What is sustainability

What is sustainability

What is meant by Sustainable Development and Sustainability?

In 1987, The World Commission on Environment and Development chaired by the Prime Minister of Norway, Mrs Gro Harlem Brundtland, published a report Our Common Future (The Brundtland Report) which brought the concept of sustainable development onto the international agenda. It also provided the most commonly used definition of sustainable development describing it as:

"Development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs"

This principle has been incorporated in the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties on European Union, as well as in the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), meeting in Rio de Janeiro 3 to 14 June 1992. The European Community and its Member States subscribed to the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 and committed themselves to the rapid implementation of the principal measures agreed at UNCED.

The Bruntland report described seven strategic imperatives for sustainable development: reviving growth; changing the quality of growth; meeting essential needs for jobs, food, energy, water and sanitation; ensuring a sustainable level of population; conserving and enhancing the resource base; reorienting technology and managing risk; merging environment and economics in decision-making.

It also emphasized that the state of our technology and social organization, particularly a lack of integrated social planning, limits the world's ability to meet human needs now and in the future

Principles of Sustainability:

  • Recognize your ability to act sustainably in all you do
  • Play an active role in promoting more sustainable practices
  • Through education, promote a behavioral change which exemplifies sustainable practices
  • Do not compromise the possibilities of future generations through unsustainable activities
  • Encourage consideration of alternative and more sustainable solutions, strategies and perspectives in addressing concepts, problems or issues in business, government and communities.

Guiding steps towards sustainability:

  • Develop an environment which supports human dignity through gender and racial equality and promotes intergenerational respect.
  • Develop honesty and integrity in daily life.
  • Encourage the fair distribution of wealth.
  • Work to strengthen local communities and safeguard the health and safety of all.
  • Commit to maintaining and enhancing the integrity and biodiversity of the natural environment
  • Use natural resources, such as water and land wisely and aim to reduce consumption.
  • Refuse, reduce, reuse, repair and recycle.
  • Where possible buy “green” products, locally produced with reduced packaging.
  • Understand the synergies between advances in technology and behavioral change to achieve sustainability.
  • Encourage ethical business practices.
  • Develop business strategies which promote good corporate governance.
  • Encourage financial success through openness and transparency.