What is sustainability?

The term "sustainability" originates from the forestry sector: by only felling as many trees as can grow back, you ensure that the forest can continue to be used in the future and that its value is preserved over the long term. In other words: sustainability means living off the interest rather than the capital. Sustainability means preserving essential natural resources, promoting economic growth by better protecting the environment and using innovative technologies whilst safeguarding prosperity and social progress.

Sustainability is a crosscutting issue which connects the responsibility for those alive today with the responsibility for future generations - because every generation has to solve its own problems rather than offloading them onto future generations. This basic rule was set out as far back as 1987 in the report by the World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission) “Our common future”: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This aim can only be achieved if every single one of us becomes active.