What does ‘Sustainability’ mean? And where does it actually come from? It is THE Buzzword in the beauty industry and other industries and everyone does something; signing up to become a B-Corp, 1% for the Planet, plant a tree – but do these actions mean the brand is truly sustainable? And does this mean a company is sustainable because they invest 1% of their revenue in ‘1% for the Planet’ company? And is sustainable actually natural? Let’s have a look at its history and what sustainability mean.

Where does the term ‘Sustainability’ come from? 

Sustainability is a principle of action for the use of resources. In this principle, a permanent satisfaction of needs is to be guaranteed by preserving the natural regenerative capacity of the systems involved. Especially of living beings and ecosystems. It is the model to achieve balance. Where living beings and ecosystem live in balance and resources are infinite. This principle has been recognised in the corresponding English word sustainable: to sustain in the sense of enduring. In other words: The systems involved can withstand the usage of resource to be used permanently without impacting the environment as long as it is being replenished. The principle was first applied in forestry: In the forest, only as much wood can be felled as long as it is being grown back. When it was recognised in the second half of the 20th century that all raw materials and energy supplies in the world threatened to run out, the use of the term shifted: with all resources needing to be managed in a sustainable way. So that humans do not live beyond the resources reaching a point where the natural resources can no longer be replenished. And we are already starting to see this with countries suffering from drought, dead soil and lack of rainfalls. A sign that humans have disturbed the natural balance and depleted it and not managed it sustainably.

What is the History of the term ‘Sustainability’

In its earlier and colloquial meaning, sustainable as an adjective or in adverbial use indicates that an action has a lasting effect for a long time. [1] Example: The (unregulated) use of resources leads to the loss of resources over a longer period of time. Since the above-mentioned principle of action has the opposite, namely the preservation of resources despite their use, it must be ensured that the colloquial and the added meaning [2] are not free of contradictions.

The term has a complex and multifaceted conceptual history. The word sustainability comes from the verb to sustain, which means “to last or stay for a long time”. Nowadays there are essentially three meanings to be distinguished: [3]

  1. the original meaning “a long-lasting effect”, [1] [4]
  2. the special significance for forest science as a “forestry principle according to which no more wood may be felled than can grow back”, [5]
  3. the modern, comprehensive meaning in the sense of a “principle [s] according to which no more may be consumed than can grow back [or] regenerate [and] be made available again in the future”. [6]

A first-time use of the term sustainability in German in the sense of a long-term responsible use of a resource is proven by Hans Carl von Carlowitz in 1713 in his work Silvicultura oeconomica. [7] Carlowitz asked “how to do [such] conservation and cultivation of the wood / that there is a continuous, permanent and sustainable use / because it is an indispensable thing / without which the land cannot remain in its forge”. [8]

In a dictionary entry from 1910, sustainability is considered a translation of the Latin perpetuitas and is the constant and incessant as well as the uninterrupted, the effective and emphatic or simply the success or the effectiveness of a thing. [10]

UN – GOALS for Sustainable Development 

At the end of September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” at the 2015 World Summit for Sustainable Development. [11] This includes 17 “Sustainable Development Goals”. They are political objectives of the United Nations (UN) to ensure sustainable development on an economic, social and ecological level worldwide [12]. On January 1, 2016, they came into force for a period of 15 years (until 2030). [13] And at NAYA, we measure us and our activities against these UN Goals.

What steps are we taking at NAYA to become sustainable?

At Naya, we have gone through a complete review of our carbon emission. But not only that, as it isn’t simply about how much carbon we are producing, but we also need to look at the resources we are using and if they :

  1. Can integrate back into nature without leaving a footprint?
  2. what are the resource that are required to produce the final end product?

We are trying to look at the process end-to-end and the products afterlife. Only then you can truly call yourself sustainable and take sustainable actions. Otherwise, it is simply another PR-Strategy to tick a box and mislead the customer in believing one is interested as a brand in the health of the planet. Such as the type of companies using Bio-Plastic, talking about ‘wildly collected’ wildly harvested’ and hide behind the range of various badges such as ‘1% for the Planet’, B-Corporate, or organically certified etc.

So what do we do?


Our ingredients

Life is full of tough trade-offs but your beauty routine should not be one of them.

This is why we created NAYA: to provide safely made products whilst giving back and transforming one skin at a time.

COSMOS and Ecocert certified ingredients

Every one of our formulations contain COSMOS and Ecocert certified ingredients that are proven to transform the skin from within. And our unwavering standards don’t stop there; all of our products are developed, produced, packaged, and shipped by methods which minimize their impact on the environment. We obsess over every detail, so you can enjoy the many benefits, and not have to worry about the effect it may have on the planet.

There are no synthetic chemicals or nice-to-haves in our products. We would never include anything we wouldn’t use on ourselves or our loved ones, and we use only what is necessary, to ensure you reap the benefits from each and every (hard-working) ingredient. These exceptional ingredients are why our customers consistently achieve long lasting results.  Our formulations are designed to restore, rebalance and protect the skin whilst boosting the skin’s ability to repair itself, grow healthy cells and combat environmental and internal stressors.

Our relentless search for making each step in the process as sustainable as possible, is another reason why we stand out from our competitors. After getting fed-up with the lack of transparency by  brands in the beauty industry, our founder – Sarah – channelled her frustration into research. It didn’t take long for Sarah’s passion to create efficacious, potent yet truly sustainable products became a reality; NAYA was officially born.

Additional Little Conscious Steps we take to become more sustainable 


The entire range is housed in glass bottles and all other materials are fully recyclable. While glass isn’t the best option and we keep an eye on developments in this space to eventually replace the glass with alternatives. Glass can be recycled a certain amount of time but also you can upcycle the glass bottles. We already have introduced a Refill Service to reduce the wastage once you have fallen in love with the product to reuse the pumps and deliver the product without the box.


The label is made of upcycled marble waste and is biodegradable and water-free. Each product is vegan and cruelty-free. We  also offer a refill service for a handful of products to minimise waste. We are upcycling the stone flour from a stone mill which they see the material as wastage. And we turn the wastage into our biodegradable and beautiful labels.

Marketing Material

All our marketing material is made of recycled paper or grass paper. We are reducing the creation of material and keeping it to a minimum. All our information can be found online or sign up to our newsletter to have access to offers, innovations and information. We wish we could also provide our mailboxes in grass paper. However, unfortunately, as a small business we cannot take up the huge quantities that are required to produce mailboxes out of grass paper in a sustainable manner. If you know of anything, please let us know.

Climate-neutral activities

Furthermore, we have teamed up with The Woodland Trust and Climate Partner as a further commitment to giving back, whilst also reducing carbon emissions. We buy the paper we are using for our packaging from Woodland Trust who manage the forest where the paper is being produced in a sustainable way. So each time a certain amount of paper is being purchased, a tree is being planted. We have gone through a Carbon Assessment with Climate Partner to review our processes and how we can reduce our carbon emissions. The findings have been insightful and we are working to reducing it where we can.

Forest Garden Tierra Radiante

At the heart of what we do. Work sustainably with farmers in the Amazon. We work closely with local partners to achieve our conservation goal of protecting 30-50 hectares of forest in the Amazon.  We have recruited up to 50 new families to adopt an agroforestry approach to grow Cacay and other beautiful plants that are indigenous to Colombia thus providing a sustainable income stream for local communities.

Green Energy

Our HQ is running of 100% green energy as well as our laboratory and production partners. Since joining the Climate Partner we are working with Carbon-neutral certified partners such as our label production company as well as our packaging suppliers.

Finally, we are working on further exciting options and look forward to sharing those soon with you to take further #littleconscioussteps to become even more sustainably-friendly.

Final Words

As a brand, what do you think we can do differently, better or what else can we do to become more sustainable? We value your feedback and feel free to contact us.


  1.  vgl. Duden, 1. Bedeutung
  2. vgl. Duden, 2. Bedeutung
  3. Hochspringen nach:a b c Michael Rödel: Die Invasion der Nachhaltigkeit. Eine linguistische Analyse eines politischen und ökonomischen Modeworts. In: Deutsche Sprache. Band 41, 2013, S. 115–141.
  4. Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm: nachhaltig. In: Deutsches Wörterbuch. Band 13, Hirzel, Leipzig 1869, Spalte 69.
  5. vgl. Duden. Bedeutung 2. a)
  6. vgl. Duden Bedeutung 2. b)
  7. Ulrich Grober: Urtexte – Carlowitz und die Quellen unseres Nachhaltigkeitsbegriffs.In: Natur und Landschaft. Jahrgang 2013, Heft 2, S. 46.
  8. Hans Carl von Carlowitz: Sylvicultura oeconomica. Braun, Leipzig 1713, S. 105.
  9. Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon. 6. Auflage. Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig/ Wien 1909 (zeno.org [abgerufen am 29. August 2019] Lexikoneintrag „André, 3) Emil“).
  10. Wörterbucheintrag Deutsch-Latein zu »nachhaltig«. Karl Ernst Georges: nachhaltig.In: Kleines deutsch-lateinisches Handwörterbuch. Nachdruck. Darmstadt 1999, Spalte 1740 (zuerst Hannover/Leipzig 1910).
  11.  Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung: Agenda 2030 für nachhaltige Entwicklung. Abgerufen am 9. Januar 2020.
  12. Rio+20 Ergebnisdokument „The future we want“ (A/RES/66/288), un.org, abgerufen am 16. Juli 2020.
  13. TST Issues Brief: Conceptual Issues