what is sustainability

In 1987 the Brundtland Report1 provided us with the most widely known and generally accepted definition of sustainable development, stating that it is:

“…a continuing process of economic and social development, in both developing and industrialised nations, that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

In other words our actions, business, manufacturing methods – everything that represents our modern way of life – should be conducted in a way that considers how it will affect the environment, the economy and society, both now and into the future.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘triple bottom line’, these three ‘pillars’ of sustainable development – environment, economy and society – are each crucial if we are to continue to thrive, or even survive as a species.

Global warming constitutes a major threat to the sustainability of modern society, and the impact is not simply an environmental one. The economic cost of climate change can be counted in the increase in damage to property and crops from drought, storms or flooding. The societal costs through loss of communities and livelihoods, and the human costs in terms of loss of life are potentially far greater.

Since global warming is now officially recognised as occurring largely as a result of human activity, it is incumbent upon us to take strong and immediate action. The longer we delay, the greater the potential costs on all fronts and the more likely it is that the damage will be irreversible, so it is vital to look at what steps can reasonably be taken.

a-cost-effective-analisys-02

One of the simplest and most cost effective actions we can take is to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings, thereby reducing energy demand and cutting CO2 emissions – one of the major causes of global warming.

Insulation is one of the simplest and most cost effective ways to achieve this.

Polyurethane insulation is one of the most effective modern insulation materials readily available today.

1 Brundtland Commission, United Nations Commission on sustainable development – 1987
2 CEPS leaflet Tackling climate change – Why demand side measures supply truly cost-effective solutions, 2007