Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 October 2021
Quickly, the term ‘sustainable development’ was spread worldwide and became fashionable. The original objective of the Brundtland Report – to show that developing States could strive for economic development, but were not obliged to sacrifice their environmental assets to that development – was soon set aside. ‘Sustainable development’ was declared to be a political orientation based on three pillars, economic development, social progress and environmental protection. This led first to the suggestion that progress should be achieved in all three sectors, economy, social issues and environmental protection. Economic operators then tried to interpret the concept in the sense that measures in one sector should only be allowed when they satisfied the needs of the other two sectors. In practice, this was aimed at the environmental sector, where protection measures were only possible where they contributed to economic growth and the creation of jobs; in contrast, it was not considered necessary that measures to stimulate economic development – trade agreements, tax reliefs, investment programs and many others – were also beneficial for the environment.