What is sustainability? Every day it is becoming more and more difficult to define it, due to the excessive misuse of the word. As the founder of Patagonia declares in his book ‘Let My People Go Surfing‘: “The word sustainable, as gourmet and adventure, is part of those words that have been misused so many times that they have lost any real meaning. Sometimes sustainable development can be everything, apart from sustainable.”
The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainability as: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. For sustainable development to be achieved, it is crucial to harmonize three core elements: economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection. […] To this end, there must be the promotion of sustainable, inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities, raising basic standards of living, fostering equitable social development and inclusion, and promoting integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems.”
In the charter for the UCLA Sustainability Committee, it is likewise defined as: “The physical development and institutional operating practices that meet the needs of present users without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, particularly with regard to use and waste of natural resources. Sustainable practices support ecological, human, and economic health and vitality. Sustainability presumes that resources are finite and should be used conservatively and wisely with a view to long-term priorities and consequences of the ways in which resources are used.”
According to Maria Teresa Pisani, in the book Fashion Industry 2030, in the Garment and Footwear (GF) industry, sustainability takes into account the environmental, health, human rights and socio- economic impacts, and their continuous improvement through all stages of the product’s life cycle (design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of parts and components).
In conclusion, sustainability implies responsible behaviors towards future generations to create an added value and to preserve the Earth and human rights.