THEMATIC SECTION - Editorial: Social Sustainability: An Ambiguous Concept, Areas of Tension and Ways Forward

Monica Budowski, Daniel Künzler

The 50th anniversary of the Club of Rome report on The Limits of Growth is a good opportunity to think about what sustainability and particularly social sus-tainability mean. The introduction contextualizes the concerns that came up when the report was written by presenting some influential texts of the time. Some ideas of the way the social world is connected to the environment were formulated in the Club of Rome executive committee’s commentary at the end of the scientific report, yet they were not further pursued. The report was contested by the Bariloche coun-termodel of Latin American researchers. These scholars included issues of power, dependent development, exploitation, poverty, and social justice into their model. It was the approach of the Brundtland Report that popularized the concept of sus-tainability with its three dimensions (ecological, economic, and social). However, the concept of social sustainability has remained vague. Two perspectives are dis-cussed: the dependency of the social world on the natural environment and sus-tainability of the social world. This editorial concludes with a presentation of most recent publications that understand social sustainability as a transformation of society towards sustainability integrating all three dimensions.

Keywords: social sustainability, sustainable development, Brundtland Report, Club of Rome report

Vol. 1/2022 - Article 1.1


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