Whatever you do these days, you can’t run away from practising sustainable development directly or indirectly. Despite the rise in the usage and popularity of this term, many people don’t know what is sustainable development. The main reason for this is because academics and policymakers are the ones who frequently use the term. And, the divergence in its usage cut across many fields, which makes its definition difficult.
Still, a number of businesspeople and individuals don’t really get the meaning of this term. This really brings us to the objectives of this article. This post is to bring the term into everyone’s language. Additionally, to make everyone has a meaningful understanding of the concept. Therefore, the explanation starts from the Brundtland and to the more recent definitions.
Brundtland Report definition
First, the most commonly used definition of sustainable development is the Brundtland Report. It is a United Nations’ Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future published in 1987.
The report defines the term as “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The Brundtland Report, 1989.
This report’s definition is the basic reference for understanding the term. However, a number of development analysts are of the opinion that the definition is too broad for practice. Consequently, many definitions according to the demands of different field of development are unfolding over the years.
Download the report: [wpdm_package id=’2075′]
Long before the Brundtland definition, however, sustainable development had been viewed by many scholars and environmental activists. Before the further discussion on sustainable development, we will explain development, first.
What is development
It is as a multi-dimensional process that involves major changes in social structures, attitudes, and institutions, as well as economic growth, reduction of inequality, and eradication of absolute poverty.Todaro and Smith (2006)
Thus, the above definition sees the concept as improvement in the quality of life enjoyed in society. Also, it points to the fact that development does not necessarily mean physical growth or development. Rather, it sees it as all-encompassing elements of human and material well-being.
Furthermore, it is
…a social condition within a nation, in which the needs of its population are satisfied by the rational and sustainable use of natural resources and systems.Du Pisani (2006)
Again, development is seen as social wellness in addition to natural resources management that ensures environmental sustainability. Besides these definitions, development experts discuss the term in different perspectives embodied in theories. Development theories try to figure out how to attain state development in a country or region or try to know why some nations fail to attain inclusive growth. Generally, development theories are modernisation theory, the world system theory and the globalisation theory.