Sustainability | American University of Sharjah

What is SUSTAINABILITY?

“On land and in the sea, our forefathers lived and survived in this environment. They were able to do so because they recognized the need to conserve it, to take from it only what they needed to live, and to preserve it for succeeding generations.”

His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may his soul rest in peace

It is our honor to continue the vision and legacy of the founding father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Drawing on the valuable lessons of the past, while embracing progress, Sheikh Zayed placed great value in the importance of pursuing development in line with both the needs of present and future generations. Sheikh Zayed’s vision was driven by a passionate belief in leading by example, and this was a key essence behind his progressive socioeconomic, sustainable development and humanitarian vision.

The most widely used definition for sustainability originated in 1987, when the UN’s World Commission for Environment and Development, chaired by former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and thus referred to as the Brundtland Commission, published the report Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report. The report defined the principle of sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The publication of the report is considered a milestone in triggering international awareness and discourse on the importance of global sustainable development.

Today, the three pillars of sustainability have become ubiquitous: economic viability, environmental protection and social equity. This systematic definition stresses that if any one pillar is weak then the system as a whole is unsustainable. These three pillars are also referred to as “People, Planet and Profits" or “The Triple Bottom Line."

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