As the world faces the unavoidable impacts of climate change and with the global population likely to reach 11 billion by the end of the century, the importance of sustainable development has become more apparent than ever.
Defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development’s (the Brundtland Commission) report, Our Common Future (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), sustainable development "is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:
the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs." [source]