WIT Press

Holistic Sustainability: Local Culture And Global Business—a Unique Opportunity


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WIT Press


M. B. Neace


This paper discusses the role of global enterprises and local culture as primary inputs to attain long-term sustainable development. Several models are discussed showing that today’s linear business systems are overly anthropocentric, disconnective, and monolithic in their approach to sustainable development. A business philosophy inclusive of local socio-culture stakeholders respecting their diversity and creativeness as vital constituents to the attainment of sustainable development is proposed. The discussion parallels the UN Global Compact. Broadening business planning to include local stakeholders, incorporating the precautionary principle, and knowledge sharing in a holistic manner with local stakeholders can lead to sustainable communities. The models presented demonstrate this holistic business stratagem. 1 Introduction Today, the linear economic reductionist modus operandi is one that extracts resources from Earth, converts them into products and services, and returns the residue (wastes) back to the biosphere (Figure 1). Figure 1 also suggests how this linear system can be modified toward a sustainable paradigm for business and local communities by also including the diversity, creativeness, and wisdom of local culture. Until recently, little thought was given to the impact of the linearreductionist processes, particularly from a holistic perspective, on Planet Earth. All sectors of the global society have and are contributing to this ever-increasing problem. There is now substantial evidence that Planet Earth is not capable of sustaining the continued pace of technological-economic activity it has experienced over the past five decades, and we are losing the battle [30]. This paper offers a holistic schema with several models that address the environmental issue from a business perspective. I contend that adoption of a