Subject Name : Sustainable Enterprise
Subject Code : LB5203
Lecturer : Ian Kirkwood
Due Date : Week 10
Assignment Topic : Monitoring Systems
Company : Qantas
Student : Deha KISIN
Number : 12422942
Today the sustainable development is, undoubtedly, one of the major themes in scientific researches and politics’ debates. While the world economy and population grow rapidly, the planet resources necessary for the economy and population functioning is not practically growing at all (Meadows, 1998). It causes two important questions (Ibid, p.11): 1. How can we provide sufficiency, security, good lives to all people? 2. How can we live within the rules and boundaries of the biophysical environment? The first question is related to the development issue, the second one – to the sustainability issue. As Meadows (1998) considers these words taken together – “sustainable development” – “may seem contradictory but nevertheless must be achieved” (p.12). In this paper we intend to discuss a few current approaches to the sustainability development, in particular in the enterprise (or institutional) context; to investigate briefly a method of measuring and monitoring organisational sustainability; and to give an example of a sustainability monitoring system for a specific enterprise, namely for Qantas Airlines.
Defining sustainability and sustainable development
Initially the term “sustainability” came from agriculture and ecology sciences, where it is understood as the “sustainability of natural ecosystems” and is defined as “the dynamic equilibrium between natural inputs and outputs, modified by external events such as climatic change and natural disasters” (Fresco & Kroonenberg, 1992, cited in Bell & Morse, 2008, p.10). Today the definition of sustainability is generally applied to various socio-economical systems and includes “the capacity of a system to maintain output at a level approximately equal to or greater than its historical average, with the approximation determined by the historical level of variability” (Pearce & Turner, 1990, cited in Bell & Morse, 2008, p.10). As for the sustainable development, it is a “development that meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs and aspirations” (Brundtland, 1987, cited in Bell & Morse, 2008, p.10). This definition has promoted a developing the Triple Bottom Line concept, which is based on the understanding of sustainability as a “dynamic balance among three mutually interdependent elements: 1. protection and enhancement of natural ecosystems and resources; 2. economic productivity;
3. provision of social infrastructure such as jobs, housing, education, medical care and cultural opportunities” (Dominski et al, 1992, cited in Bell & Morse, 2008, p. 79).
The Triple Bottom Line concept
The Triple Bottom Line concept (see Fig.1) was coined by the sustainable business consultant John Elkington (2004) for the framework used to measure success of organisations, regions or societies taking into account three dimensions of performance: financial, social and ecological. The framework is also widely known as “TBL” or “Three Pillars” (People, Planet, and Profit).
The Triple Bottom Line concept serves as a basis for many quantitative metrics of sustainability measurement and monitoring, which allows businesses and governments to be informed better about the current stage of sustainability, and make better decisions in management of sustainability. As Dalal-Clayton and Sadler (2009) point out, today’s sustainability measurement and monitoring systems use the TBL concept successfully integrating environmental, social and economic factors through a number...