What Are The Three Pillars of Sustainability?

By Dean Emerick of ESG | The Report

Are you looking to make a difference in your own life and the state of our planet? Then take a look at sustainability, an important concept that can help us all create a healthy, balanced future.

The three pillars of sustainability — environmental, social and economic — offer practical solutions to improve conditions here on Earth. With their widespread application, we’re able to promote environmentally friendly practices as well as ensure equitable treatment for all people.

Furthermore, adhering closely to these three main components allows better stewardship of our resources along with reduced risk of human suffering caused by neglected aspects of development. Keep reading for more information about the importance of sustainability and how it truly is achievable through the use of its three pillars!

sustainable development goals

What are the Three Pillars?

The three pillars — environmental, social and economic sustainability — are considered the cornerstones of achieving a sustainable future. Let’s take a closer look at each to better understand their significance:

1. Environmental: This pillar is perhaps one of the most well-known when it comes to sustainability, as we all have an obligation to protect our planet for future generations. This involves limiting pollution, preserving biodiversity and reducing our carbon footprint.

2. Social: The social pillar of sustainability focuses on ensuring that all people are treated fairly with dignity and respect. This may include providing access to basic education and health care, promoting gender equality or protecting human rights, among other aspects of inclusive development.

3. Economic: This pillar stresses that all economic activities should be carried out responsibly and in a way that benefits the environment, society and future generations. This includes investing in renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power, creating jobs for locals and promoting responsible consumption habits.

These three pillars of sustainability are essential components to achieving a future where we can all thrive and enjoy a clean, healthy environment. By understanding the importance of each pillar, we are better equipped to make sustainable decisions that will benefit our planet in the long run.

What is the History of the 3 Pillars?

The 3 pillars of sustainability have been around for centuries in different forms. But they were first outlined in the 1987 report, Our Common Future. This paper, produced by an international group of scientists and economists known as the Bruntland Commission, was created in order to address environmental issues and put forth proposals for achieving sustainable development. Since then, the three pillars of sustainability have been widely used to assess policies, development plans and projects.

The 3 pillars of sustainability offer a framework for economic, social and environmental policies to be implemented in order to reduce our negative impact on the environment. By ensuring that all people have access to basic needs such as education, health care and employment opportunities, we can better support their development while also preserving our natural resources for generations to come.

What is the Importance of the 3 Pillars?

The importance of the 3 pillars of sustainability cannot be overstated. By encouraging environmentally-friendly practices, we can help maintain healthy ecosystems which are essential for all life on Earth. Additionally, social policies such as promoting gender equality or protecting human rights ensures that everyone has an opportunity to thrive and live in dignity. Finally, responsible economic activities are key to ensuring a healthy economy which will achieve sustainable development and growth.

What are the three pillars of sustainability?Grassy field under a blue sky with snow-capped mountain in distance

What are the Benefits of Adopting the 3 Pillars?

By adhering closely to the principles of sustainability, we can create a healthier, more sustainable future. Here are some of the key benefits that come from promoting sustainability:

  • Promotes Healthy Living: By investing in renewable energy sources and creating jobs for locals, we can promote a healthier lifestyle for all.
  • Ensures Equal Treatment: Sustainability encourages equal treatment for everyone, regardless of race or gender. This helps to eliminate poverty and inequality in our world.
  • Protects our Environment: Sustainable practices help to protect the environment by reducing pollution, preserving biodiversity and mitigating climate change.
  • Improves Global Economy: Sustainability encourages responsible economic activities that benefit both people and the planet in the long run. This helps to create a stronger global economy and better conditions in developing countries.

By embracing sustainability, we can create a better future for ourselves and future generations. It is our duty to protect the planet and promote equality and justice for all people. We can achieve this by working together and following the three pillars of sustainability.

6 Steps You Can Take to be More Sustainable

No matter your location, there are plenty of ways you can contribute to sustainability using the three pillars for adopting sustainable lifestyles. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Reduce your energy consumption by utilizing renewable sources and minimizing waste.
  • Make an effort to reduce, reuse and recycle materials whenever possible.
  • Buy locally produced products when available or support companies that practice ethical sourcing methods for their goods.
  • Become involved in your local community by volunteering or donating to causes that promote social justice and equity.
  • Offset your carbon footprint with a donation to an organization that works towards reversing climate change.
  • Educate yourself about the issues facing our planet today in order to make informed decisions for the future.

These are just a few of the ways you can make a difference when it comes to sustainability. By working together and following the three pillars of sustainability, we can create a better world for everyone!

Boardwalk through a lush forest

What does Environmental Sustainability Mean?

Environmental sustainability refers to the practice of managing natural resources in a way that preserves their beauty and health while also meeting human needs.

This includes conserving energy, water, land and other resources through sustainable practices such as recycling. It also involves reducing pollution and waste, protecting ecosystems from destruction or disruption, and promoting renewable energy sources. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and reversing our collective carbon emissions is essential for the long-term health of our planet and all its inhabitants. We must take responsibility for our actions, or we risk jeopardizing our future generations’ access to a healthy environment. Sustainability can be achieved through collective action and collaboration between individuals, communities, companies, and governments.

By taking small steps in our daily lives, such as using reusable bags or reducing food waste, we can all contribute to environmental sustainability.

What does Social Sustainability Mean?

Social sustainability is based on the principles of equity, justice, and inclusion. The key elements focus on creating a society where people of all backgrounds have access to resources, opportunities and basic human needs. This means providing adequate housing and healthcare, ensuring fair wages for workers, promoting gender equality, cultural diversity and protecting vulnerable populations.

It also involves supporting sustainable development in communities around the world by investing in education and clean energy. Social sustainability is essential for creating a more just and equitable world. By working together, we can create lasting change through sustainable practices that will benefit everyone.

What does Economic Sustainability Mean?

Economic sustainability is a concept that focuses on the ability of an economy to sustain itself over the long term. This includes concepts such as financial stability, equitable distribution of resources and responsible use of natural capital.

Economic sustainability also requires effective governance and regulation in order to ensure that everyone has access to basic needs. It aims to promote economic growth in a way that is environmentally sustainable, socially responsible and financially sustainable. In other words, economic sustainability requires us to ensure that the resources of our planet are used responsibly in order to create a better future for all.

What can Businesses do to Promote Sustainability?

Corporate social responsibility plays a crucial role in promoting sustainability by adhering to the principles outlined in the three pillars. For the business community, these pillars are measured through Environmental, Social and Governance endeavors in the form of an ESG report. But here are a few ideas businesses can implement to promote sustainability:

  • Adopt green manufacturing and production practices that minimize waste and use renewable sources of energy such as solar or wind power.
  • Implement water conservation measures such as water recycling, rainwater harvesting efficient irrigation systems and waste management systems.
  • Promote an equitable workplace by investing in diversity and inclusion initiatives and providing fair wages and benefits to employees.
  • Make efforts to reduce environmental degradation by investing in research and development of clean technologies.
  • Align their business practices with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

By taking these steps, businesses can help create a more sustainable society for everyone! And as a result, the world economy will benefit in the long-term.

What is the Future of Sustainability?

The future of sustainability is bright and full of opportunity! As our world continues to grapple with the effects of climate change, global poverty, and other pressing issues, it is more important than ever that we act now.

We must move beyond short-term solutions and focus on long-term, sustainable practices that benefit our entire planet and all of its inhabitants. Governments and businesses can work together to transition to a more sustainable economy, investing in renewable energy sources and green technologies, and protecting the world’s resources for future generations.

Through collective action and collaboration, we can create a brighter future for all. With the right tools and strategies, we can create a more sustainable world that is better for everyone. We have an opportunity to make a positive impact on our planet—let’s seize it!

Rushing river through a lush forest

What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals designed to create a more sustainable world by 2030.

They cover areas such as poverty, health, education, climate change and peace and justice. The SDGs are an important tool for countries to guide their policies and actions in order to achieve sustainability. The objectives of the SDGs are to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all. They also aim to tackle inequalities that exist around the world and promote partnerships between countries in order to achieve greater progress towards sustainability.

The SDGs are a call to action for everyone—governments, businesses, civil society and individuals—to work together to create a more sustainable future. By working together and implementing the principles outlined in the SDGs, we can create a better world for everyone. Together, let’s make sure our planet has a bright and sustainable future!

In Conclusion on the 3 Pillars of Sustainability

The importance of sustainability is undeniable. We need to work together in order to create a better future for ourselves and future generations. We can do this by incorporating sustainable practices in our lives, encouraging sustainability at work and by demonstrating that we expect more from the business community. By following the three pillars of sustainability – environmental protection, economic prosperity, and social justice – we can help ensure that our planet is healthy and around for generations.

Dean Emerick is a Digital Strategist on sustainability with ESG The Report, an online resource of like-minded professionals focusing on ESG principles and socially responsible investment for a more sustainable future. www.esgthereport.com