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G269
The Natural Step Sustainability Framework

Jim Newton, P.E., DEE

In recent years sustainability has gained significant momentum. Many large corporations such as Nike, Wal-Mart, and McDonald’s are embracing the concepts of sustainability. Both large corporations and small non profits all are seeing benefits to incorporating sustainability concerns into their business models. Many businesses have become sensitive to social and stakeholder issues. Dr. Karl Henrik Robert formulated with the help of over 100 Swedish scientists, four system conditions of a sustainable society.

These include:

  • Nature is not subject to systematically increasing concentrations of substances extracted from the Earth’s crust;
  • Nature is not subject to systematically increasing concentrations of substances produced by society;
  • Nature is not subject to systematically increasing degradation by physical means; and
  • People are not subject to conditions that systematically undermine their capacity to meet their needs.


  • This course is designed to provide engineering professionals with an understanding of The Natural Step sustainability concepts and a means of implementing these concepts into their business models.

    In this course, you are required to study the book The Natural Step Towards a Sustainable Society by David Cook, which is available in your local library or from Amazon.com, Borders, or Barnes and Nobles. You may be able to find an electronic version from e-bookstores on the Internet if time is of essence (enter search phrase "The Natural Step Towards a Sustainable Society PDF" in Google) or as a Kindle version from Amazon.

    This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.


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    NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.

    AIA Members: You must take the courses listed under the category "AIA/CES Registered Courses" if you want us to report your Learning Units (LUs) to AIA/CES. If you take courses not registered with AIA/CES, you need to report the earned Learning Units (not qualified for HSW credits) using Self Report Form provided by AIA/CES.

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