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The Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development
Human society is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Earth environment. If our "parent company" destabilizes, our society and our economies go down with it. This is another way of expressing the funnel metaphor.
Science has proven we are currently destabilizing our Earth environment, and this in turn is producing escalating negative social and economic impacts.
As a way to address the many challenges that arise from this situation and empower organisations to innovate and open up new directions for themselves, The Natural Step has developed a Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD). We have iterated and refined this framework in collaboration with the private and public sectors, and the scientific community, over the past 25 years.
What Does It Do?
- The FSSD cuts through the noise and confusion by providing a definition of sustainability grounded in peer-reviewed science.
- It provides concrete, customized guidelines for how to approach being sustainable in a way that improves the bottom line.
- It clarifies how to select the most effective sustainability tools for your specific needs and pathway from amongst the many available.
- It offers a way to organize thinking and conversations around sustainability. This gives the actors in your system a common language and a way to unify their efforts so they’re all pulling in the same direction from their various areas of expertise.
- It provides mechanisms to deal effectively with sustainability’s greatest challenges, such as:
- Trade-offs – how do we take the bad with the good?
- System boundaries – how can one single organization or project define the world’s sustainability challenge in relation to itself and manage the implications for its own plans and operations?
- Sustainable resource potentials – which investment alternative has the greatest chance for growth?
- Reconciling the seemingly irreconcilable, such as small scale with the biosphere, short term with long term, and social responsibility with a powerful bottom line.
To learn more about the Framework, peruse the following pages, or contact one of our offices.
At the heart of the Framework is its definition of sustainability, applicable to any organization or undertaking regardless of activity or scale. Click "Next" below to learn more about this definition.