This means the use of a regenerable system in such a way that its essential characteristics are preserved and its stock can be regenerated in a natural way. Through ecological sustainability, nature and the environment should be preserved for future generations. This includes the preservation of biodiversity (variety of species), climate protection, the maintenance of cultural and landscape areas in their original form as well as a careful and environmentally friendly use of the natural environment. Ideally, sustainability should relate to ecological, economic and social aspects.
The principle of sustainability was first formulated in writing in 1713 by Hans Carl von Carlowitz (1645-1714), an electoral Saxon chamber and mountain councillor. The German philosopher Konrad Ott (*1959) formulated it as follows: "Regenerative living resources may only be used to the extent that stocks naturally grow back". The international debate on development and environmental policy was significantly influenced by the World Commission on Environment and Development, which was established by the UN in 1983. Sustainability is a principle of action for the use of resources, in which the long-term satisfaction of needs is to be ensured by preserving the natural regenerative capacity of the systems involved (above all of living organisms and ecosystems). In a comprehensive sense, sustainability means extending human action not only to intergenerational justice but also to global justice.