The Alliance and Sustainability

The Alliance for Sustainability was created nearly forty years ago by visionaries from around the world with a mission to co-create sustainability on a personal, organizational, and planetary level. We’ve always defined sustainability as being ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just and humane, embodying our highest values in terms of how we treat people, animals and the planet.

A diagram about Sustainability. The title reads "Sustainability, a relatively new term, a state we are striving to achieve." Underneath the title, along a green arch is a quote by the UN that reads "Meet the needs of the present without sacrificing the needs of future generations." Within the arch, there is a green triangle with "Planet Environment" written on the top point, "Profit" on the bottom right point, "People" written on the bottom left point, and "Triple Bottom Line or Integrated Bottom Line" written in the center of the triangle. In the bottom left corner of the image is written "Dow Jones" and "Sustainability Index". In the bottom right corner of the image is a drawing of a frog, beneath the words: "A frog does not drink up the water of the pond in which he lives."

As an early pioneer of the concept of sustainability, we have always rejected the notion that it means “sustaining” the existing, destructive systems that are in place. Instead, it is a life-affirming path requiring restoration, regeneration and resilience. We see it as holistically embracing and integrating all aspects of life while providing a clear yet ever-evolving North Star and vision that has never been fully realized.

We believe sustainability is a broad, welcoming umbrella that incorporates a range of powerful, cutting-edge approaches, including regeneration, restoration, resilience, circular economy, Cradle to Cradle, UN Sustainable Development Goals, Permaculture, Biomimicry, Net Zero, organic, Natural Step and so many more. Consequently, we fully support these initiatives and seek to have them become widely adopted. 

At the same time, we recognize that in many cases the term has been mis-appropriated, co-opted and greenwashed by various individuals and institutions. This has led to confusion and derision among some. As a long-time practitioner of holistic sustainability, we are committed to reclaiming the term and calling out those who would misuse it while celebrating those who authentically live it.

We need to change from stories of duality, domination, scarcity, greed, isolation, competition and conflict to stories of diverse unity, relationship, interdependence, collaboration, harmony, sufficiency, prosperity and sustainability that work for everyone

Thomas Berry, Dream of the Earth