Sustainable development definition according to the current understanding of the European Union is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development thus comprises three elements - economic, social and environmental - which have to be considered in equal measure at the political level. The strategy for sustainable development, adopted in 2001 and amended in 2005, is complemented inters alia (among other things) by the principle of integrating environmental concerns with European policies which impact on the environment.

For business concept this definition consists of taking into consideration widely understood economic, environmental and social issues in the daily and long term operations of a company. In plastics industrial practice that means being responsible for the introduction of new products on a plastics market from the perspective of those three issues. This means that new products should be evaluated with regards to the environmental, social and economic impacts they generate. This fulfillment has to be present in all product life cycle stages, starting from production process, delivery chain, demand for sources, processing methods, packaging, distribution, usage and waste management including transport. At the same time companies should try to match up or exceed their competition by offering better functional and quality properties of their products, fulfill environmental protection standards and also better contribute to waste management system.

In the example of sustainability of plastics it is very important to note that all plastics are already fulfilling environmental, economic and social criteria with higher standards than analogous conventional materials. Bioplastics can be therefore viewed as materials competing with classical plastics in exceeding those standards.

However due to the fact that plastics are used in many industry branches it is hard to set an equal standards and specifically define sustainable development policy for all of them. That is why basic standards should be set for all polymer products and specific sustainability standards should be set for different groups of specific uses.

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