This article explores how sustainability was staged in the context of EXPO 2000, the first and only world exhibition organized by Germany. The notion seemed to gain ground around the turn of the millennium in global political and policy circles, especially through such documents as the ‘Agenda 21’ and the ‘Millennium Development Goals’. These were also the main source of inspiration while organizing EXPO 2000, which, under the motto ‘Humankind, Nature, Technology’ claimed to put forward a radically different vision for the 21st century. However, throughout the paper I argue that sustainability ended up performing a quite different ideological function. In Germany, the staging of sustainability took place as an activation of expertize, meant to fix a crisis of the economy and to open up new grounds for capitalism’s search for profit, ultimately deepening the environmental crisis that it was meant to alleviate in the first place.