The Natural Step: A Framework for Sustainability

the Natural Step

The natural step has been regarded as the world’s leading sustainability framework. It provides a set of sustainable management principles that have been tested and applied since the early 1990s to create a common language for businesses so they can move towards sustainability. This blog post will talk about what The Natural Step is, how it works, and why it’s an important tool for business owners who want to be more sustainable!

We will start with what the natural step is. The Natural Step provides a framework for sustainability upon which businesses can use to move towards sustainability because sustainability is such a precise topic that it needs an agreed-upon set of principles by society and industry to guide action.

The framework provides four basic rules which are the sustainability principles that define success. As captured in the Natural step framework, these sustainability principles provide the understanding that: In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing…

1…concentrations of substances from the earth’s crust (such as fossil CO2, heavy metals, and minerals)

2…concentrations of substances produced by society (such as antibiotics and endocrine disruptors)

3… degradation by physical means (such as deforestation and draining of groundwater tables).

4. And in that society there are no structural obstacles to people’s health, influence, competence, impartiality, and meaning.

To apply these principles, the Natural Step applies the ABCD process to implement the above sustainability principles into your business or organization. The implementation of the Natural Step can be applied in different contexts and it takes training, experience, and practice to apply the above principles more easily. The letters represent a process that is followed for each step:

A—Awareness & Vision

Envisioning the future starts with awareness and defining what sustainability means for individuals, businesses, and other organizations. The Natural Step framework uses a science-based system’s perspective definition as the foundation of decisions made at this stage in looking into envisioned sustainable futures.

B—Baseline Analysis (Baseline Assessment)

It is important for organizations to understand their sustainability issues and strengths as it helps establish goals, implement change, and make improvements. Gap analysis is a process that can be used by any organization to find out more about themselves through exploration of the differences between current trends compared with what they should strive towards being. By analyzing these discrepancies, we can identify where an organization needs improvement or provide a way forward on how best you might go about making desired changes happen.

C—Creative Solutions

The first step to achieving your goals is understanding the gaps and baseline of what you are currently working with. Understanding these will allow for innovation so that we can work on solutions to bring ourselves closer to this vision- a sustainable product or organization.

D –Decides on Priorities (Devise a plan)

Developing a plan is the crucial first step in any journey. It will help you understand what the next steps are and “low-hanging fruit” that can produce quicker benefits as well as develop your long-term goals. This process will also help you to formulate both short-term and long-term plans while prioritizing which goal goes first.

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