Are There Any Differences Between Green And Sustainable?

Roman Zenon Dawidowicz

“Go green”, “Be green”, “Eco-friendly”, “Sustainable” are buzzwords flying around for years now. As consumers, governments and organisations become more conscious of their environment and strive to reduce pollution, thereby saving the planet earth.

That is why these terms have become commonplace among environmentalists, marketers or businesses. As these words are being used interchangeably, it becomes more confusing to recognize the differences between them.

While these concepts are closely related, they are not synonymous. Roman Zenon Dawidowicz delves into these terms bringing out their differences for better understanding by individuals, businesses, and societies aspiring to make a positive impact on our planet.


“Green” over the years has gone beyond simply being a colour. Green is now a symbol of respect for the planet. It is a way to demonstrate those who choose to live on the earth in an earthy way. That is why it is not surprising to see businesses and organisations who are keen to display their “green” credibility.

The term “green” refers to practices, products, or activities that are environmentally friendly or have a lower negative impact on the environment and human health. This concept is primarily focused on reducing the ecological footprint of specific actions or outcomes.

‘From buildings to petroleum to fashion, being green has become the norm as people seek to use the natural resources the earth blessed us with in an unharmful way. For instance, a green product might be made from recycled materials or manufactured using renewable energy sources, thus minimizing its carbon footprint and resource consumption,” Roman Zenon Dawidowicz explains.

Everyone of us has a role to play in the environment and another way is to reduce the amount of resources being used. You can use reusable bags, fix leaky faucets to avoid wastage of water and many more.

The aim is to become more environmentally aware and change your behaviour and lifestyle to reduce the amount of pollution and waste you generate, Roman Zenon Dawidowicz adds.

Limitations of Green Initiatives

While commendable, green initiatives often address immediate or short-term solutions to mitigate environmental harm. They may overlook the broader, long-term implications of our actions and the interconnectedness of various factors that contribute to sustainability.


Sustainability, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive approach that considers not only environmental but also economic and social aspects. It is rooted in the principle of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable is a concept often referred to as the “triple bottom line”, that is the balance between environmental protection, economic growth, and social equity. A good example is embracing solar such as solar, wind, and hydro power which can help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

Farmers can also be sustainable through practices that protect the environment and conserve resources, such as organic farming, crop rotation, and water conservation.

Life Cycle

Whether its a product, services or activity, sustainability focuses on the entire life cycle which is called a cradle-to-grave approach. Unlike green initiatives that primarily focus on specific stages of a product or process, such as manufacturing or disposal, sustainability considers the entire life cycle.

It involves being responsible when sourcing raw materials, utilizing ethical production methods, ensuring fair labour practices, and effective management of end-of-life disposal or recycling.

This cradle-to-grave approach ensures that every step along the way aligns with the principles of environmental stewardship, economic viability, and social responsibility.

The Mindset Shift

Achieving true sustainability requires a shift in mindset and it’s about you recognizing that your actions carry far-reaching consequences. It demands a long-term perspective and a willingness to invest in regenerative practices that replenish and restore rather than deplete our natural resources. Sustainable systems are designed to be self-sustaining, minimizing waste and maximizing the efficient use of renewable resources.

An Illustrative Example

To illustrate the difference, consider the example of a clothing company. A green approach might involve using organic cotton and implementing energy-efficient production processes.

While these efforts are commendable, a truly sustainable approach would go further by ensuring fair labour practices throughout the supply chain, exploring circular economy models for garment recycling, and investing in community development programs in the regions where the company operates.

The Collaborative Effort

Sustainability is undoubtedly a complex and multifaceted endeavours, requiring collaboration among diverse stakeholders, including businesses, governments, civil society organisations, and individuals. It necessitates a shift towards ethical and responsible business practices, stakeholder engagement, and a commitment to transparency and accountability.

Upfront Investments for Long-term Benefits

Although sustainability often requires huge upfront investments and a willingness to embrace innovative solutions that may initially seem financially challenging. However, the long-term benefits of sustainable practices cannot be overstated. It promotes brand reputation, gives a competitive edge that sets you out amidst the pack, and sets you up for success. Sustainability can be more costly than green.

The Way Forward

 While green practices are commendable and often serve as stepping stones towards sustainability, they alone are insufficient to address environmental, economic, and social challenges we face.

“True sustainability demands a holistic and integrated approach that unites our relationship with the planet’s natural systems, ensures economic prosperity for all, and fosters social equity and human well-being. The best thing to do to the planet we live in is to make it sustainable,” Roman Zenon Dawidowicz concludes.

What do you think?

Written by Roman Zenon Dawidowicz

Roman Zenon Dawidowicz is an Intermediate Mandarin speaker with Taiwanese qualifications and over 12 years of experience in the grain and oilseeds physical markets in a global origin/destination. Looking for business, procurement and business development, job opportunities within Switzerland, Dubai and Asia.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


form 990

Navigating Form 990 Compliance – A Guide for Nonprofits

children palying in the playground

Design the Perfect Playground for Every Child’s Needs