What does “sustainability“ mean?

Sustainability means the shaping of a system in such a way that it can permanently persist. The most widespread definition of sustainaibility was formulated in 1987 by the so-called Brundtland Commission: “Sustainable development is a development, which satisfies the needs of the present generation, without restricting the possibility of generations to come to satisfy their own needs and choose their lifestyle.” (Brundtland Report, 1987).

The UN Commission emphasizes in this definition intra- and intergenerational justice, which adheres to the concept of sustainability: On the one hand the distribution between presently living generations as a balance between the people, mainly related to the distribution between global North and global South. On the other, the balance between presently living and future generations, i.e. the obligation to stand for the conservation of the environment and the stability of society on behalf of the children and the children’s children.



Ecology and sustainability

Treating nature in such a way that all people can live in a clean environment

Ecology is the dimension which receives the strongest attention in political discussion. The central problem area in ecological sustainability is climate change, which designates global warming caused by man. Sustainability relative to ecology means to choose a treatment of nature, which safeguards an intact (clean) environment for all people on Earth.


Social metabolism

The so-called “social metabolism” is the starting point of assessing ecological sustainability. Social metabolism views the Earth as a limited system of a closed-substance global ecosystem. On account of an increasing consumption of resources by man, increasingly environmental problems arise, such as climate change, hole in the ozone layer, loss of biodiversity, erosion, desertification as well as contamination of soil, water, and air.


The ecological ...mehr


Social Production and ecology

Efficient treatment of resources, employment and stability

A sustainable type of economy is closely related to the two remaining dimensions. Economic sustainability is linked to the ecological dimension, for instance with respect to saving resources and energy, as well as to the social dimension, for instance through creation and safeguarding of jobs.

As a result, efficiency and stability are two crucial terms, which describe the nature of sustainable economic activity.


Sustainability and enterprises

On a micro-economic level, enterprises are the organizational units for an implementation of sustainable strategies. Sustainable economic activity is related to:

  • Mobility: transport of goods, business trips, sustainable vehicle fleet management etc.
  • Consumption of resources: sustainable production, technical innovation, quality
  • Work: new models of working hours, CSR, integration of disadvantaged persons
  • Products: quality rather ...mehr

Social affairs and sustainability

Fair distribution and equality of opportunities as a basis for a good quality of life

The social dimension of sustainability is most difficult to comprehend, and therefore it is quite often underexposed in the discussion about a sustainable future. The reasons for this are, amongst others, the interrelation between distinct (scientific) disciplines and the social dimension, and the difficulties to quantify the social dimension. Therefore, up to now there is no clear concept of social sustainability, and broad acceptance is lacking as well.


Dignified life, distribution and equality of opportunities

Social sustainability aims at a dignified life, i.e. on the distribution of social burdens, on role allocation, on distribution of work / countermeasures against unemployment, and equality of opportunities. Its focus is directed on dignified existence, which meets material and immaterial basic needs. The topic of “work“ plays a crucial role: paid labor facilitates material participation ...mehr


Nachhaltigkeit: 14.Nov.2012 Teilen Share on Google+