Category Archives: Sustainable Development

10 important things that happened at the UN Climate Change Summit 2014

If you haven’t been following the global summit in New York this week, here are ten things that happened at the UN Headquarters on Continue reading 10 important things that happened at the UN Climate Change Summit 2014

United Nations Climate Summit 2014

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The UN Climate Summit is happening today in New York. Yesterday more than 30,000 people attended the Climate March in Melbourne. People all over the world marched in protest over government inaction on climate change ahead of the Summit, creating a bigger global awareness of the issues we all face. Unfortunately our Prime Minister Tony Abbot is “not able” to attend, due to ‘scheduling conflicts’. Given that the majority of world leaders are meeting today to focus on the future of a sustainable planet, Sustaining People hopes Tony Abbot’s inaction  doesn’t leave Australia flailing in the dust.

Check out the official UN Climate Summit 2014 page for news as it happens. Watch this space over the next few days for news on the Summit’s progress.

Lessons from the Sahara Forest Project

Four years ago, architect Michael Pawlyn recorded a TED Talk at the TEDSalon London 2010, where he spoke about the benefits of biomimicry and how it can be used to change the way society approaches sustainable design. Watch his presentation above, and you will be excited about the wonder and simplicity of natural systems that are guiding the way that our cutting edge developers and dreamers are creating a sustainable future.

The second half of his talk Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture, focused on the potential of the Sahara Forest Project (SF Project). Put simply, the project is ‘…a combination of environmental technologies to enable restorative growth, defined as revegetation and creation of green jobs through profitable production of food, freshwater, biofuels and electricity…’. Essentially this project aims to revegetate large areas of arid desert, whilst simultaneously using a closed loop system to create food, energy, freshwater and natural building products on the same land.

Four years on, the Sahara Forest Project has strong backing by many nations, and Qatar has hosted the pilot facility to asses and nurture the viability of the project since its completion in December 2012. In June of this year, Jordan signed an agreement to build a Test & Demonstration Centre, which will act as a hub for innovation and capability to showcase the economic viability of the project.

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Jordan Facility

So what can we learn from this amazing experiment and its successes to date? Here are five lessons that will have a profound impact on the future of this project, and other projects that are in the pipeline around the world. Continue reading Lessons from the Sahara Forest Project

Michael Traill to step down from SVA Australia

Michael Traill

Michael Traill, the Founder of Social Ventures Australia has announced he is stepping down from his role as CEO, at the annual SVA Oration, at the NSW House of Parliament last night. His exit will be sadly be effective October this year and will be succeeded by Rob Koczkar, the current Managing Director of Pacific Equity Partners. Continue reading Michael Traill to step down from SVA Australia

CSR ≠ Sustainability

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Many people use CSR and Sustainability interchangeably, when there are some clear and definitive differences that show the two terms are not synonymous. Simply put, Corporate Social Responsibility is the task of balancing current stakeholder interests, by implementing initiatives that improve wide reaching and operational impacts on communities. Conversely, Sustainability is a course of action that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” – accurately described by the World Commission on Environment & Development’s Our Common Future, published in 1987.

An article in the Canadian Huffington Post Online, discusses this definition debarkle, and explains the relationship between these two terms really well. It’s important to know the difference, and to understand how businesses can have a CSR strategy as well as a separate Sustainability strategy. The article closes by saying you can be responsible or sustainable, but not both. Sustaining People agrees with a lot of what is extolled in this piece, but maybe there is a way to marry the two together; sustainability strategy can be used to inform CSR initiatives about the potential future risks, so that current action doesn’t hamper ongoing sustainability efforts.

If you would like to know more and better inform your own CSR or Sustainability experience, you can read the full article here.

Which country does the most good?

Globalisation is the defining development of our age, one that has brought closer our international neighbours as well as the unfortunate reality of pandemic disease, war, poverty, corruption and environmental denigration.

Given our ability to communicate through various mediums instantaneously, we are still fairly inexperienced in managing coherent action in concert with other international actors. It seems, that in this time of global dependency, national sovereignty is catapulted to the fore, and one means of creating competitive advantage is for countries to invest in international development. Foreign aid is a complex notion and one that allows countries to “do good” whilst at the same time improving reputation and social returns and strengthening diplomatic intergovernmental relations. Continue reading Which country does the most good?

Professor Sachs & the Case of the Multilateral MOOC’s

For those of you just beginning to nurture an interest in CSR and Sustainability, here is an easy-to-digest 10 minute movie by the renowned Jeffrey Sachs that really hits home. It discusses the relationship between countries, cultures, governments and businesses, and the responsibility they all have to the global community.

Sustaining People is very much a fan of Jeffrey’s work and you can read more about our interaction with him in our previous post For Richer or Poorer. A full speech from Professor Sachs on ‘The Age of Sustainable Development’ from earlier this year can be found on our Videos & Podcasts page. Continue reading Professor Sachs & the Case of the Multilateral MOOC’s