Japanese town in snow

An ecological balance is a prerequisite to a sustainable future because humans, as a living species, have certain basic needs for their survival – food, water, air and protection from the elements. However, a sustainable human society also requires healthy social systems that meet their basic needs. These needs are not only physical, in terms of survival, but also emotional to ensure mental health and well-being.

Elements of social sustainability required for healthy and liveable communities have been described as:

  • equitable – providing opportunities for all
  • diverse – welcoming all
  • connected – enabling social interaction
  • democratic – with open and accountable governance structures
  • quality of life – ensuring basic needs are met at all community levels [1]

Economic success is, to a very significant extent, reliant on a healthy, stable society populated with people who enjoy good physical and mental wellbeing. For example, it is difficult to do business in corrupt societies where decision-making can be less transparent and unpredictable, making investments more risky. It is also more difficult to run a successful business with a team of people who are unwell, either physically or mentally, or distracted by the worry of their basic needs not being met.

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  1. Retrieved on 6th November from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_sustainability