There are many definitions of sustainability. Webster’s dictionary defines sustainability as, "using a resource so that it is not depleted or permanently damaged."
More and more people and communities are trying to understand sustainability and the linkages between efficient economic development, preservation of the environment and quality of life for future generations.
The following definitions about sustainability --although different-- share a common theme that weaves them together.
* “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” 1987 UN Brundlandt Report
* "An economic state where the demands placed upon the environment by people and commerce can be met without reducing the capacity of the environment for future generations." Paul Hawken, author and businessman
* "Sustainability refers to the ability of a society, ecosystem, or any such ongoing system to continue functioning into the indefinite future without being forced into decline through exhaustion…of key resources." Robert Gilman, President of Context Institute
* "A sustainable community is one that seeks improved public health and a better quality of life for all its residents by limiting waste, prevent pollution, maximizing conservation and promoting efficiency, and developing local resources to revitalize the local economy." Concern, Inc.
* "Sustainable development is the process of working towards the long term health and vitality of our city and its citizens with regard to ecological, social, cultural and economic processes." Sustainable Calgary, Canada
* Sustainability is "…human use of the environment balanced with the regenerative capacities of the ecosystem." David Korten, author
* The Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts defines sustainable production as: "the creation of goods and services using processes and systems that are: non-polluting; conserving of energy and natural resources; economically viable; safe and healthful for workers, communities, and consumers; and, socially and creatively rewarding
for all working people."
The common theme in these definitions is economic security, community vitality, ecological integrity, equity and commitment to the welfare of future generations. We believe our vision, mission, and values reflect all these definitions. The framework we are providing unites existing Missoula area sustainable businesses and encourages all businesses to protect the environment, strengthen the local economy, encourage the efficient use of resources, and to protect and enhance our quality of life.