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  • What is sustainability?

  • In natural terms it's the ability of a system to maintain its own viability

  • or endure without giving way, or to use resources so they're not depleted or permanently damaged.

  • Up until the mid 1980s, sustainability

  • wasn't thought, really, outside the context of an ecosystem.

  • But that began to change, slowly unfortunately, and the United Nations provided a new context

  • for the term "sustainability" that of dealing with human existence.

  • In fact, it wasn't really until the 1980s that people began thinking of humanity and the planet in terms of an expiration date.

  • When businesses emphasize sustainability,

  • old school thinking of the bottom line gives way to new school thinking about the triple bottom line.

  • The triple bottom line focuses on profits for sure but also in terms of its impact on people and the planet.

  • Long-term success will only happen when all three areas are considered when making business decisions.

  • The industrial revolution really began the cycle of manufacturing with little regard to anything but the bottom line.

  • At the time who could blame them? The air was clean, water was pure and plentiful.

  • Land, timber, minerals and other natural resources were

  • so abundant that sustainable business environments seemed unnecessary.

  • Since the end of World War II the U.S. economy has been focused heavily on consumerism, convenience and disposability.

  • Food became "fast." Buying a house, car, or other creature comforts became "entitlements."

  • And before we're too critical of this generation, the "greatest" generation,

  • let's not forgive that the end of World War II also ended the Great Depression.

  • Overindulgence might be expected from those

  • who lived through those times.

  • In the past 30 years, and especially the past 10 years

  • there's been a big movement towards sustainable business models. Many businesses have stopped of fighting

  • pressures to be more environmentally-friendly and now working to embrace it.

  • But why? What or who caused the change? Well. . you did! Or your generation at least.

  • Millennials are the largest most diverse population the U.S. Millennials value community, family, and creativity in their work.

  • Millennials are better educated than prior generations. Millennials are more health conscious. More brand loyal.

  • Millennials are also concerned about the environment and they expect more from...well...everyone knew everything

  • So your generation, both as consumers and employees, are driving the change towards sustainability.

  • The traditional linear economy of take, make and dispose

  • is giving way to a circular economy of make, use, and return.

  • Finally, sustainability has caused businesses to do a Lifecycle Assessment where

  • the triple bottomline is reviewed at each phase of the product lifecycle.

  • This is known as cradle-to-grave approach but the overall goal is cradle-to-cradle.

  • and that concludes this introduction to sustainability.

What is sustainability?

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B1 INT UK sustainability millennials bottom line cradle triple generation

Managerial Accounting: What is Sustainability

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    Trina Xu   posted on 2016/04/09
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