Sustainability – What It Is And What It Is Not

I believe that sustainability is a term loosely used to make statements about what suits a particular agenda, and it is often presented in box ticking acronyms like CSR and ESG.

However, sustainability is not just a box ticking exercise. It is about ensuring the survival of humankind for generations to come, by optimising the use of natural resources we have and leaving the planet in a hospitable manner for our children, and their children.

Sustainability is a core component of innovation. In a technical lecture that I delivered to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers last year, I defined innovations as “Any human endeavour or effort that enables us to survive, grow, prosper and be sustainable“.

There are two approaches to sustainability:

  1. Activism that anyone can participate in, which focuses on telling others what not to do.
  2. Concrete Action that enables people to actively participate by asking the question “how do we make the right thing to do, the easiest thing to do”.

My sustainability is of the second type, where every project Equitus has delivered has been aligned with one or more United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Now, who am I and why me, to talk about sustainability, right? I am a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with ca. 17 years of experience working on different sectors, leading multinational engineering teams, and being involved with major companies like the European Space Agency, Samsung, Kawasaki and the UK Atomic Energy Authority. I am a keynote speaker at various events where innovation, sustainability and design are the main talking points. For me sustainability goes beyond the acronyms, clean energy, recycling and waste management. I am a practitioner and coach of Sustainability by Design, where sustainability led design practices lead to sustainability across the whole product lifecycle and across the supply chain.

If this is the kind of Sustainability you are looking for, then let us talk. However, if you’re only looking at ESG, CSR and other box ticking exercises, then I hope I have changed your outlook on this matter.

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