Summary

Recognition of the necessity of a form of development that is sustainable demands a fundamental break from some of the important assumptions and beliefs that have underpinned traditional development since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. A new set of assumptions and beliefs will be needed to guide development toward sustainability. Success or failure depends primarily on businesses which have control over the human skills and the material, financial, and technological resources that are capable of effecting the change.

Sustainable development is a complex idea which, from a business point of view, can be described as something that:

  • uses renewable resources in preference to nonrenewables
  • uses technologies that are environmentally harmonious, ecologically stable and skill enhancing
  • designs complete systems in order to minimize waste
  • reduces as much as possible the consumption of scarce resources by designing long-life products that are easily repairable and can be recycled; and
  • maximizes the use of all the services that are not energy- or material-intensive, but which contribute to the quality of life.

All of this profoundly challenges companies everywhere and at all levels. Nine reorientations in business life are required. They are toward:

  • a corporate vision of stewardship
  • an appropriate scale of operation
  • the measuring of sustainability
  • flexible work arrangements
  • an orchestral style of management
  • enduring quality
  • just forms of ownership
  • convivial rules of ...

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