What is sustainability? Timberframe and sustainable development

'Sustainability' is a buzzword in many industries, not least the construction industry. The problem is that many people do not know what it means to them, or how it affects them...


Through over-use and lack of explaination, increasingly the term 'Sustainability' is starting to mean all things to all people - everything and everyone is supposed to be sustainable - and increasingly boardrooms talk about the benefits without understanding what action they should take or why.

Benfield ATT - the most environmentally sustainable way to build

As 'sustainability' means so much to so many people, Benfield ATT have decided to explicitly promote the definition we believe best describes 'environmental sustainability' in the context of our business and our customers.


  • Defined by Brundtland as 'meeting the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet thiers'
  • Described by John Elkington as 'an intention to put environmental, social and economic (financial) issues on par with each other, and encourage the measurement of related impacts'

Sustainable Development

Defined by the Government as having four key areas

  • Social progress which recognises the needs of everyone
  • Effective protection of the environment
  • Prudent use of natural resources
  • Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment


Benfield ATT suggest then, that 'Sustainability' involves individuals - and organisations - asking themselves the question 'what am I responsible for?' and then taking appropriate action.

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