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Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2480-2494;

The Capacity to Endure: Following Nature’s Lead

Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology Program, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, 100 Cheatham Hall, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0321, USA
Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, Austin, TX 78753, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 March 2013 / Revised: 18 May 2013 / Accepted: 27 May 2013 / Published: 6 June 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Business: Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainability)
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Many businesses today are striving to improve their environmental sustainability for a variety of reasons, ranging from consumer demand for “greener” products to potential cost-savings. For many business decision-makers who lack formal environmental training, the process of identifying facets of their organization that can be improved is unclear and challenging. Inspired by the fields of biomimicry, industrial ecology and organizational ecology, this paper draws on the inherent capacity to endure (CTE) of the natural world and recognizes that ecosystem function can be used as a technical advisor to guide business sustainability. We identified major attributes of ecosystems that both contribute to their CTE and can be easily translated into applications for the business world. Each of these attributes (fitness, functional redundancy, keystone species, waste and efficiency) and their applications are discussed at length. While further work is needed to evaluate their effectiveness and appropriateness for individual firms, we hope they can serve as a starting point for businesses seeking to improve their environmental sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability; ecosystem attributes; sustainable business sustainability; ecosystem attributes; sustainable business

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Fogarty, F.; Villamagna, A.; Whitley, A.; Pippins, K. The Capacity to Endure: Following Nature’s Lead. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2480-2494.

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