Every day, our world gets a little bit smaller and a lot more complex. So much so that even minor decisions can have major consequences. And not just for trees or frogs or polar bears, but for human lives. And livelihoods.

This we know: the planet will go on without us. But we cannot go on without it. At its core, sustainability is about people. In order to promote a healthy planet, we must start with a healthy society. Not just sharing the wealth, but redefining the word.

The Living Principles for Design framework is a catalyst for driving positive cultural change. It distills the four streams of sustainability – environment, people, economy, and culture – into a roadmap that is understandable, integrated, and most importantly, actionable. Designers, business leaders, and educators can use The Living Principles to guide every decision, every day.

Introduction Map

Four Streams of Integrated Sustainability1


Actions and issues that affect natural systems, including climate change, preservation, carbon footprint and restoration of natural resources.


Actions and issues that affect all aspects of society, including poverty, violence, injustice, education, healthcare, safe housing, labor and human rights.


Actions and issues that affect how people and organizations meet their basic needs, evolve and define economic success and growth.


Actions and issues that affect how communities manifest identity, preserve and cultivate traditions, and develop belief systems and commonly accepted values.

1 Adapted from Adam Werbach, Strategy for Sustainability

Next: Roadmap