Social Sustainability

Social Sustainability is the core element of Sustainability. Some may argue differently, but essentially sustainability is about creating and maintaining quality of life for people. Financial and Environmental factors are important, but thay are both means to the end, rather than ends in themselves. Therefore, by working towards financial and environmental sustainability, we are already working towards social sustainability. However, the social element of sustainability does have a number of its own distinct criteria. Directly social sustainability involves protecting the mental and physical health of all stakeholders, encouraging community, treating all stakeholders fairly, and providing essential services. These elements are essential because a healthy society cannot be developed and maintained if the population are in poor health. If they are treated unfairly then it will only be a matter of time before they protest, and community fosters the sense of personal and collective responsibility necessary for a society to operate effectively without degenerating into chaos. It is also critical that essential services are effectively delivered to everyone who needs them.

In summary, a socially sustainable system must:

  1. Protect the mental wellbeing of all stakeholders
  2. Protect the physical health of all stakeholders
  3. Encourage community
  4. Treat all stakeholders fairly
  5. Provide all stakeholders with essential services