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Sustainability and the environment: For future generations

In view of increasingly scarce resources and the simultaneous sharp rise in environmental pollution, questions about sustainability and the environment are of burning topicality, but politicians and business have a hard time answering them. For example, Art. 73 (Sustainability) of the Swiss Federal Constitution states:

"The federal and cantonal governments strive to achieve an enduring and balanced relationship between nature and its ability to regenerate on the one hand, and the requirements of people on the other."

It is left somewhat open as to how one is to interpret "nature and its ability to regenerate" and "the requirements of people". In the media, it is reported that a European Union (EU) design for "strategies for sustainability" and "indicators for sustainable economic practices" are almost complete. These should serve as a "model" for European governments. It is interesting to note that most of the authors who deal more closely with the subject "sustainability" write to a large extent about environmental protection, resource management, economic development and quality of life. The social aspects are almost always overlooked.

This raises the question of how to arrive at a definition of sustainability. Such a definition would have to meet both the local needs of an individual company and the broader framework of an entire economy. Now so-called "sustainability reports" —in the sense of a supplement to a company's annual report— have recently found astonishing acceptance in a way that could lead to uniform and binding standards. The Global Reporting Initiative's guidelines, whose final report was presented in January of this year, currently cover the field most broadly and concretely. "Social Performance Indicators", which are intended to provide information on social criteria, are also being developed.

vSpacer Sustainability and Environment (Nahe Valley, Hunsrück)

The facsimile print shown here is from J.J. Becher: Kluger Hausvater. Extended Edition, Leipzig 1747.

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