Sustainability is an all-encompassing term which refers to actions that meet the needs of the present without compromising the quality of life of future generations.
Sustainability and sustainable development ensure that we do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their social, economic, environmental and cultural needs. It involves a wide range of differing areas of expertise and research which includes ecological, social and economic factors.
In Wales sustainability is important because of the value of its environment to industries including tourism and farming, and the health and social deprivation issues linked to its industrial past. The National Assembly for Wales remains the world’s only parliamentary body with a specific statutory duty to promote sustainable development in the exercise of all its functions.
Sustainability research at Cardiff University covers the three key areas. For example, regarding ecology, research by the School of Architecture’s Centre for Research in the Built Environment is focused on developing effective and sustainable building design. Research by the School of Engineering’s Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environmental Management is examining new measures to minimise the dangerous effects of nuclear waste, as well as improving waste water quality and the environmental impact of solid and liquid waste management.
In social sustainability, the Cardiff Institute for Society, Health and Ethics (a joint venture between the Schools of Law and Social Sciences) is working with the School of City and Regional Planning on community development and social inclusion research which aims to produce specific measures to tackle poverty, poor health, and the consequences of disadvantage.
Research by Cardiff University is also focused on economic sustainability. The Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society - a joint project between the Business School, School of City and Regional Planning and Law School- is leading research into the relationships between businesses and their stakeholders to explore new and more sustainable approaches to consumption, production and management. The primary focus of research is on the creation of a diverse, competitive, high added value and skills based economy which minimises demands on the environment.