What is sustainability?

The most widely quoted definition of sustainability is the "Brundtland definition" found in the 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development Report: "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

The concept itself is not new. "The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired in value," said Theodore Roosevelt in 1910. However, in recent years, the interconnected pillars of environmental, economic and social sustainability have gained a world-wide resonance and momentum. The goal of the Sustainability Program is for each INL employee to incorporate sustainability into their day to day thinking and strive to balance the three pillars. 

In 2007, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13423, “Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.” The order sets goals in the areas of energy efficiency, acquisition, renewable energy, toxics reductions, recycling, sustainable buildings, electronics stewardship, fleets, and water conservation. EO 13423 was given further strength when President Obama codified it as law as part of the Omnibus bill signed in Spring 2009.

The U.S. Department of Energy addresses sustainability through newly finalized DOE Order 436.1, "Departmental Sustainability" (dated 5/2/11).


  Contact Information:
Ernest Fossum  (208) 526-2513   Email Contact
Chris Ischay  (208) 526-4382   Email Contact


Contact: Chris Ischay at 208 526-4382 or Ernie Fossum at 208 526-2513.

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