What Is Sustainability?

Sustainability is just one word and yet there exists over 300 definitions. The best-known definition of sustainability or sustainable development comes from the World Commission on Environment and Development and is outlined as: "forms of progress that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs."

It is important to consider that sustainability is about more than just looking after our natural environment. It is also about considering the social and economic impact of what we do and how we do it.

The challenge for Australia is to encourage the development and management of tourism products and services that will provide economic and social benefits to local communities while protecting and enhancing our natural and cultural attributes.


Corporate Social Responsibility, Green Tourism and Triple Bottom Line Reporting – what does it all mean?

Within the sustainability arena, there are several phrases that continually crop up. A few phrases that we often see are Corporate Social Responsibility, Green Tourism, Responsible Tourism and Triple Bottom Line Reporting. Below are definitions of each of these:

Corporate Social Responsibility is defined by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development as the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce, their families and the local community and society at large. More than goodwill, corporate community involvement or strategic corporate philanthropy, corporate responsibility is a genuine attempt by a company to build meaningful relationships between the corporate sector and the rest of society.

Green or Sustainable Tourism is a broad reference to tourism experiences that focus on protecting the environment and allow visitors to travel responsibly, with little impact.

Triple Bottom Line Reporting means expanding the traditional reporting framework to take into account environmental and social performance in addition to financial performance. Triple Bottom Line reporting is becoming an accepted approach for organisations to demonstrate they have strategies for sustainable growth. It focuses on decision-making and reporting which explicitly considers an organisation’s economic, environmental and social performance.

Responsible Tourism has emerged in recognition of the fact that eco-tourism should apply to all tourism, not just in natural areas or with nature-based experiences.