What is sd?
Looking at sd
Sustainable PVC
Quizzes and links


What is sd? Earth report People, planet, profit Are you sustainable?

Wind turbine







Wealth and prosperity is improving but there are still many great inequalities.

In 2004, 2.8 billion people live on less than £2 per day. Poverty promotes poor health and gender inequality.

Poverty means that millions of people do not have adequate access to food, housing and healthcare.

At the same time, the economies of the developed countries generate wealth and a high standard of living. In 2000, the average income in the UK was £15,700.

The challenge to social sustainability is to see the more equal distribution of wealth.

Shanty town and car dealership

There are still some people who have lots and some who have very little.



Income comparison


Measuring wealth

Simply measuring how much someone earns is not a good measurement of wealth. It is more important to see what they can buy with their money. For example, if food is very cheap in one country, a person does not need to earn as much to be able to feed themselves.

The United nations have developed a system which looks at people's 'Purchasing Power Parity' or PPP. This allows comparisons of wealth between different countries.

The graph shows that wealth has improved over the last 50 years but that the difference between developed and developing countries is widening.


Sustainable economic development

Economic development and wealth generation should not necessarily be seen as a bad thing. Improving people's wealth brings benefits such as:

  • Better healthcare

  • Access to good housing and sanitation

  • Reduction in food poverty

  • Improved transport and communications

  • Increased availability of education

Sustainable development aims to bridge the gap between poor and wealthy nations.