The Principles of Sustainability

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There is now an increasing awareness of the importance of ecological sustainability within the business community around the world. However, this is by no means matched by the numbers of companies actually implementing policies “that make a real difference” in mitigating the ecological crisis now upon us. That task is formidable and in order to succeed will require nothing less than a worldwide change of culture by millions of businesses and the people who work in them. From being a society driven by ever-increasing “wants,” the change will have to be towards a culture of conservation and ever-increasing simplicity of lifestyle.

To become ecologically sustainable is probably the biggest task facing businesses today so that global warming and the many other symptoms of the ecological crisis can be alleviated. Awareness that there is a crisis is a welcome first step but it is not nearly not enough. Companies throughout the world will have to become ecologically sustainable in deeds as well as in words.

To become sustainable in practice, we suggest that companies should first and foremost adhere to the seven principles of sustainability in every aspect of business. This is in itself not an arduous task and can be achieved within the current market economy without threatening the overall profitability of business. On the other hand, taken together, these principles provide a powerful framework for right actions. Repeated over a period of time actions become habit; and habit eventually becomes the cornerstone for a new culture.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Interdisciplinary Yearbook of Business Ethics
    This volume comprises the work of twenty scholars and practitioners from Europe, America, Asia and Africa. Contributors represent a diversity of fields including organizational science, economics, systems theory, personality psychology, business ethics, finance, management, philosophy, political science, sociology, and ecology. All the papers stand for a more human and ethical approach to economics and business.
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