Sustainability is...

Environmental sustainability

Environmental sustainability is the rates of renewable resource harvest, pollution creation, and non-renewable resource depletion that can be continued indefinitely.

It has been further defined:

  • for renewable resources, the rate of harvest should not exceed the rate of regeneration (sustainable yield)
  • [for pollution] the rates of waste generation from projects should not exceed the assimilative capacity of the environment (sustainable waste disposal), and
  • for non-renewable resources the depletion of the non-renewable resources should require comparable development of renewable substitutes for that resource.

Categories within environmental sustainability, that companies might see challenges, and implement targeted plans to help mitigate, include:

Environmental reporting

Environmental accounting uses two types of accounting. 1) Environmentally differentiated accounting which measures the effects of the natural environment on a company in monetary terms; and 2) ecological accounting which measures the influence a company has on the environment in physical measurements.

Industry-specific criteria

Not all companies will fit into one set of criteria. Other criteria include: biodiversity, business opportunities, financial services / products, business risks, large exports / export finance, climate change governance, climate strategy, electricity generation, environmental footprint, operational eco-efficiency, transmission and / or distribution, and / or water-related risks.

Environmental policy / management system

This might address environmental issues such as air and water pollution, solid waste management, ecosystem management, maintenance of biodiversity, the protection of natural resources, wildlife and endangered species. Energy or regulation of toxic substances including pesticides and many types of industrial waste are part of this.

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