Fact: the reasons for insufficient progress include a poor understanding of what sustainable development is, the resultant fears and resistance in the sectors potentially affected, and the absence of any clear objective, with the result that sustainability is not properly incorporated into all the relevant policy areas.
What is sustainability?
- Make the world a better place for everyone without destroying the prosperity of future generations.
- Mitigating and adapting to climate change.
- Play with fair rules that apply to everyone.
- Slowing the rate at which we are using and damaging the planet’s resources.
Sustainability is about being part of the community that enables us to progress and preserve prosperity for future generations. This will ensure a decent lifestyle (living conditions), enriching jobs, rising learning opportunities, ease of travel and transportation, healthy social connections and good health.
How do we create sustainable communities?
By enabling people to meet their needs in sustainable ways. This means that buildings that consume less energy are now standard for the rest and the same applies to environmentally friendly energy systems, water infrastructure that provides us with safe, plentiful and affordable water, flexible and fuel-efficient transport, reliable healthcare, education and employment.
The three pillar model:
The model is based on environmental, economic and social considerations which must always be regarded as inextricably interlinked:
- Environmental (and climate): It includes, among other things, climate protection, protection of natural resources and biodiversity (environmental friendly alternatives).
- Economic development (business and industry).
- Social progress: Better education and training opportunities, equal rights for men and women, fighting poverty and ensure prosperity.
How do we tackle the challenges of sustainability;
- Design buildings that use less energy to cut carbon emissions.
- Buildings produce carbon in several ways.
- Through their construction process.
- Through the burning of fossil fuels to provide energy for manufacturing and delivering materials.
- Through their heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting systems.
- Buildings produce carbon in several ways.
- Design techniques that make the most of natural resources to reduce the building’s energy demands.
- Develop sustainability guidelines for setting new standards for energy, water and materials consumption, waste, carbon emissions and land use.
- Using industry modelling tools. Examine the carbon in cost associated with every construction and maintenance activity, to reduce carbon over a building’s design life.
- It is immense to move from a carbon rich to a sustainable and secure energy environment by involving commercial forms of renewable energy (solar, wind, bioenergy, hydro). Adaptation and re-wiring of a flexible transmission system as well as pioneering smart grid technologies will be imperative. Smart grids (21st century demand of electricity) require significant knowledge to ensure transport and distribution, to adapt energy policy and market regulation.
- Transport is traditionally linked to the growth of the economy. Transport planners are now faced with the challenge of continuing to unlock economic opportunities while contributing to the reduction in the use of fossil fuels. Intelligent transport systems aim to make more efficient journeys as well as reduce dependency on the car.
- The rise in living standards contributes to the problem of providing safe and reliable water resources, which makes it essential to use best practices for integrated water resource management.
- Developing efficient treatment systems and taking account of potential wastewater treatment technologies to minimize environmental impact. Reducing water consumption, leakage and carbon emissions through smart metering is another way we are contributing.
- In recent years, more and more regions face the risk of desertification. The development of efficient wastewater treatment technologies, allows for more efficient management of water. Reducing water consumption, leakage and carbon emissions through the use of smart metering systems is another way to achieve the sustainability goal.
The sustainability strategy is in line with the business strategy.
An important goal is to create solutions that embody the best practices, save time and money, reduce risk (technical, commercial and environmental) and maximize sustainable outcomes.
The sustainability strategy provides competitive edge, unleash innovation and delivering product efficiency.
If we start thinking about what we would like to achieve instead of what we can achieve, we will shift our mindset. For instance, many times targets are set for reducing emissions by 10% over five years’ period. What if we set a more appreciable reduction? This may focus the whole team to reach this ambitious target.
Supply chain and sustainability strategy
Considering the supply chain in this sustainability journey we will see that it is a multitude of R&D centres ready to give the best ideas, services and products. Cooperation, through the conclusion of targeted trade agreements, give reward and additional positive results.
So, the final step of this sustainability journey is to use sustainability to scrutinise how we do things and why we do. What is our aim (for our business, our organization, our countries).The journey through sustainable development can lead us many times outside the comfort zone, but if we don’t make these key changes, we will not benefit from what sustainability can offer us.