Green or sustainability has a different meaning to different people. In the USA we typically refer to green when referring to things that impact natural resources (the environment, energy, pollution, etc.). A good Sustainable Development Program will address how an organization can improve in its sphere of influence the five capital areas: natural capital, human capital, social capital, manufactured capital, and financial capital.

So what is Sustainable Development?

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

In other words, sustainable development focuses on improving the quality of life for all of the Earth’s citizens without increasing the use of natural resources beyond the capacity of the environment to supply them indefinitely. It requires an understanding that inaction has consequences, and that we must find innovative ways to change institutional structures and influence individual behavior. It is about taking action, and changing policy and practice at all levels, from the individual, business, social, governmental and to the international.

So what is Sustainable Development?

To start, it is good business. Based on Dexia Asset Management, one the world’s leading investment firFFms in sustainable development, the yields of companies that scored high on the social responsibility index performed equivalent or superior to traditional management companies; the Dexia AM Global Sustainable Management fund companies’ yields out performed MSCI World index companies by more than 20%.

Implementing sustainable development into your business is the socially right thing to do. It will present opportunities for cost reductions & optimization and advantages in the eyes of your customers which can distinguish you from your competitors.