The three pillars of sustainability
This is what it's all about
What exactly is sustainability?
There is probably no term that has been more strained in recent years than the word "sustainability". Every company that wants to put on a green coat works out a sustainability strategy. In many cases, however, the term "sustainability" remains an empty phrase. It is not uncommon for the topic of sustainability in companies to degenerate into a marketing instrument with which customers want to be won over. But if the sustainability strategy does not correspond to the DNA of the company, it lacks credibility. This is referred to as greenwashing. Another difficulty is the definition of sustainability. What exactly does sustainability mean? Is a company allowed to boast about sustainability if it replaces disposable coffee cups with reusable cups, or is there more to it than that?
One guideline for sustainable development in companies is the so-called three-pillar model. This represents the idea that sustainable development can only be achieved if it is based on the three pillars of ecology, economy and social justice. All three areas must be implemented simultaneously and equally.
Criticism of the three-pillar model
Although the three-pillar principle has become the standard in the corporate world and no other model has yet prevailed, it is not without controversy. The main criticism is that ecological, economic and social sustainability can hardly be treated equally in practice. Since the protection of natural resources is a basic prerequisite for economic and social sustainability, ecological sustainability must have a higher priority.