Brundtland Commission report published ‘Our Common Future, was published by Oxford ‘University Press in 1987defined the differences between sustainability and sustainable development:
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Accordingly SD a pattern of resource use that preserves the environment but meets human needs now and in the future. It about striking a balance between economic and social aspirations and the environmental limits to growth. It suggests modes of operation that can be maintained indefinably. It encompasses notions of diversity and replenishment and at its simplest can be regarded as a form of human that can be maintained within a self replenishing contxt.
The terms ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’ are increasingly becoming part of our everyday language, but even those well informed on the subject sometimes have difficulty articulating what they mean. It’s really not that difficult. Sustainability is the destination, an end-state, and sustainable development is a means of getting there. It’s all about striking the right balance when making decisions, ensuring that our economic and social aspirations are achieved within environmental limits.
Put simply, it’s about leaving the world in a better condition than we found it in.