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Spa Sustainability – Part 1: Un-sustainability

 

There are many interpretations of sustainability

I think that many of us, although interested in the concept and desperately wanting to do our part, are still somewhat confused.  How can we become even more active contributors to the “reduce, reuse and recycle” guidelines, and how exactly do we go about implementing these changes?

Let’s first understand the four well-known “Un-sustainability Factors” vs. Four “Sustainability Factors”:

#1 Un-sustainability Factor:  We mine and remove metals, minerals and fossil fuels (oil) from the earth which either have a very slow re-absorption rate back into the earth, or none at all, and therefore build up to create a toxic environment.  Sustainability Factor #1:  Reduce mining and use of fossil fuels;

#2 Un-sustainability Factor:  We create chemicals to make products which also build up and contribute to a toxic environment.  Sustainability Factor #2:   Phase out production of harmful, unnatural products;

#3 Un-sustainability Factor:  We damage nature through overuse; overharvesting/deforestation; landfills and leaching of contaminated compounds; and infringe on wildlife habitat.  Sustainability Factor #3:  Changes to our use of water & land, including: agriculture; forestry; fishing and urban development;

#4 Un-sustainability Factor:  We create conditions where people cannot meet their basic human needs, including resources and distribution.  Sustainability Factor #4:  Better small-scale and world-wide organizational efficiencies, with a greater spread of resources in the wealthier communities and countries.

These dominating, un-sustainability factors have translated into our current dilemma:

An imbalance in supply vs. demand

Supplies are decreasing.  Our requirements for survival such as food, water, clean air and soil are in decline, as is the planet’s ability to regenerate these supplies.

Demand is increasing.  The planet holds over 6 billion people whose accumulating need for these supplies is increasing faster than our planet can provide them, therefore compromising our long-term sustainability (survival).  Check out www.thenaturalstep.com

 So as supplies decrease and demand increases, social and environmental pressures rise

It is because of this supply vs. demand crisis, that we need to more carefully consider the big picture.   We each need to scrutinize the demands we make on nature and it’s systems in order to ensure that future generations will have enough to survive on (think of your children, your grandchildren, their economy and living environment). So how are your actions affecting their futures?

Have you heard of the “Triple Bottom Line”?

In today’s world, businesses must embrace economic, environmental and social values.  John Elkington, co-founder of the business consulting company SustainAbility, coined the phrase in his book titled “Cannibals with Forks:  The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business”.  His message:

Triple bottom line accounting means expanding your traditional business reporting systems to not only include financial outcomes, but also environmental and social performance.  www.sustainability.com

Make Sustainability a “Living Plan”

Begin by recognizing the benefits to creating a sustainable business environment:

  • Save money by increasing efficiency;
  • Increase awareness and human health with safer choices;
  • Preserve your business and future by minimizing impact;
  • Strengthen and lengthen lives.

So, if you were interested in operating in a more socially responsible manner and willing to broaden your vision into longer-term goals, you would:

  • Envision the type of business you wanted to become;
  • Analyze where you are today in terms of sustainability;
  • Determine what actions you need to take in order to achieve these goals.

In other words, you “back cast” – analyze how to convert your current reality into your desired vision of the future.  To do this, there are five categories needing attention.  Consider the points outlined in Part 2 of this blog post.

 

About Leslie

Spas2b Inc. is a full service Spa Development company, specializing in Online Spa Management Distance Learning Courses, Spa Business Manual Instant Downloads & Resources, and Spa Consulting Services.
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