Topic 1 Theoretical information & background on social and environmental sustainability

Sustainable development consists of 3 fundamental pillars:

Social sustainability

Environmental sustainability

Economic sustainability

Note: the first two pillars, social and environmental sustainability, will be analyzed due to their relevance to the module’s topic.

1. Social sustainability is a threefold concept comprising:

(a) development sustainability – basic needs, the creation of social capital, justice.

(b) bridge sustainability – behaviour changes so as to achieve bio-physical environmental goals.

(c) maintenance sustainability – preservation of sociocultural characteristics in the face of change and the ways that  people react to change.

It is multidimensional term in constant relation and interaction with society and social policy, urban development, company and organisation performance, product design and lifecycle.

Social sustainability is usually presented to conduct a twofold role:

  •  baseline for the other pillars of sustainability e.g. plays a leading part on the formulation of social capital required for economic and environmental development,
  • causal mechanism of environmental and economic change à stimulus for economic and environmental progress.

Social Sustainability is a fluid and constantly developing field, that has arisen along with the environmental awareness since the last decades. 

2. Understanding Environmental Sustainability

Key elements/ benefits:

protection of ecosystem,

protection of endangered species,

reduction of pollution in the cities  better respiratory health for all,

effects reversion of global warming,

quality of live improvement.

  • Environmental sustainability is a contemporary growing trend to improve the quality of human life without putting unnecessary strain on the earth’s supporting ecosystems.
  • Environmental sustainability focuses on creating an equilibrium between consumerist human culture and the living world.