The term “sustainability” was first introduced by the report “Our Common Future” issued by World Commission on Environment and Development working under the United Nations in 1987.


The report which was intended to work towards solutions for the problems caused by rapid industrialization and population growth served as a warning about the negative consequences of economic growth and globalization on environment. The most important factor having a role in the wide adoption of the report and the implementation of sustainability was the man-made depletion of ozone layer over Antarctica, which was first discovered in 1984.

As quoted from in the report, “sustainability” is defined as: “Humanity is able to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs too.” Although, at this point, there is a common consensus that the world resources and environment is approaching towards the limit of depletion due to human activity, the wide opinion is that sustainability could only be ensured by the use of resources offered by the nature at a pace that would allow them to be renewed.

What are the components of sustainability?

Even the first thing that spring to mind when the question “What is sustainability?” is asked isthe protection of environment, the term “sustainably” is in fact a holistic approach which integrates ecological, economic and social aspects.

Sustainability has three key components. They are protection of environment, economic growth and social development. They must be managed in a balanced manner to ensure sustainability.

When all these components function together in coherence, the potential of meeting human needs now and in future, improves which, in turn, ensures sustainable development.  According to sustainable development principles, society must not, over time, allow the reduction of prosperity.