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Regenerative sustainability – the new frontier

In recent years, sustainability has become increasingly embraced as a key way to help our environment and the planet. Much has been done in the name of becoming more sustainable, such as companies making strides in lowering their greenhouse gas emissions, searching for better methods to manufacture, and more. Sustainability has become completely mainstream, with […]

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In recent years, sustainability has become increasingly embraced as a key way to help our environment and the planet. Much has been done in the name of becoming more sustainable, such as companies making strides in lowering their greenhouse gas emissions, searching for better methods to manufacture, and more. Sustainability has become completely mainstream, with consumers preferring sustainable companies over others. 

While economies and consumers are more aware of being sustainable, the planet has continued to suffer warming caused by the continuous increase in carbon emissions. Much is still done that harms the planet, such as mining for rare minerals or the burning and clearing of the Amazon rainforest. So, it seems that the goal of becoming more sustainable is not enough to solve the environmental problems humans cause the Earth. 

This is where regenerative sustainability comes into play. 

What is regenerative sustainability? 

Right now, there’s no official definition of regenerative sustainability that’s accepted by everyone. The consensus is that regenerative sustainability refers to the process of creating economies and communities that heal the planet.

In other words, regenerative sustainability takes the concept of “sustainability” up to a new level. Regenerative sustainability is a design philosophy that works to better our lifestyle by making improvements in the physical systems around us, leaving them better than we found them. 

What led to the development of regenerative sustainability? 

The progression from sustainability to regenerative sustainability is a natural development on the environmental journey of the planet. Sustainability was developed as a method to reduce our harmful environmental practices. The result has been good, but not good enough. The planet continues to suffer from climate change driven by humans. 

The next step in the development of “sustainability” naturally developed into regenerative sustainability. The idea is to create systems and policies that heal the environment. One example of this process is regenerative agriculture. 

Regenerative agriculture uses a combination of farming principles and methods that increase biodiversity, add nutrients to the soil, improve watersheds, and complement ecosystem services (such as cleaning the air, pollination, water purification, and more) 

Regenerative agriculture came out of the permaculture drive, developed to mimic the natural ecosystem. In a natural ecosystem, plants and animals work together, and the need to till the soil is reduced. 

Farmers using regenerative agriculture practice regenerative agriculture design on their farms by using systems that leave the soil improved, whereas, in the past, the soil was regularly depleted of nutrients. So, farmers leave the land better than they found it. 

Another example of regenerative sustainability is architecture. Architects and builders have started to build homes that have a net-positive effect on the environment. That means homes have more of a positive than a negative impact on their environment. 

Regenerative sustainability, however, has to become more than just an idea or a concept. It must be turned into a practice and methods that make a real difference.

The pillars of regenerative sustainability

Real change is needed to develop, support, and promote regenerative sustainability. To make this a true solution, it’s necessary for individuals, industries, and governments to shift from sustainability as the goal to doing what’s needed to make a difference, which is regenerative sustainability. 

Change is definitely taking place. Now is the right time to take action to alter the manner in which we live, learn, work, and conduct business through regenerative sustainability. However, we must first learn about the foundations or pillars of regenerative sustainability. 

Regenerative sustainability has three pillars, including: 

Our planet

We must find the right methods to impact the planet positively. This is essential for the survival of life on this world. It’s imperative to develop regenerative actions and processes to benefit the climate, including the development of circular economies. 

It’s no longer enough to solely rely on decarbonisation and zero greenhouse gas emissions. We must also work to seek a net positive impact on soil, air, and natural environments. 

People

The second pillar of regenerative sustainability is people. Individuals, institutions, and businesses must address the causes of climate change on all levels. 

Governance

Governments at all levels must strive to integrate sustainability management and regenerative sustainability efforts with financial incentives and support to make real changes that lead to leaving the planet better than we found it. 

It will be necessary for governments to create more transparency, efficiency, and policies & regulations to bring about the positive changes needed to save our world. 

Concluding thoughts

Overall, sustainability has brought us to the point where it’s now necessary to take the next step and go up another level in protecting the Earth. That means going on to regenerative sustainability. 

It’s time to take regenerative sustainability from a mere concept to a method and practice that truly leaves the environment better than we found it. We don’t have time to waste. Now is the right time to make the move to regenerative sustainability. 

What is the business case for sustainability?

Thursday 21 February 2024, 1:00-2:00 PM

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