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Guides for sustainability topics now available

The Virginia Tech Libraries' SciTech Team has developed a number of research guides for topics within the concept of sustainability. Each guide focuses on resources available through the library as well as sources freely available online. In each case you may need to use a more general Subject guides to gather background information about your topic. For instance, when researching green buildings, you will probably need to consult the Architecture and Building Construction subject guides for general information on these topics in addition to the specific information supplied on the green building guide.

Sept. 17, 2009 – Definition from the Dictionary of Sustainable Management. Developed by the Presidio School of Management, San Francisco, CA, an affiliate of Alliant International University.

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

This definition was created in 1987 at the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission). It is enshrined in the Swiss federal constitution. It is similar to the seventh generation philosophy of the Native American Iroquois Confederacy, mandating that chiefs always consider the effects of their actions on their descendants seven generations in the future.

There are many ways to measure or define sustainability. As described in the book Natural Capitalism, in business, these should include the sustainable development and use of, at least, the following four types of capital:

  • Financial capital
  • Manufacturing capital
  • Natural capital
  • Human capital

In addition, many organizations use the following criteria to assess sustainable products, services, and other activities:

Social criteria

  • Socially desirable
  • Culturally acceptable
  • Psychologically nurturing

Financial criteria

  • Economically sustainable
  • Technologically feasible
  • Operationally viable

Environmental criteria

  • Environmentally robust
  • Generationally sensitive
  • Capable of continuous learning

See also: sustainable management.