinking that sometimes dominates politics, banking, business, and even journalism and entertainment. Sometimes putting humanity above nature allows an anthropocentric culture to consider nature at all, but humanity is part of nature and sustainability is about living within the laws of nature.
It is important to walk the talk and to help others make a change in a practical way. We seek performance without costing the earth. We try to do the right thing, the right way.
Living sustainably does not mean you can't have a decent quality of life. You can do the same kind of things and have the same kind of lifestyle, but without killing the planet.
The numbers show that a basic level of modern consumption requires several acres of productive land to provide the food and energy to support one human living a western lifestyle. The whole of humanity can't flip a switch and change the way we do things, but we can adapt quickly, if we choose to do so.
Today facing challenges of geopolitical tension, economic uncertainty, and disintegration of the natural world, time to change by choice is running out. It is simple. Change or die. So we aim for an interesting, enriching life without killing the planet or each other.
System change is inevitable. We care about ourselves, so we want to look after our environment because that is what gives us all the pleasures of life. Markets are moving to nature based solutions, and therefore where sustainable jobs, work and income grow.
Sustainable Return on Investment
At the hard end of the spectrum, the financial engineer will tell you that optimisation of enterprise value is achieved by managing the sustainable Return on Shareholders Equity. It's in the numbers.
Again here there is a limit to scale, so if you want to live, you aim for a sustainable return. It's Common Sense.