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Natural Step's System Conditions

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Natural Stepís System Conditions

The future of responsible business requires not only informed & adaptive leadership, but redefining the rules of the game. The only successful businesses must be the ones not violating the basic conditions that enable Earth to sustain life.

Principles of sustainability have been flourishing & there are now dozens of them coming from every corner of the world. The challenge for civilization is to define principles that are necessary, easily understood, & can be applied by all members in society.

This is, I think, what Karl-Henrik Robert & his scientific colleagues in Sweden have done. The Natural Stepís four "system conditions" define necessary conditions for survival:

1) Substances form the Earthís Crust cannot systematically increase in the biosphere - That means that fossil fuels, metals & other minerals cannot be extracted at a faster rate than their redeposit back into the Earthís crust.

2) Substances produced by society cannot systematically increase in the biosphere - This means that substances must not be produced at a faster rate than they can be broken down in nature. This requires a greatly decreased production of naturally occurring substances that are systematically accumulating beyond natural levels, & a phase-out of persistent human- made substances not found in nature.

3) The physical basis for productivity & diversity of nature must not be systematically deteriorated - This means we cannot harvest or manipulate ecosystems in such a way as to diminish their productive capacity, or threaten the natural diversity of life forms (biodiversity). this requires that we critically examine how we harvest renewable resources, & adjust our consumption & land-use practices to fall well within the regenerative capacities of ecosystems.

4) In order to meet the previous three systems conditions, there must be a fair & efficient use of resources to meet human needs - This means that basic human needs must be met with the most resource-efficient methods possible, including a just resource



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