Kurt Mifsud, CEO of The Mediterranean Culinary Academy, highlights the three
fundamental principles of sustainability which businesses must fulfil in order to be
considered to be sustainable

It seems that every time one listens to the news, looks at a company’s corporate social responsibility activities, or sees an NGO’s news feed on social media, the word ‘sustainable’ pops up. It’s found itself in new and classical fields of study and has become an ever- present buzz word in our lives. I often sit back and wonder how each one of us defines sustainability and what the basic principles that guide us are.

the three fundamental principles of sustainability

In my view, sustainability should be divided into three main categories, and that all of these categories must be fulfilled for one to say that its business is a sustainable one. It would therefore follow that, if one of these pillars is unfulfilled, then one cannot call its enterprise sustainable.
The three fundamental principles of sustainable businesses are as follows:
• Environmental
• Economic
• Social
Environmental sustainability is the one most associated with the word, however environmental responsibility and sustainability are not interchangeable. Environmental
sustainability is about working hard to develop practices that have a low impact or improve our natural environment. A great example of this is low impact agriculture, such as organic or permaculture farming. This practice encourages farmers and producers to increase soil health, biodiversity and natural pest control. This enables the farmer to work with the land
and promote the health of the natural environment.

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Economic sustainability is extremely important for any business promoting sustainable practices, as without it, the activity would simply dissolve. One can be a leader in environmental practices, however with no cash, everything would come to an end, leaving one’s impact to be non-existent and all the hard work would go to waste, or worse still, would fuel individuals who are naysayers the fire they need to discourage any future responsible entrepreneurs.

Social sustainability is the term that gets spoken about the least. However, it is potentially the most important one for any business, when one considers how tough it can be to find great staff to fit into one’s company culture, ethos and belief in the product. How many
times have we encountered young aspiring chefs who are over-worked and undervalued? The result of such adverse conditions is such, that many people in the catering industry burn out by the time they’ve hit their thirties. This brings about a huge loss of knowledge,
experience and talent. For this reason, it is important for companies to prioritize and invest in staff training, team building, wellness and promote a happy and fulfilling work  environment.

In my experience, these are the three main principles that are necessary for businesses to be sustainable. I have always felt that the first step is to try and like anything in life, success isn’t instant. However, with great will-power and perseverance, this movement,
which is being pioneered by young forward-thinking individuals will become the new norm.

Kurt Mifsud

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