What is sustainability: definition, types, importance and goals

Sustainability is a guiding principle aimed at utilizing natural resources in a manner that doesn’t compromise the ability of future...

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What is sustainability: definition, types, importance and goals

Sustainability is a guiding principle aimed at utilizing natural resources in a manner that doesn’t compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

The notion of sustainability extends beyond mere environmental conservation, encapsulating social and economic dimensions as well.

Given its prominence today, this post delves into its definition, types, and goals to be achieved. 

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is a broad concept referring to the ability to maintain or sustain something over time without causing harm or depleting resources.

Generally, it applies to various domains, including the environment, economy, and society.

What is sustainability: definition, types, importance and goals

Why is sustainability important?

Sustainability is pivotal for several reasons, ranging from environmental protection to promoting social equity and economic stability. Here are some key points regarding the importance of sustainability:

  • Environmental preservation: Sustainability ensures responsible usage of natural resources like water, forests, and minerals to prevent their depletion. Sustainable practices, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and employing renewable energy, are vital in combating climate change.
  • Sustainable economic development: A sustainable approach can lead to stable and enduring economic growth by fostering innovation and efficiency. It can generate new job opportunities, for instance, in the renewable energy and clean technology sectors.
  • Equity and social justice: Social sustainability aims to enhance the quality of life for all, including access to basic services like health and education. It advocates for equity and inclusion, striving to lessen social and economic disparities.
  • Resilience and adaptation: Sustainability aids in building more resilient societies and economic systems capable of adapting to future challenges, like natural disasters or economic crises.
  • Legacy for future generations: According to the principle of sustainable development, it’s crucial to meet the present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
  • Awareness and education: Sustainability also promotes greater awareness and education about human impacts on the world, potentially leading to long-term positive behavioral changes.

Collectively, sustainability is not only a means to preserve the planet but also a pathway towards a more equitable society and economically stable world. 

Types of sustainability

Here are some key aspects of sustainability in different contexts as mentioned earlier. 

Environmental sustainability

Environmental sustainability focuses on the responsible conservation and management of natural resources to ensure their availability for future generations.

It seeks to mitigate human impact on the environment, including pollution reduction and promotion of eco-friendly practices like recycling and using renewable energy. 

Economic sustainability

Economic sustainability entails creating a stable and prosperous economic system that can endure over time.

It aims to promote equity and inclusion, as well as the development of technologies and practices contributing to environmental and social sustainability.

Social sustainability

Social sustainability pertains to promoting equity, social justice, and human well-being.

It involves creating conditions that enable people to meet their basic needs and enjoy a good quality of life.


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Sustainable development

Sustainable development is an approach seeking to balance environmental, economic, and social sustainability.

It was first defined in the 1987 Brundtland Report as development that meets the present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

Sustainability Indicators

These are tools that help measure and evaluate progress towards sustainability across different domains.

Some examples include ecological footprint, carbon footprint, and sustainable development indices.

Sustainability is a critical objective to tackle present and future challenges like climate change and social inequality.

Adopting sustainable practices can contribute to creating a fairer, healthier, and more habitable world for all. 

What are the goals of sustainability?

What are the goals of sustainability?

Sustainability goals are oriented towards creating a balance between human needs and the planet’s ability to fulfill them, both now and in the future.

While specific goals might vary based on context and approach, here are some general and specific goals often associated with sustainability:

  1. Natural resource conservation: Ensuring responsible and sustainable use of natural resources like water, land, and forests.
  2. Pollution and greenhouse gas emissions reduction: Minimizing air, water, and soil pollution, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change.
  3. Promotion of renewable energies and energy efficiency: Encouraging the use of clean and renewable energy sources, and promoting energy efficiency across all sectors.
  4. Development of sustainable technologies: Incentivizing innovation and development of technologies contributing to environmental and economic sustainability.
  5. Biodiversity conservation: Protecting and restoring biodiversity and natural ecosystems.
  6. Fulfillment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Working towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, encompassing a wide range of social, economic, and environmental issues.
  7. Community participation and collaboration: Encouraging active participation and collaboration among different sectors of society in promoting and implementing sustainable practices.

These objectives reflect a commitment towards creating a more sustainable future, where people can live in harmony with the environment and enjoy a good quality of life.

What is sustainable technology?

Sustainable technology refers to the application of techniques, processes, and technical systems that aim to minimize negative impact on the environment and promote sustainability in all areas.

Software and electronic devices can also participate in these processes. An example is the SMOWL proctoring plans. A monitoring system that allows access to education while avoiding unnecessary travel and paper usage, thus enhancing one of the sustainable objectives discussed in this article.
If you want to know how our software works, you can request a free demo and experience how this type of sustainable technology can help your institution.


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