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A common definition of sustainability traces back to a 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development report entitled, Our Common Future, which defines sustainability as follows:

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Another popular view of sustainability consists of the overlap of three "pillars" of sustainability that must be considered in concert: Ecological factors, social factors, and economic factors.

Image created by Andrew Sunray, based on "File:Sustainable development.svg" by Johann Dréo. Date=2009-02-18. Reproduced under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license.