Our Understanding of Sustainability

Our understanding of sustainability feeds our mission and motivates our activities as an enterprise.

Definitions of sustainability 

It is clear that the ‘triple bottom line’ concept became established in business. The presentation of sustainability (economy, ecology and society) by means of an isoscelence triangle is the best way to point out the equal status for each dimension. The CSE Standard is strongly oriented on this model. However there are more detailed understandings of sustainability.

Weak and strong sustainability concept

Most of the sustainability definitions nowadays refer to a weak understanding of sustainability. According to weak sustainability then atural capital can be replaced by man-made capital in the long term. This principle implies that natural resources may be used continuously to ensure the prosperity of our generation. The most resources are exploited in less developed countries. This leads to the fact that the prosperity gap between the rich and the poor constantly increase.

We think that the principle of weak sustainability is not sufficient and tend to prioritise the concept of strong sustainability. This concept claims that natural capital can not be replaced by man-made capital. Hence the total quantity of the natural stock and its structure should not only be preserved, furthermore its preservation should be supported by smart investments and actions.

Qualitative and quantitative growth

The quantitative growth paradigm is strongly anchored in our modern civilisation. Enterprises are under pressure to grow constantly as they face a great dependence from capital markets and have to survive within the predatory competition.

The GfaW understands these issues. Especially securing employment is a strong argument for growth. However first examples exist which state that there are possibilities to develop business in different ways. In these examples qualitative growth is focussed.

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The GfaW approves new economic approaches which can contribute to more fairness in economy and more satisfaction in the population. We claim big potential in supporting approaches which regard the exhaustibility of natural resources.

Successful business

A new definition of successful business is needed because the growth paradigm in economy. We claim business as successful if it is not uncoupled from the scarcity of resources and if it indicates ways in which a good life is the central point for business decisions.