Under the current economic model that depends largely on economic growth, for a business model, an industrial process or any activity to be sustainable it has to take into account its economic soundness.
Environmental issues such as loss of diversity, climate change and environmental degradation need to be addressed as part of sustainability.
The third dimension of sustainability is society. Development should support the communities, our generation and the generations to come.
The development theory of Sustainable Development is compatible with other development theories, namely Human Development.
Human Development theory appears as a reaction to more economic-centred approaches to development, by shifting the focus from economic performance (and growth) to wider concepts such as well-being and freedom of choice of the individual, thus placing the people at the centre of development. In Human Development theory (as presented by Ul Haq), sustainability (including the focus with the environment and intergenerational justice) is one among four essential pillars which include equity, productivity and empowerment.
Both Sustainable Development and Human Development theories enlarge the scope of discussion, by reframing economic growth and wealth as important only as potential contributors to the actual improvement of people's well-being and environmental protection, and not as an objective in itself.