What are the specific constituents of well-being that most concern us?
How are we thinking about them in terms of consequences, not just for us, but also taking into account positive or negative impacts we have on others today and in the future?
But there are also other assets from which a society can draw to shape its own wellbeing to pass on to successive generations.
A systematic approach to the challenges of sustainable development must appreciate the contributions to our intergenerational Organizations, including Harvard University, must ask themselves: “How will these important determinants of well-being be explicitly considered in our sustainable development plans?
Each member of our community has a role to play in this effort.
We must continue to generate new ideas and spur exciting innovations by collaborating across disciplines as we develop solutions to pressing global challenges.Harvard is a thriving academic community that is uniquely positioned to engage in a robust dialogue around these questions and what it truly means to be an organization that supports sustainable development not only through its research and teaching, but also through its operations.Sustainable development at Harvard involves more than simply reducing our campus’ impact on the surrounding environment.These challenges are compounded as the global population continues to expand. We see first-hand how people the world over are already affected by these changes which pose new challenges for us: fluctuating commodity prices, unstable markets and a shortage of sustainable raw materials. Businesses that thrive in the future will be those that serve society today.That’s why, in 2010, we launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan – our blueprint for sustainable growth.The Plan is helping us to drive more profitable growth for our brands, save costs, mitigate risk and build trust among our stakeholders.We know that the biggest challenges facing the world cannot be addressed by one company alone.That consensus argues that when governments, firms, and other organizations consider their possible paths toward sustainable development, they should focus on implications for the well-being of individual people aggregated within and across generations.Well-being depends, of course, on conservation of natural resources and the environment.The United Nation’s Brundtland Commission Report of 1987 concluded that humanity has the ability to make development sustainable if it meets “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The Brundtland Report was the catalyst that helped focus humanity on our obligations to future generations as well as to the importance of developing people, not just protecting the environment.However, there is a growing consensus among scholars and leaders around the world that we must now build on the Brundtland Report by incorporating a deeper consideration of human well-being into the evolving approach to sustainable development on local, regional, and global levels.