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Social Sustainability

Social Sustainability

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Published by reza ruffini
What is Social Sustainability?
What is Social Sustainability?

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Published by: reza ruffini on Sep 19, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/21/2013

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Author’s Note:
Congratulations on taking this important step! Whether you
ve taken a fulldive into sustainability or are merely curious as to what socialsustainability is all about, this document will serve as a guide throughsocial processes and how you can get started.This guidebook was inspired through work on a collaborative thesisexamining the nature of social sustainability. It is the intention of thisguidebook to further detail the concept of social sustainability andcharacteristics of processes that work towards it. The aim is to guide areflective exploration of the way your organization or communityfunctions. By taking a closer look at how processes within a community ororganization are structured and knowing key elements of sustainableprocesses, practitioners will be able to effectively shape their organizationstowards socially sustainable development.Our sincere thanks go out to all those who have encouraged and providedtheir insights during the development of this guidebook.Andre Benaim, Amber Collins and Luke Raftis.
 
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Getting Started: Where am I?
In your journey towards social sustainability, it is important to knowwhere you start. No matter what level you operate on; small business,multi-national, non-profit or government; it is a social system with similarcharacteristics. In our globalized world, a social system is, in other words,a network of stakeholders. Given this, it is important to remember thatevery organization is a social system unto itself which functions withinmultiple other social systems and ever-widening networks of stakeholders.It is in this commonality that we can begin to work towards socialsustainability together.Due to the nature of human interactions, the exact boundaries of eachparticular social system are blurred and will vary from one system toanother. By defining them too narrowly or broadly, one runs the risk ofomitting
 
some stakeholders, either through exclusion or because resourceshave been over-stretched. In order to strike this balance, and encompassthe majority of
 
stakeholders without casting the net too widely, socialsystem boundaries can be seen as an organization or community’s sphereof influence. This model centers on the organization or community andimagines its actions as having effects that radiate outward. The boundariesof any particular ‘sphere’ are set by the extent that tangible effects can beseen as occurring either directly or indirectly as a result of actions,decisions, or policies.
How does this guidebook apply to me?
As every business, community, or NGO is its own social system, thisguidebook focuses on those systems and how they can be shaped towardsgreater social sustainability. It works to demonstrate the nature ofprocesses within a sustainable society and outline how individuals,organizations, and the communities in which they operate can act in orderto make systematic progress towards sustainability.

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