In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Since then the Sustainable Development Goals have been defined as “a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges humanity faces, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.”
When considering these goals within the framework of doing business as a micro-brand – the things I think about are ecologically sound materials, fair labor practices, concise supply chain, and conscientious operational practices throughout. These will be different for every business, depending on sector, size, ethos, financial considerations – all the factors have to be considered and balanced for success in both business viability and overall sustainability. I firmly believe every single person and entity in business, no matter the size, can choose to do something in at least one, and likely all of the areas of their enterprise.
Turning our attention to animal rights, the conversation can get tricky. Since I eat meat, it’s a little less tricky. When deciding to sell sheepskins, I found a company to do business with that has ethics which parallel my own. These sheepskins are a bi-product of the meat industry – using the hides for decor, warmth, and ceremony reduces the waste associated with that primary use. The sheep are raised via traditional, free range Icelandic methods. The skins are as eco-friendly as it gets, meeting strict EU directives concerning environmental preservation and protection. The tanning agents are also fully eco-certified.
Taking animals for personal use – for eating, cozying, beautifying – it’s a sensitive subject. I am grateful for every bit of warmth and sustenance.
All of the sustainable development goals are sensitive, depending on people’s circumstances. Taking all this into consideration is a great first step. Analyzing and taking action on where we can all lighten our footprint is even better. If everyone took action on even a few of the goals, I’m pretty sure it would make a difference to generations to come. It makes me think of Arthur Ahes’s words, ones I am living by these days. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”