Sustainable Development is best defined in a report generated by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development of 1987, also known as the Brundtland Commission. The commission defined sustainable development as "a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. Sustainable development meets the needs of compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". As is obvious, a sustainable approach is not mere growth at any cost, because growth at any cost is not sustainable. Responsible growth is needed to sustain the coming improvements in human welfare--in consumption, in health, in human skills, and in social equity (World Bank 2004). As concerns about environmental protection, natural resource stewardship, and the world's ability to feed its ever-growing population continue to mount, the sustainability of agriculture and natural resources is emerging as a central theme among the public and policymakers alike (Board on Agriculture Staff 1991). Accordingly, there is a growing demand for ecological informatics in business systems processes, including industrial, logistical, and supply chain systems; this is also the aim of the corporate sustainability reporting. Though informatics is rather new in the field of ecological science, representing a computational approach to ecosystems analysis, synthesis, and forecasting, it provides a wide range of methods to support ecological investigations (Recknagel 2003).
Social, ecological, and economical dimensions have been the three keys to sustainable development, as illustrated in Figure 1.
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1. 1. Sustainable development
Sustainable development has evolved over the past two decades as a new way of approaching the environment and its relationship to everything else we care about as a society (Dernbach 2001). It is a dynamic process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are made consistent with future as well as present needs (Rogers et al. 2007). The concept of sustainability explores the relationships among economic development, environmental quality, and social equity. This concept has been evolving since 1972, when the international community first explored the connection between quality of life and environmental quality at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm (Rogers et al. 2007). Sustainable development first began to attract significant international attention when it was endorsed in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development. According to the commission's report, Our Common Future, "sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" This one-sentence explanation, though only a start, has been widely quoted since then as the definitive statement of what sustainable development means (Dernbach 2001). Since then, numerous studies have been done addressing the sustainability, as more recent studies on sustainability issue one might refer to Baltrenas, Kazlauskiene (2009); Burinskiene (2009); Burinskiene, Rudzkiene (2009); Ciegis, Ramanauskiene (2009); Dzemydiene, Maskeliunas et al. (2009); Kaklauskas et al. (2009); Kavaliauskas (2008); Kaziliunas (2008); Kurlavicius (2009); McDonald et al. (2009); Paulauskas, S., Paulauskas, A. (2008).
Sustainable development has three dimensions: economical, environmental, and social. It is critical that each component be given equal attention in order to ensure a sustainable outcome. This balance becomes obvious when each component is examined individually (Rogers et al. …