As a consumer, you can really put your money where your mouth is. This means that understanding what sustainability means is crucial to making the best choices for the future of the planet.

The word ‘sustainability’ has become a popular buzzword used across a range of industries - but, what does it really mean? While you may understand it to mean something is greener and environmentally friendly it can actually mean a lot more than this.

What does sustainability really mean?

Sustainability is the concept of being able to sustain an activity without running out of resources. If resources are infinite and the activity can go on forever then it is sustainable, if resources are finite and there’s an endpoint then it isn’t.

For example, companies may power their manufacturing with fossil fuels like coal or oil, This is not sustainable because these non-renewable sources are finite. An alternative would be to power manufacturing by hydropower. Energy from water is a renewable energy source, and therefore, more sustainable.

Choices that can go on forever without causing harm on the planet are therefore sustainable ones for Planet Earth whether this is in manufacturing processes, materials used, packaging options or shipping choices.

A Quick History of Sustainability

History shows lots of examples of different groups trying to create more sustainable processes just like we are trying to at Wave today. 

However, the world’s environmental crisis has urged a much bigger focus on sustainability in the last 50 years. So, let’s take a whistlestop tour of some of the most important sustainability milestones during this time.

1987 - the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 

1992 - the Earth Summit – the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was the biggest gathering of government officials with 178 government officials attending, which resulted in a lot of emerging ideas for climate change.

1997 - The Kyoto Protocol - an international agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions began to be adopted

2000s - A culture change happened during this time. Countries across the globe began thinking more about sustainability in business, finance, trade, and economic terms.

2015 - The Paris Agreement - governments worldwide committed to limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. 

2016 - The Sustainable Development Goals, the framework countries across the world are to aim for to achieve sustainability, were created. These are 17 goals that cover poverty, climate change, equality and collaboration for a more sustainable world in every aspect.

The Core Principles of Sustainability

So, what does sustainability mean today? That’s not a straightforward answer but we can break it down into key core principles that are easier to understand.


Taking responsibility to reduce the impact of human activity on nature, conserving wildlife and its habitats and making sure we consider saving as much of the planet’s materials as possible.


Essentially - this is making sure we’re being fair, sharing resources evenly, promoting inclusivity and prioritising equality across everyone.


Creating economic growth that has longevity. Making sure businesses are following sustainable practices, being responsible with production and consuming less.


Making ethical choices and decisions whether this is globally, nationally or individually all decisions must be made with good intentions.

Who is responsible for sustainability?

But isn’t all of this just important to the big powers of the world? Actually, no. Sustainability should be a priority for everyone around the world if we’re hoping to make the positive impact needed for a greener future.


At Wave, we truly believe it’s the small changes that add up to make a big difference. Through daily choices and behaviours, individuals can take responsibility for their contribution to a more sustainable future and adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle right at home.


Businesses like ourselves are key in sparking the right conversations for promoting sustainability. But what’s even more important is businesses doing what they say and operating as sustainably as possible. In 2020, businesses accounted for 18% of UK greenhouse gas emissions [ONS], so they must get sustainability right.


Sustainable regulations and policies can only be put in place by Governments. They can offer incentivisation and even penalties for populations to conserve nature and reduce carbon emissions. 


Finally, it’s you. The one deciding between a short-term use plastic phone case or a biodegradable phone case like ours. In a world where money is power and those who spend it can drive trends and demand, consumers must opt for more sustainable choices. Small everyday choices make a big difference to how the world operates.

Learn more about how Wave Case are committed to sustainability as a business and take responsibility with us for making a brighter future for our planet.
February 13, 2024 — Wave Case