Sustainability: Let business lead the way

To achieve development goals, societies across the world will have to balance economic sustainability, social factors and ecological necessities. Already, business is making strong progress on this front. Governments’ role should be to set sensible parameters, but too often gets in the way, trying to spend or economically plan its way toward sustainability.

Businesses are doing a good job balancing the crucial factors for sustainability, but governments often pull the rug out from under them by implementing restrictive regulations or intervening in the market (Cartoon by GIS)

Several years ago, the World Energy Council coined the term “Energy Trilemma” to describe how energy policies – from local to global – would need to balance three factors: energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which comprises 17 aims (see box) became the basis for many sustainability programs and are also subject to a three-pronged challenge. Implementing them will require finding an equilibrium between economic sustainability, social factors and ecological necessities.

Globally, however, imbalances are already visible across various regions. In the United States, social factors – under the umbrella of diversity (gender, race, etc.) – have become the priority, though this overlooks some basic needs and ignores cultural traditions across the globe. Europe is strongly focused on the ecological necessities. In some less developed but highly populated areas of the world, reducing poverty and protecting jobs are the top priorities …

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Sustainability: Let business lead the way

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