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  • Sunho Kim

What is Economic Sustainability?

Economic sustainability is one of the pillars of sustainability. Its primary focus is economic growth while mitigating harm to the environment and society. Natural resources play an essential role in economic growth; therefore, if we exploit all of our natural resources right now, there will be challenges and severe consequences to economic growth in future. Hence, conserving natural resources is vital for economic sustainability.

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Natural resources are closely integrated into our life and well-being—from the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the transportation we take to other places, the houses we live in, etc. As you know, natural resources are limited, and it has been depleting at an alarming rate. In Global Resources Outlook 2019, UN Environment reports that the amount of natural resources extracted and used has tripled in the last 50 years. Natural resources such as coal, oil and gasoline emit greenhouse gas, which not only negatively impacts our environment, but is also a leading cause of climate change.

What are Examples of Economic Sustainability?

Individuals and companies can save money by practicing economic sustainability. Here are some economically sustainable practices that people can take part in:

Let's Reduce our Energy Consumption

People can use less energy by turning off lights and unplugging electronic appliances when not in use. People can also opt for LED light bulbs rather than incandescent light bulbs. Another solution is switching to energy-efficient appliances.

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Use more Renewable Energy

Renewable energy, also known as alternative energy, is a great energy source to take place of fossil fuels. Most renewable energy does not produce carbon emissions. Renewable energy that does produce carbon emissions emits less compared to fossil fuels. Furthermore, renewable energy is replenished, so people do not have to worry about running out of renewable energy. Here is a list of some renewable energy:

  • Wind power

  • Solar power

  • Hydropower

  • Geothermal energy

  • Biomass

Gotta Reduce our Waste

So much waste is produced in the world! According to Statista, there will be an increase to 3.4 billion tonnes in global waste by 2050. Not only do landfills take up space but they also contaminate the air, soil, and water. For different wastes, different solutions are needed. In the case of food waste, people should compost food scraps and other organic waste. Restaurants and other food industries have the option to donate any surplus unsold food. In the case of packaging waste, companies can minimize packaging waste by using recyclable or biodegradable materials. They can also resort to minimalist packaging.

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Recycle, Recycle, Recycle...

Recycling helps to cut down resource extraction. Here is a list of some recyclable materials:

  • Plastic

  • Paper

  • Aluminum

  • Steel

  • Wood

  • Tin

  • Copper

  • Glass

Many cosmetic and beauty brands offer recycling programs. For instance, DECIEM accepts empty product bottles and containers from their brand and other brands. Some cosmetic brands like MAC offer customers a small reward like lipstick upon returning six makeup containers from their brand.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to support economic sustainability, and some practices are simple as flicking the lights off before leaving the room. So there is no excuse for not practicing economic sustainability. Encouraging people to engage in economically sustainable practices within the business is equally crucial as outside the company.

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Social sustainability focuses on improving people's well-being and addressing their needs and therefore promotes the well-being of society.

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