What Does it Mean to Be Sustainable?

“I want my business to be sustainable

“I want my food to be sustainable

“I want my weight loss to be sustainable

Many of today’s food (and business) conversations are heavily laden with references to being sustainable.  This is actually not new, it just seems perhaps more concentrated and angst ridden because social media has the ability to give conversations a bigger presence and because we are more aware of our choices and their impact personally and for the planet. Enter the meaning of words. Earth, longevity, and responsibility, oh my! Wait, what?

Exactly. What in the world (literally) are we talking about when we say something is or should be sustainable? That is an excellent question. With many appropriate and important answers. Here’s my simplified interpretation of some of the great ways something can be sustainable. For better progress and understanding, clarify what is meant as you start each conversation:

Sustainable business – one that will be around in years to come, not obsolete and closing

and/or

Sustainable business – one that uses natural resources wisely and respectfully, manages energy and food waste, and exemplifies excellent working conditions for the labor force (employees) at all levels

Sustainable weight loss – weight loss that can be maintained over time

Sustainable food – food grown and raised in a way that honors, maximizes and respects natural resources, plants, animals, land, air, water, and communities

And/or

Sustainable food – management of food waste, access to and affordability of nutrient rich foods that provide the adequate nutrition we need to thrive

There’s so much more to be said, but for starters, be clear on what the conversation at hand is actually getting at.

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