Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2017 - 11
FROM THE PRESIDENT
BY STEVE FLETCHER,
s stˉane'bil dˉe/
1. The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
Businesses everywhere seem to be talking about sustainability. But what does
"sustainability" mean and why do so many companies have a different definition of what constitutes a
If you ask five people what sustainability means to them, you'll probably get five different answers.
Some will say sustainability is "corporate social responsibility." Others will identify sustainability as
environment, health and safety because their companies focus their efforts in this area. And still others
will say it's part of a broader environmental, social and corporate movement.
A strategic approach to sustainability can have a positive impact on a utility's bottom line. When you
look at it that way, sustainability is first and foremost a business strategy. Building that strategy means
looking closely and thoughtfully at the business, then using what is learned to operate for the long-term
success of the utility in ways that will help ensure that future generations can meet theirs.
There is no universally agreed-upon definition on what sustainability means. There are many different
views on what it is and how it can be achieved. The original definition of sustainable development is
usually considered to be: "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the
ability of future generations to meet their own needs." (Bruntland Report for the World Commission on
Environment and Development.)
According to a recent online survey of over 3,000 executives representing many regions, industries,
company sizes and functional specialties, many companies are actively integrating sustainability
principles into their businesses. And they are doing this by saving energy, developing better protocols,
as well as retaining and motivating employees. More companies are managing sustainability to improve
processes, pursue growth and add value to their companies rather than focusing on reputation alone.
With that in mind, our utilities should be considering well-planned sustainability initiatives that
embrace areas that NRWA has been defining for several years. Such an effort will lead to meaningful,
measurable results for your utility in the form of significant cost savings, new opportunities, enhanced
reputation, higher employment engagement and partnerships that support your goals.
NRWA will continue to be the leader in Rural Water. Your membership with us and your State Rural
Water Association makes you a part of the greatest sustainability effort anywhere! ●
A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO
SUSTAINABILITY CAN HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT
ON A UTILITY'S BOTTOM LINE.