What Are the Approaches to Sustainability?

Natural Capitalism 83

Cradle to Cradle 94

Biomimicry 109

Life Cycle analysis 121

social return on investment 147

the natural step™ 154

total beauty 158

sustainability helix 172

other Frameworks 180

Putting them Ап together 182


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here are several approaches, or frame­works, for understanding sustainability and its impact on the design and devel­opment of products and services, as well as on corporate behavior. For the most part, none is complete and only together do they form a full picture of criteria, processes, and approaches to more sustainable solutions. The proponents of some frameworks argue that theirs is complete or the best, but this is hardly true. However, all frameworks are lenses that contribute to the larger understanding of the issues, measures, and approaches of sustainability.

In this chapter, I’ve tried to discuss the most popular and influential approaches, but, no doubt, more will arise in the future. Each framework discussed is accompanied by a dia­gram summarizing its approach in the context of the expanded spectrum discussed in the first chapter. Hopefully, you’ll find inspiration and something of value in all of these approaches. Don’t let anyone tell you that there is only one way worth pursuing or from which to under­stand sustainability. Ultimately, you’ll have to

create your own model as a synthesis of ev­erything meaningful you find in any of these frameworks, which is what I’ve tried to do for you in the “summary framework” at the end of this chapter

Whichever framework (or combination) you use, it’s important to identify those that inte­grate well with your current development pro­cess and culture.

Updated: September 27, 2015 — 5:34 pm