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The Origins of Sustainability as a Growth Mindset 


Intengine's Writer Community

November 10, 2022

The concept of sustainability was first formulated in the modern sense in Sylvicultura Oeconomica, published in 1713 by the German mining executive Hans Carl von Carlowitz.

In the 1700s, the mining industry in Saxony ended old-growth forests as a result of the melting of ores, leading to both exorbitant increase in timber prices and bankruptcies in the mining industry. As a result of this economic crisis, Carlowitz's work has become the starting point of activities based on the principle of sustainability in the field of silviculture. 

With the global energy crises of the 20th century and the increase in environmental awareness, countries began to shape their state policies on the axis of energy security and sustainable development. In June 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit, made a global definition of the concept of sustainability and the Rio Declaration of 27 principles was signed by more than 175 countries.

At the same time, global action plans (Agenda 21) and conventions on sustainability principles were implemented. (FP, CBD, UNFCCC, UNCCD) UNCED secretary general Maurice Frederick Strong appointed Swiss entrepreneur Stephan Schmidheiny as the head advisor to the business and industry of the conference. Schmidheiny brought together 48 general managers from 5 continents and 26 countries to create a forum called the Sustainable Development Business Council (BCSD). The forum, which aims to develop a business perspective on environmental and development challenges, is now continuing activities with members from the 200 most important companies under the name of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The concept of sustainability has been officially integrated into the business world with this forum.

In 1991 more than 2,000 companies across the world adopted the Business Charter for Sustainable Development published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) until 1996. The 16-article charter included provisions such as the foundation of sustainable development goals as a company priority within the scope of environmental management, evaluation of technology during the development process, proactive marketing, production activities, training of employees and customers, and ensuring that suppliers adopt sustainability principles. 

When we examine its historical aspect, we see that sustainability has emerged with the evolution of a fixed mindset after crises into a growth mindset-focused development. When the concept of sustainability is accepted on a global scale, the organizational processes and supply chain management of companies have also taken on a new dimension. With the Business Charter for Sustainable Development, all corporate activities have started to be carried out with the philosophy of sustainability.

Nowadays, procurement teams especially need to act with a growth vision and develop sustainable strategies taking into account ESG (environmental, social, and governance) factors in order to achieve growth and high valuation gains. 


Eco-Innovation, Sustainability


sustainable development, history of sustainability, history of environmentalism, environmental progress, environmental declarations