In this paper, we show how various authors have discussed the idea of sustainability and linked it to ethics and ethical behaviour. We further show that ideas of sustainability are closely linked to the notion of sameness through time. We discuss sameness in an object-predicate framework and show that in this context, it requires selecting clear criteria, with behaviours adopted to meet those criteria. An important insight from the object-predicate framework is that selection of the criteria for sameness is shown to rest entirely on the value judgements of those making the selection. We provide a detailed example that demonstrates this, and argue that given the prominence of value judgements in assessments of sameness (and in this sense, of sustainability), ethics are unavoidably at its foundation. Examining ideas of sustainability in this way may provide insights into how we might become better able to meet the conception of sustainable development articulated in the Brundtland Report.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Ethics, Intergenerational responsibility, Sustainability/
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJBGE.2017.086471
Journal International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics
Citation
McIntyre, M, Caputo, T, & Murphy, S.A. (S. A.). (2017). The inescapably ethical foundation of sustainability. International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, 12(2), 127–150. doi:10.1504/IJBGE.2017.086471