What is sustainability?

The term sustainability originally originates from forestry. It characterized a management principle of 18. Century, which guaranteed the fact that no more woods was fallen than could regenerate in each case. 

1987 the world commission for environment and development published the report ‘Our Common Future ‘ under the lead of the Norwegian Prime Minister at that time Gro Harlem Brundtland. This report defined the term ‘Sustainable development ‘. The German expenditure of this report translated the term with durable development ‘(...)a development, which is able cover the present needs, without blocking at the same time later generations the possibility for the covering their.’[1] 

Since the UN conference for environment and development of 1992 in Rio de Janeiro the three dimensions ecological, economic and social development were brought in connection to the term of sustainability. They are considered as the determining criteria regarding a sustainable development.

What do these three dimensions mean and which attitude can enterprises actually endorse to these dimensions?




[1] Weltkommission für Umwelt und Entwicklung: Unsere gemeinsame Zukunft. Greven 1987, S. 9/10