1st pillar: environmental protection (ecology)
Ecology is the science that studies the reciprocal relationships between living things and their environment. As such, it is a sub-field of biology, and deals with the survival of living creatures within their environment. This can, of course, also be applied to human beings. Human beings exercise a major influence on the environment and on available resources.
The goal of ecological sustainability is the preservation of resources and a conscious approach to the use of available reserves, such as wood. However, the preservation of diverse species and organisms is also a point of focus, just as much as the reduction of CO2 emissions, pollutants, and hazardous substances.
2nd pillar: social equity
We will now consider the second pillar. As has already been established, we humans are gregarious (herd) animals. As such, we survive best in groups, which are essentially pursuing the same goal. This does not mean that the members of our group cannot be completely different, e.g. when it comes to our values, lifestyle, or mentality.
Ultimately, we are all socialised in different ways. Our respective social behaviour is a psychological, cultural, and in some cases, innate phenomenon. In this regard, our upbringing as children plays a decisive role. These differences are something we should be free to express – and yet still be able to survive effectively.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 by the United Nations, are built on precisely this notion. One of the factors addressed in the declaration is the issue of social sustainability. The central message is this: human dignity is inviolable. Alongside fair pay, the common good of society is paramount. This includes the promotion of apprenticeships and training courses. Forced labour, exploitation, and child labour cannot be reconciled with social sustainability.
3rd pillar: economic viability
The final pillar within the 3-pillar model is economics. The objective is to study the value of products, services, and goods transport. Here a differentiation is made between political economics and business economics. As the current actual status, the present economy is always compared to the normative economy – i.e., how things should be. Economic studies of society are thus highly dependent on the respective conditions within the environment. The reason for this is that statistics regarding criminality, education, family, law etc. all make a contribution.
Summary of the 3-Pillar Model
The 3-pillar model provides a guideline for both companies and the state. This enables improved sustainability – including within companies. Here it is important that the three pillars are considered equally, with preference given to neither environmental protection, social equity, nor economic viability.