In 1987 the Brundtland Report, also known as Our Common Future, alerted the world to the urgency of making progress toward economic development that could be sustained without depleting natural resources or harming the environment. Published by an international group of politicians, civil servants and experts on the environment and development, the report provided a key statement on sustainable development, defining it as:
[Development that] meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The Brundtland Report focused primarily on the needs and interests of humans, and was concerned with securing a global equity for future generations by redistributing resources towards poorer nations to encourage their economic growth. It was the wish of the Report that all human beings should be able to achieve their basic needs. The Report also suggested that social equity, economic growth and environmental maintenance are simultaneously possible and that each nation is capable of achieving its full economic potential whilst at the same time enhancing its resource base. However, it recognised that achieving this equity and sustainable growth would require technological and social change.
The Brundtland Report highlighted the three fundamental components of sustainable development, the environment, the economy, and society, and highlighted a number of major proposals for sustainable development:
We should conserve and enhance our resource base, by gradually changing the ways in which we develop and use technologies.
Developing nations must be allowed to meet their basic needs of employment, food, energy, water and sanitation. If this is to be done in a sustainable manner, then there is a definite need for a sustainable level of population.
Economic growth should be revived and developing nations should be allowed a growth of equal quality to the developed nations.