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Sustainable Eco Efficiency: The Best Practices for Economic Growth
Sustainable efficiency is defined as sustainability concepts which reduce the environmental impact through resources reduction, waste management while adding economic value. When a business or organisation is sustainably efficient it generates an increase of economic value and growth also known as eco efficiency. Product or service value is nurtured through sound technology and process practices whilst reducing resource use and environmental impact throughout the product or service's life.
Businesses and organisations must combine sustainable and eco efficient practices if they want economic growth. Sustainable eco efficiency must be at the forefront of their core principles in the present and future.
The future business model must encapsulate a comprehensive sustainable and eco efficiency practice if businesses and organisations are to thrive let alone survive.
What is Sustainable Efficiency?
Sustainable efficiency or eco efficiency is defined as the result of using less resources to produce more, this is a cost effective solution which enviable demonstrates a means for economic growth. They are the principles factors of a successful business model.
Sustainable eco efficiency is meeting the needs of the present and strategically laying the foundations for the future. The impact of a company or organisation on their surrounding environment, people, communities, the environment and every living entity. The affect of their production, there waste management systems, their use of resources are all directly affecting their chance of economic growth.
Companies and organisations are finally starting to wake up, slowly - to the impeding fact, industalization and economic growth are paralleled with sustainable and eco efficiency.
For businesses to grow, thrive, even survive in today's world and future chapters, every business and organisation must prioritise sustainable efficiency and eco practices as the core fundamental necessities of a successful economic growth business model.
The degradation of the environment through the depletion of resources, destruction of eco-systems, pollution of soil, waterways and air and destroying of natural habitats is not good business. Striping, ok there is a word of distaste but appropriate, the raping of our surrounds and bleeding it for everything it has to there leave polluted remains will not create a sustainable business or organisation.
To deteriorate the world around us for economic growth is now considered to be a neglect by that company or organisation to meet the needs and objectives of a thriving business. It's a naive way to try to grow a business.
Companies and organisations must create better sustainable and eco efficiency practices year on year. Efforts to protect and manage environments, resources, habitats, eco-systems and biomes is how they will survive. Failing to adequately create a sustainable and eco efficiency plan which meets the necessary standards of competitors will be a matter of business and organisation survival.
Environmental Resource Management
What is environmental resource management?
Environmental resource management involves the entire impact of eco-systems. It's far larger than how a business or organisation impacts the environment directing outside their door.
The direct environment impact is absolutely vital to a environmental resource management system however an in depth analysis of the human impact of businesses and organisations must be backed with statistical evidence of the affects. Ethics, workplace conditions, fair pay and the affects of businesses and organisations on communities, and societies.
Environmental resource management includes economic, ecological and of course environmental protection. Environmental protection meaning entire eco systems, the impact of businesses and organisations on entire eco-systems; fisheries, wildlife, forests, natural resources, landscapes, and coastlines.
As countries around the world are becoming aware that economic growth is gained by working with the environment, not depletion of resources a stabilisation will occur.
Producing more from less resources, reducing waste, using renewable resources, energy efficiency as all cost saving and production enhancing strategies.
Sustainable or eco efficiency is the best practice for companies and organisations to gain economic growth, and successful productivity.
Sustainable and eco efficiency results in "better decision making, increased profitability, new markets, and improved brand reputation. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines eco-efficiency as the integration, throughout a company, of technological solutions to resource use and waste management".
The Four Pillars of Sustainable and Eco Efficiency
The pillars are economic, environmental, and social sustainability. Falling to meet the needs of all three ins the present is comprising future generations and the market place sustainability of any business and organisations ability for economic growth, profit and survival. It's a do or die economic survival:
What are the four pillars of sustainable and eco efficiency practices?
This business sustainability model fits within a matrix of many other business sustainability models. They are all interconnected and entwined for example, economic sustainability are the foundations of cash flow and monetary growth. A direct consequence of the human, environment, and social sustainability models.
1. Economic Sustainability
Economic sustainability is defined as and aims to measure an organisation’s profitability and adequate cash flow which leads to financial sustainability. It is not sufficient to view only the company’s balance sheet but it needs to understand the economic return, both to the organisation and to the society as a whole. For sustainable business, the economic value created, the organisational objectives and the environmental, social and economic value realized needs to be viewed.
Businesses and organisations should aim to be economically sustainable. This does not mean just making profits. It means sustaining a company's financial health indefinitely. Companies that make a good start often fail because they cannot plan for future economic sustainability.
Economic sustainability practices have to support long-term economic growth in accordance with, and without negative impact on all four pillars of sustainable and eco efficiency.
2. Human Resource Sustainability
Human sustainability is defined as being referred to the people within an organisation or company and their abilities to develop and maintain sustainable practices. Capitalizing on the constant human learning and evolution to improve individual and group health outcomes through the promotion and awareness of screening programs.
Investing in education, training, skill development and knowledge, access to services and facilities for the purpose of improving sustainable practices.
This means people must be developing their human skills, education and knowledge to best facilitate companies and organisation to promote the sustainability of the community, and environment. Including strategies and solutions for working modules of best sustainable practices, these include but are not limited too waste management, resources, emissions, transportation, employment ethics, and the impact on the living environment.
3. Environmental Sustainability
Environmental efficiency is defined as and directly related to the responsibility to protect from harm natural resources and global ecosystems. Environmental efficiency must adequately support the health of the environment in the present and for future generations.
The affect of a business or organisation on the direct environment as well as the entire ecosystem is analyzed. Environmental sustainability considers coastlines, oceans, landscapes, forest, fisheries, wildlife, natural resources, and human sustainability is interconnected. The impact caused from resources, production, manufacturing, emissions, transpiration, pollution and waste must be managed.
According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), 50% of our materials reach a good state of disposal and the rest is landfilled in dumps around the world. At present, it is indisputable that we produce a tremendous amount of waste that impacts the environment, creating emissions, climate change and a unstable biome.
End of Life Product (EOL Products) and EnvironmentalSustainability
End of Life Cycle Products such as technology, cars, food, fashion, think of all products we consume, they all have a lifecycle.
What happens to a product once it is no longer useful?
How will it breakdown and will it release potential toxic chemicals in to the soil, waterways or air?
Recycling is sometimes an option, though it is influenced and harmed by many different points of failure: including difficulties in transportation, recycling infrastructure, and the costs of recycling.
It's all very well for products to have the recycling symbol but this is pointless if councils can not maintain or facilitate the necessary processes for recycling. Recycling involves the collection, treatment of raw materials, often combustible wastes are the result from over demand. Combustibles are changed in to gases but without energy recovery and pollutants. The other result is landfill which leaks emissions in to the soil, waterways and inevitable air.
Businesses and organisations must be liable for their resources, emissions and waste. Some businesses and organisation are already remanufacturing and reusing their products which is a sound sustainability practice and makes economic sense.
Which brands recycle their own products to create more products?
A few pioneers: Apple (computers, phones and tech accessories), H&M (clothes), Woolworths (soft plastics), Canon (cameras, batteries and printers), Nike (sneakers) and Crayola (pens and pencils).
Closing the loop of product end of life at the beginning of creation and design, reducing components, reuse and renewable technologies. Reducing the need for manufacturing, resources, emissions, transportation and waste. Creating strategic transparent objectives by businesses and organisations for industrization and product development with the lowest environmental impact as the objective.
4. Social Sustainability
Social sustainability is defined as how businesses and organisations improve awareness of their health, strengths and weaknesses within communities. It will have community as its focus and avoid programs that contribute to environmental degradation.
Investing in a framework which builds social relationships, nurtures the community and all cultures is a sustainable structure to maintaining and improving social quality.
Globally, the average quality of life is improving, but there are wide disparities between and within countries. The quality of life of the world’s people has improved markedly since the 1950s, though these fruits of progress are unevenly distributed among and within countries, with the worst-off suffering the most in many respects.
According to United Nations, as a result of population growth, the world’s population increased from approximately 2.5 to over 7.3 billion people between 1950 and 2012. Population growth is highest in developing countries. Increased population has had many negative and positive impacts on the world and its future sustainability. One of the impacts is the economy and its growth which can be related to climate change. Economic activities are some of the largest contributors to environmental problems, focus on social sustainability is under the spot light with global pandemics, climate change and over population.
Social sustainability highlights the necessity for sustainable practices which are development with all pillars in consideration including equality and ethical protection of human, and environmental eco systems.
To protect and promote cultural, ethnic, religious and gender equality to maintain the diversity of values and ideas in our society; To protect the security and well-being of all people, while ensuring that all people have the capacity to thrive. This can be achieved by investing in a more egalitarian society which is informed by the question ‘how do we choose how we will live together’; To maintain the diversity of people (nations, religions, cultures, genders, ages, income, ethnicity etc) and the natural resources that support them; To responsibly regulate the means of production to protect the ecosystem, natural resources, the environment and future generations. To uphold integrity in all our interactions, with each other and with the environment.
The social construction of sustainability has its underlying principles from which sustainability can be understood in any growing society as: "the consistent ability to provide for the welfare of future generations in the context of the present generation's right to development"Sustainability and sustainable development - Dr Mark Diesendorf BSc (Hons) PhD UNSW.
Social sustainability has been necessary for human well-being as it is only through the development of “value systems, rules, customs, and institutions that we have been able to increase our collectively human knowledge, to develop technology, to improve our standard of living, and to create cultural forms that draw us together and help all of us flourish” Environmental Ergonomics: A Review of Principles, Methods and Models. Journal of Applied Ergonomics - KC Parsons
Therefore, social sustainability plays an important role in any society as it forms the framework of how people think, feel and interact with each other.
The Future Of Sustainable Eco Efficiency
Businesses and organisations who want to survive the future will be required to focus on reducing their business impact to the environment whilst growing their business with greater efficiency and performance.
This is the ultimate future business model, it shifts away from the efficiency on which the modern world's business model have existed for the past few centuries. A world business model which emphasises profit and economic growth. Only the successful businesses and organisations will prosper, as the old business model will be seriously challenged by the new era of sustainable efficiency. One organisation that can provide great inspiration in this new era of sustainable efficiency are Apple, who are constantly striving for more sustainability.
Businesses must develop a sustainable pathway. This is, embedding sustainability in business and eliminating negative impacts. In total, businesses that have sustainable pathways contribute significantly less to global emissions, preserve natural resources and build resilience in the economic, social and environmental spheres. Brands have become more responsible towards the environments they produce, retail and supply products, services and produce through.
Consumers want and have the right to know where, when and how a product is made. Genuine commitments to sustainable businesses, asking questions and demanding brand transparency are ways you can make your voice count.
Until next time,
Best, Harper and The OwnMuse Team
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