Sustainable development has become one of the most influential principles in international law. It has come a long way since the World Commission on Environment and Development first popularized the term in 1987. This article seeks to discuss the evolution of sustainable development from the Stockholm Conference in 1972 to the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the international community in 2015 and its implications for states. It argues that sustainable development has evolved as an umbrella concept and many of its components reflect customary international law. It concludes that sustainable development is neither vague nor indeterminate and imposes binding obligations on states.