The most quoted definition of sustainable development is that of the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987): ‘Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’
Testing developments against sustainability involves the passing on of adverse impacts to other people, elsewhere or in the future; and including other groups to the profits of a development (inclusive growth).
Many authors have made lists of aspects of development that help in assessing its sustainability. Such lists usually are based on ‘people, planet, profit’ (or ‘social justice, healthy ecosystems, and growth of the economy’).
Sustainable development is about future generations.