How the term »Sustainability« came into being: In 1713, the work »Sylvicultura oeconomica« by Hans Carl von Carlowitz was published. He was a Saxon tax accountant and mining administrator. In the mining industry of the time, wood was used in large quantities both as a building material and as fuel and also for smelting. In view of the threatening shortage of wood due to the progressive destruction of forests in his time, von Carlowitz recommended a »... sustained use ...« of the forests, so that only as much wood should be harvested as can grow back through reforestation. Hans Carl von Carlowitz is thus regarded as the key creator of the concept of sustainability in forestry – which is now applied internationally to all dimensions of sustainable action.
The Three-pillar Scheme: It was created in the 1990s and became known to a broader public through a commission for sustainable development as part of the Brundtland Report for the United Nations. The merit of this scheme is the naming of the Ecology, the Social and the Economy as equivalent and equal dimensions, which are graphically represented as pillars. Critics point to the fact that in practice individual pillars are given more consideration than others and to the question of why the economy is presented as a separate pillar while politics and culture are not.
The Venn Diagram of Sustainability: Here the areas of Ecology, Social affairs and Economy are no longer found as pillars standing next to each other (as was still the case in the older Three-pillar Scheme), but as circular dimensions that overlap in parts. Only in the center of the intersections is the area of complete sustainable development. The graphic thus shows that sustainability cannot be achieved by focusing on individual points, which in the negative case also counteract each other, but that sustainability can only be achieved when all points work together.
The Priority Model: It can be understood as a further development of the predecessor schemes, which succeeds in a visually concise way in presenting the interdependencies of Ecology, the Social and the Economy as an integrative form. It states that an intact environment forms the basis for a functioning society. Only this framework enables an economic system that is sustainable in the long term.
The Doughnut Model: Economist Kate Raworth first published the basics of her theory of the Doughnut economics in 2012. It describes an economic model that is embedded in society and the environment. The Doughnut ring represents the »safe zone« to return to. To achieve this, planetary boundaries such as climate change, ocean acidification, and biodiversity loss must be halted. This can be achieved through social factors such as education, political participation and health. These form the foundation and inner boundary of the Doughnut ring. It is particularly noteworthy that this model no longer sees the economy as a dimension in its own right, but as a factor without intrinsic value that can only generate sustainability as an integrative aspect of sustainability.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): These are the United Nations 17 goals that cover the dimensions of sustainability. They were adopted by 193 member states in 2015 and should be achieved within 15 years. Despite all the compromises, great importance is attached to the 17 goals, since almost all member states have signed the resolutions. A total of 169 formulated sub-goals are available for the implementation of individual and also regionally oriented sustainability topics. This also fits well with our understanding of sustainable development: every point counts!