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.”
As we increasingly understand the breadth, width and depth of our collective planetary footprint, there is a dawning realisation that meeting the needs of the present, by definition, actually compromises future generations, purely by virtue of existence. And problematically, our environment has declined so much that its capacity to sustain future generations is seriously inadequate.
Science now recognises that simply maintaining the current state of the environment isn't enough to sustain life on earth. Our collective focus has to shift to regenerating - to restore, fix, improve systems from the past and ongoing.
The traditional linear, mechanistic, zero-sum logic is at odds with the natural systems on which the market itself depends. Continuing to simply take what we want, however carefully, doesn't regenerate the planet fast enough to support future generations. Kaleido Insights sum up regnerative business practices as the
"CRITICAL BRIDGE TO BUILDING RESILIENCE FOR THE LONG-TERM. THE NEXT GENERATION OF BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGIES ARE REGENERATIVE, DESIGNED TO ALIGN MARKETS IN SERVICE OF PEOPLE AND PLANET."
Resilient, regenerative business models align profit models that contribute value to their ecosystems rather than constantly extracting from it.
Regenerative businesses are either businesses who offer products and services that utilise waste products, idling capacity (space, services) or use systemic design to nest within established systems. Regenerative businesses like a vineyard or a brewery for instance, use local regenerative organic produce; employ locals; treat contaminated wastewater - turning it into clean water and producing biogas to generate clean energy; sequester and reuse carbon; promote animal and human welfare; and all the while, building back the land on which they do business.
Look for and support businesses who are genuinely regenerating their footprint and who treat you as a Citizen - part of an ecosystem. Businesses whose products are useful and necessary, who renew or revitalize their own sources of energy and materials, who create sustainable systems that integrate the needs of all stakeholders within the boundaries of planetary resources.
Take notice and participate in programs that support biodiversity - renewal, restoration, and regrowth.