October 29, 2021

Sustainability matters (to you)

Carl Olivier

When Michael and I set out on this adventure, I had only a vague sense of the importance of sustainability to our everyday life, and arguably more importantly, to our children’s lives and the lives of the flora and fauna we share this planet with.

Our education was about to begin in earnest…

Sustainability touches everything and everyone in so many ways; from corporate strategy to government policy; from investment decisions to consumer purchase choices. A really important learning for me was that this is not limited to environmental or climate related areas; sustainability covers a wide range of areas such as corporate governance, company culture, innovation and policy frameworks to name only a few.

But, what more specifically do we mean by “sustainability”?  And, how do we know the difference between unsustainable and sustainable?  

One definition of sustainability is:

“the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level”

Another is:

“avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.”

How does this matter to us though?  It matters because if we don’t change our ways, the resources, the ecosystems and the places we call home won’t survive us.  We need to find ways to live, without destroying that which we depend on for that life.

So, given the complexity of our modern production techniques, the industrial scale and advancements in farming techniques, how are we as mere mortals able to make the choices that lead to less harmful impact on the environment and our society?  And why does it matter what we do, we aren’t governmental, we are not multinationals.

No, but we are the demand to their supply.

So, understanding what sustainability really means is a pretty fundamentally important starting point. In addition we also need the information about what went into the making of the products being sold to us, ensuring we can even try to make a more sustainable choice.

Today, in the majority of cases, the information is not available, and when it is it is woefully inadequate.

When doing your weekly food shop, do you have any visibility into how much land was used or the level of pollution generated while making your beans? Do you truly understand that your choices drive the behaviours of the producers of the food you eat?

This then is the change we need to make, the way we think about our everyday choices, the impact they have at scale.  And the change we can drive, the shifts in manufacturing, transport and more in the systems that we depend on. Voting with our wallets has value.

Michael and I founded Sustained because we believe emphatically that given accurate and actionable information at the time it is needed, better choices can and will be made.  Those decisions will drive other choices, more sustainable ones.

We have made it our purpose to build the systems and facilitate the journeys for everyone to be able to ....

...make better choices.

Written by
Carl Olivier
First published on
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Last edited on
Nov 3, 2021 1:47 PM

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