Sustainable development is the responsible use of productive resources in a development project or undertaking to safeguard long-term environmental, social and economic sustainability. Sustainable development is adopted to provide lasting socio-economic benefit to all stakeholders without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Business is the solution to sustainable social, environmental and economic development. Sustainable development aims to transform unsustainable elements in socio-economic development to a socially, ecologically and economically sustainable global ecosystem.
A range of socio-cultural, economic and environmental issues must be considered and balanced to ensure the sustainability of development projects. These include the use of energy and water in the development and operation of businesses as well as the moral, ethical, social and political impact of taking action.
A sustainability strategy is the planned set of actions to be taken in order to positively impact the environment or society. Sustainability as a business strategy calls for consideration of the prevailing and changing social and cultural norms, values and practices.
Sustainability in business is commonly justified in terms of:
- Increased profit margins through utility savings;
- Increased revenue through meeting consumer preference and reduced reputational risk;
- Future-oriented investment strategies;
- Protection against regulatory risk and benefit from regulatory incentives;
- Increased validation and value through sustainable building certification; and
- Long-term energy supply.
Developers, owners, lenders, operators, franchisors, investors, employees and the community all benefit from sustainability in development projects. To achieve sustainability, the stakeholders must understand, adopt and implement the applicable sustainability principles:
- Social – Ethical social responsibility and promotion of equality, well-being and social justice;
- Environmental – Protection and restoration of natural resources, habitats and ecosystems; and
- Economic – Equitable and fair distribution of economic resources.