Sustainability

Many definitions exist. In business school programs a common framework is Elkington’s (1994) Triple Bottom Line which seeks to take Profit, Planet, and People into account during decision-making. A lot has evolved since this definition but is still used for its catchy and easy conceptualization. It is often visually depicted as follows:

1994. Elkington's Triple Bottom-Line

Additionally, Broman & Robèrt (2016) have also conceived of eight rinciples that are especially helpful from a consilience standpoint as Principles 1 – 3 illuminates the concept in relation to Natural Sciences, while the remaining Principles 4 – 8 relates to Humanities and Social Sciences.

  • Principle 1: Ecological social factoring for nature not systemically replenishing concentrations of substances extracted from the Earth’s crust (e.g. carbon or metals).
  • Principle 2: Ecological social factoring for nature not systematically decreasing the concentration of substances produced by society (e.g. NOx or CFCs).
  • Principle 3: Ecological social factoring for nature not systematically replenishing degradation by physical means (e.g. over harvesting of forests or over-fishing).
  • Principle 4: Societal factoring of structural obstacles related to health (e.g. dangerous working conditions or insufficient rest from work).
  • Principle 5: Societal factoring of structural obstacles related to influence (e.g. suppression of free speech or neglect of opinions).
  • Principle 6: societal factoring of structural obstacles related to competence (e.g. obstacles for education or insufficient possibilities for personal development).
  • Principle 7: societal factoring for structural obstacles related to impartiality (e.g. discrimination or unfair selection in job positions).
  • Principle 8: societal factoring for structural obstacles related to meaning-making (e.g. by suppression of cultural expression or obstacles to co-creation of purposeful conditions).
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