Our definition of sustainability is concrete and understandable for everyone. The Natural Step’s approach creates a shared language so that we may work together for effective and desirable change.  Our processes and tools facilitate action so that we can more quickly achieve true sustainability together.

Four basic rules define success

The rules of The Natural Step relate to the four ways that we are destroying Earth and hurting society. We have to stop. So, to be sustainable, we need some basic rules...

Sustainability Principle 1

… we cannot dig stuff up from the Earth at a rate faster than it naturally returns and replenishes.

Sustainability Principle 2

… we cannot make chemical stuff at a rate faster than it takes nature to break it down.

Sustainability Principle 3

… we cannot cause destruction to the planet at a rate faster than it takes to regrow.

Sustainability Principle 4

… we cannot do things that cause others to not be able to fulfill their basic needs.

Once you have these four basic rules, they are quite easy to apply.

It takes some training and experience, but with practice, it becomes clear how to be more sustainable into the future.


The rules for sustainability are not isolated. To apply them, we go through our ABCD process.


Everything starts with awareness. We need to understand how to define sustainability and what it means for individuals, business and other organizations, society, and ultimately the Earth. We use a science-based and ‘whole-systems’ definition as a firm foundation to build a vision of what your sustainable organization looks like in the future.

Baseline assessment

This step uses the four sustainability principles to conduct a sustainability ‘gap analysis’ of the major flows and impacts of the organisation to see how its activities are running counter to sustainability principles. This way we assist organisations to identify critical sustainability issues, their business implications, and strategic opportunities for change.

Creative solutions

Now that we have identified the gap between where we are today (current reality) and where we want to go (vision), we can start to think about innovations and solutions. These will incrementally bring us closer to a sustainable product, service or organisation. We are clear on what success looks like, and which process we must set up or change in order to get us there.

Devise a plan

What do we need to do, and when should we do it? What are the first steps and “low hanging fruits” that will bring quicker benefits, and what needs longer term planning? We make this plan together so you can get started quickly on your path to a sustainable future.

Ready to learn more about what we can do for you?

Our Work