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Natural Step

The Natural Step process is a fusion of sustainability and systems design? thinking, focused on ecologically sensitive design, asking "is it good for the organization, good for society and good for the environment?" about literally every design decision no matter how small it may seem to be.

It purports to be a complete model of sustainability based on several non-overlapping principles and backcasting? to assess regret?s - albeit not from a fixed time horizon as in the method of Ron Dembo?.

scientific definition of sustainability


The original Natural Step was simply four conditions/principles:

"SYSTEM CONDITION #1: In order for a society to be sustainable, nature's functions and diversity will not be systematically subject to increasing concentrations of substances extracted from the Earth's crust.

SYSTEM CONDITION #2: In order for a society to be sustainable, nature's functions and diversity will not be systematically subject to increasing concentrations of substances produced by society.

SYSTEM CONDITION #3: In order for a society to be sustainable, nature's functions and diversity must not be systematically impoverished by physical displacement, over-harvesting, or other forms of ecosystem manipulation.

SYSTEM CONDITION #4: In a sustainable society, resources are used fairly and efficiently in order to meet basic human needs globally."

design criteria


This led to a set of simple design criteria that have evolved over time to a more complex framework. Several firms have notably adopted this framework to some degree: IKEA, Electrolux, OK Petroleum, McDonald's, over fifty municipalities, seventeen professional networks, Scandic Hotels, Interface, Inc. - also an early adopter of the Natural Capitalism approach, and the Collins Pine Company which is notably for sustainable forestry? work.

successors


Both ISO 14001? and Natural Capitalism were strongly influenced by the Natural Step methods and conditions - and its eco-capitalist? approach to work with industrial players. Indeed, all these methods are sometimes criticized for this by purists.

This is a refer link derived from theNatural Step FAQ(external link) and peer-reviewed papers(external link). See also Karl-Henrik Robert's Schumacher lecture, Cycle of Nature, 1995(external link).


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