The Natural Step


The Natural Step (TNS) is a set of simple guidelines for judging whether human activities are “sustainable” or not. It helps organisations and communities of any size to navigate themselves step-by-step onto a sustainable path.

Four simple guidelines provide a systemic and scientifically robust framework to start small (with easy wins) and build rapidly to fast track a winning sustainability agenda:

  1. limit increasing concentrations of substances extracted from the Earth’s crust
  2. limit concentrations of substances produced by society
  3. no systematic physical displacement, over-harvesting, or other forms of ecosystem manipulation
  4. fair and efficient use of resources to meet basic human needs globally.

The Business Case for Sustainability

Major companies like Nike, Panasonic, Ikea, and Interface have adopted this simple framework because it delivers key economic benefits. Communities do it because it delivers a better quality of life, a more engaged population, and resilience in the face of shocks.

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