Sustainable is the positive adjective through which the three aspects of sustainability, environmental, social and economic intertwine influencing each other. But let us go a bit deeper.
In the “Handbook for Sustainable Projects – Global Sustainability and Project Management” authored by Paola Morgese, sustainability is practically linked to the management of any type of projects.
For example, sustainable is environmental for the protection of biodiversity, for the appropriate management of solid, liquid and gaseous waste, for energy saving, for the use of renewable energy, for a fair management of drinkable and non drinkable water, for preventing pollution of soil, water and air.
Sustainable is social for the respect of human rights, for the prevention of all kinds of discrimination, for the protection of rights at work, for assuring an adequate income to support families, for the prevention of corruption that causes pollution and diverts investments, and for the respect of the rights of consumers and users.
Sustainable is also economic for the conservation of resources and for their efficient management, for the rational organization of work, transportation and communications, for the profit growth, and for its fair distribution among the social parties.
Wanting to go deeper: energy saving is environmental and economic at the same time. Pollution prevention is environmental as well as social. Waste management could seem above all an environmental issue, but it has strong impacts on the social and on the economic sustainability. Water management too.
The prevention of discrimination is a social issue, which however concerns also the economic aspect. Corruption is social, but it has strong impacts on the environment (pollution) and on the economy, for example it creates poverty while diverting investments.
The respect for the rights of consumers and users concerns first of all the social area but, if the product or service provided pollutes, consumes too much energy and water, requires expensive and complicated operating and maintenance operations, is dangerous for safety and health, or its obsolescence has been planned, then it is also about environmental and economic issues.
The preservation of resources is an economic issue but, if resources are environmental, it is also environmental or, if resources are human, it is also social. The organization of work has economic as well as social implications.
The organization of transportation is an economic issue, however, because means of transport pollute, it is also environmental and, because it concerns also commuters, it is also social. Communications (by telephone, on paper, in person) are an economic aspect, but if for example, with the new today available technologies a meeting can be replaced with a conference call, then they have impacts on transport and so on the environmental and social issues.
The fair distribution of profits among investors, workers, suppliers, and the community is an economic and at the same time a social issue, moreover, if part of the profit investment concerns for instance a green area, it is also environmental.
That is how the word sustainable, even if we do not realize it, continuously enters into our lives.
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Paola Morgese, PMP
Civil Hydraulic Engineer
M.S. Sanitary and Environmental Engineering
Translation of the blog post published at Sostenibile.com