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Posted by Steve Read on January 18, 2012

We’ve been using this word a lot recently, probably all triggered by the forthcoming talk by the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership at the Cambridge Strategic HR Forum on 8th February.  In their words, sustainability is concerned with meeting the needs of people today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development therefore involves:

  • A broad view of social, environmental and economic outcomes
  • A long-term perspective, concerned with the interests and rights of future generations as well as of people today
  • An inclusive approach to action, which recognises the need for all people to be involved in the decisions that affect their lives

We’ve been using the word ‘sustainable’ in other ways – our own business needs to be sustainable, and we, like many other businesses have been looking to secure a client base to make us sustainable. When we are doing well, we create pressure that we have to deal with.  Our physical and mental well-being is important if we want to remain healthy whilst dealing with this pressure, and sustain activity levels. Then our children come home from school and add another dimension to that pressure, and nothing should get in the way of making that sustainable! We would like our clients to have sustainable businesses, and our leadership and management development programmes are designed to help their leaders and managers to achieve this.

All in all, sustainability is a pretty important thing, so I hope the word doesn’t get degraded by over-use like others do.  ‘Authentic’ for example.  Or ‘fantastic’.  I recently heard two television presenters squeeze ‘fantastic’ into a two minute slot 17 times. But then as Vic Reeves says "88.2% of statistics are made up on the spot”.  It may well have been 21 times…

So, to keep this blog sustainable – I’ll stop right now, but please do add your comments on the subject.  

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