We are reaching a point as human society, where our impact on our planet is so significant that the Earth’s natural systems have been dramatically affected.
Each year, we use more resources than the Earth’s ecological systems can replenish: this is called ‘Earth Overshoot Day’. In 2020, that day fell on August 22nd meaning over four months before the end of a calendar year.
Each year, that date gets earlier, except in 2020 due to the Covid-19 lockdowns worldwide, as less resources were used. This is but one indicator of humankind’s impact on the planet; whether it’s the net increase in global surface temperatures due to Climate Change, the melting ice caps, the oceans full of plastic and toxic waste, the extinction of species, the huge changes in land use such as deforestation, or the diminishing fresh water supplies, all these are crucial for the survival of the human species into the future, as well as for all the other living organisms on the planet.
In order to envision a sustainable world, we need to understand what ‘sustainable development’ is: according to the Brundtland Report, it is defined as ‘development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs’. Therefore when we refer to sustainability, we are looking at the future needs of individuals, organisations, countries, etc., from an environmental, social and economic standpoint, keeping in mind the ecosystems and living organisms whose needs are also crucial for their own survival, and for ours.
At Enspiral, we strongly believe in co-creating a harmonious future for all that share this planet and as such, sustainability is one of our guiding principles. We offer sustainability consulting services based on a highly participatory, systems-based approach (see our Strategic Sustainability Planning section in our Toolbox) that looks at an entity such as an organisation or individual being embedded in multiple other systems. We use an envisioning process and ‘backcasting’ in order to help such entities to become sustainability leaders in their own contexts within society. This approach based on the Framework for Strategic Sustainability Development or FSSD has successfully being used by top corporations, municipalities and small companies throughout the world to become today’s sustainability leaders.