From droughts to food shortages to deforestation, it is clear that our natural resources are being increasingly stretched to satisfy the needs and demands of a rising world population—a course that is becoming increasingly unsustainable. While reconfiguring the way we use our resources is a complex challenge, one thing is for certain: any set of systemic solutions to make worldwide consumption more sustainable will hinge on countries, communities, and individuals developing a new understanding of the value of natural resources and the real cost associated with using them.
On September 2, The Atlantic convened a roundtable discussion of leaders across industry, academia, and the press to discuss the challenges impacting global sustainability efforts. Attendees discussed the ways in which increasing energy demands, the effects of climate change, and the competition for scarce resources mean that sustainability is not just a moral good to be pursued—it is a necessity for any profit-seeking company. The conversation also focused on the different means by which companies and individuals can promote sustainability from production through consumption.