Since the terms Sustainable Development (SD) and Sustainability were coined, many definitions have appeared. By 1992 there were at least 70 different ones, with the Brundtland report being the most commonly quoted.
For us Sustainable Development means “A journey in which societies continuously strive to improve their quality of life for this generation and future ones, while protecting and improving the natural environment; through changes in activities, attitudes, and mental models.”
Although SD and Sustainability tend to be used interchangeably, for us SD is the process, or road, to Sustainability, an ideal dynamic goal, which needs to be continually re-assessed. It also means that SD is an ongoing journey, not a destination.
We consider Sustainability to address a dynamic and simultaneous Two-Tiered Sustainability Equilibria (TTSE): The first one amongst economic, environmental and social aspects, and the second amongst the temporal aspects, i.e. short-, long- and longer-term perspectives. In the TTSE, stakeholder engagement and participation is considered to be part of the social aspects of Sustainability.
We address Sustainability by focusing organisational behaviour, systems thinking, change management, institutional framework, strategic management, leadership, and learning throughout the organisation.
In our work, we stress the focus on negotiation and collaboration with the different stakeholders, in order to avoid unnecessary conflicts.