Simplicity Without Reduction: Thinking Upstream Towards the Sustainable Society

Document type: Journal Articles
Article type: Original article
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Göran Broman, John Holmberg, Karl-Henrik Robèrt
Title: Simplicity Without Reduction: Thinking Upstream Towards the Sustainable Society
Journal: Interfaces
Year: 2000
Volume: 30
Issue: 3
Pagination: 13-25
ISSN: 0092-2102
Publisher: INFORMS
ISI number: 000088873800002
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: Dept. of Mechanical Engineering (Institutionen för maskinteknik)
Dept. of Mechanical Engineering S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 780 00
Authors e-mail:
Language: English
Abstract: The natural-step framework is used by over 100 organizations, including many global corporations in Europe and the United States, to provide strategic direction for their sustainability initiatives. The framework is built on the concept of simplicity without reduction. Out of respect for complexity we designed it to provide a compass, a guide for strategic direction. The framework consists of a backcasting planning process for sustainable development based on four principles (system conditions) for sustainability. The framework does not prescribe detailed actions. Once an organization understands the framework it identifies and specifies the detailed means by which to achieve the strategy, because it knows its business best. The steps in the planning process are understanding and discussing the system conditions for sustainability, describing and discussing how the company relates to the system conditions in today's situation, creating a vision of how the company will fulfill its customers' needs in the futur
e while complying with the system conditions, and specifying a program of actions that will take the company from today's situation to the future vision.
Subject: Business Administration\Organization
Mechanical Engineering\General
Keywords: Sustainability, Systems perspective, Backcasting, Environmental management, Investment strategies.