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What is Sustainable Development?

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development 1987)

The United Nations' World Commission on Environment and Development published a report on the health of the global community. The report highlighted the inter-dependence between the environment and economic development. It coined the definition quoted here, which is repeated widely in books and pamphlets on the subject of 'sustainability'.

The property industry is defined as all those who produce, develop, plan, design, build, alter, or maintain the built environment, and includes building materials manufacturers and suppliers as well as clients and end use occupiers.

A sustainable property industry will balance environmental, social and economic issues to ensure a viable and valuable industry for future generations.

Buildings account for one-sixth of the world's fresh water withdrawals, one-quarter of its wood harvest, and two-fifths of its material and energy flows. (Roodman and Lenssen, 1995).

Building green is an opportunity to use resources efficiently while creating healthier buildings that improve occupant health and well-being.