The Forrest Report: Closing The Gap?

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In August this year, The Federal government released the Forrest Report, a policy doctrine of sorts delivered by Andrew Forrest to inform Prime Minister Tony Abbot’s approach to indigenous affairs in Australia. The response to the content of this report has been mixed; some hailing it as a comprehensive work that will evolve the place of indigenous Australians in our society, whilst others have called it an ignorant and idealistic document that ignores evidence-based research. Two months on, Sustaining People looks at the impact of Australian business on the indigenous community, and what is being done, and what could be done better. Continue reading The Forrest Report: Closing The Gap?

Energy Quality vs Quantity: Why coal is restraining our economy

An actuarial study just released by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) reports that moving away from fossil fuel investments “could cost a 45-year-old almost $58,000 in lost retirement savings“. In recent months, many institutional investors have announced a move away from coal investments in favour of clean energy portfolios, and it seems that the Minerals Council and its Chief Executive Brendan Pearson are using this report to continue the onslaught against a culture of change and sustainable development. Continue reading Energy Quality vs Quantity: Why coal is restraining our economy

CSIRO invests $28.8 million in Indigenous Education

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“Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don’t need little changes. We need gigantic monumental changes.”

Merely a quote from character Sam Seaborne, of the critically acclaimed US political drama The West Wing, this sentiment nevertheless rings true as the most promising way to lift a society out of the quagmire of poverty and ill-health.

Currently, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people are severely under-represented in local and private education programs, with only around 10% of aboriginal children graduating from high schools nationally. Research from the last decade shows that ASTI students are often disadvantaged due to language barriers in early conceptual development and a mismatch between cultural beliefs and national education values. Indeed, by the time they start year one, 60% of ATSI children are behind developmentally. Later, at a university level, adjusting to socio-economic challenges in a predominantly non-ATSI student population can prove extremely difficult. Continue reading CSIRO invests $28.8 million in Indigenous Education

TEDXPerth 2014 is coming this Saturday!

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TEDXPerth 2014 is coming this weekend!

The local TED Talk event for 2014 is happening this Saturday 4th October at the Perth Concert Hall, but unfortunately tickets are all sold out. You might get lucky and score on from the TED Perth Facebook page, as that seems to be the place to grab unwanted tickets. You can also get updates on the TEDPerth Twitter page.

If you aren’t able to do that, you can still catch all the action at Northbridge Piazza (Cnr James &, Lake St), where there will be a live broadcast of the event, starting from 9:30am this Saturday. Continue reading TEDXPerth 2014 is coming this Saturday!

Sustaining People expands to Twitter @sustainppl

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Guess what!?! Sustaining People is now live on Twitter, using the handle @sustainppl.

Whilst we will continue to serve up regular weekly articles and posts about the state of sustainability and corporate social responsibility in Australia, Twitter will give us stronger functionality in linking our readers to events and articles as they happen.

Sustaining People is excited to be expanding its operations as it will allow us to bring you heaps of content in different and more accessible ways. If you would like to follow us search for @sustainppl on Twitter and get plugged in!

Thanks again for all your support readers, Sustaining People will continue to bring you useful and interesting content. If you have any questions and comments, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

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

Zambrero plates up success

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Not long ago, Sustaining People discussed the community engagement work being done by Kellog with their Breakfast for Better Days program. Another company that is following suit is the Australian Mexican fast food franchise Zambrero, with their Plate 4 Plate initiative. For each standard meal purchased, Zambrero donates one meal to someone in need through their international partner Stop Hunger Now which to date has provided over 160 million meals in 65 countries. Continue reading Zambrero plates up success

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.

Analyst, Diplomat, Sentinel or Explorer?

Corporate Social Responsibility is an ethical concept, and its definition across the globe can vary widely – as detailed in our previous Defining the importance of CSR post. Personal and cultural experience is central to an individual’s development of ethical standards and values; thus we can assume that CSR, and engagement in it, must (to a certain extent) also be a subjective and personal experience.

Generally, for external CSR programs, a broader approach can be used, given that a target audience for the organisation’s core competencies should be available, or easily defined. Internally, the ‘one size fits all’ approach does not always apply. Whilst a company will have an organisational culture unique to itself, employees will integrate with this at different levels. Employees at the lower end of engagement, can negatively affect intra-office cohesion, openness of communication, personal productivity and the productivity of those around you. Continue reading Analyst, Diplomat, Sentinel or Explorer?

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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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

Exploring Sustainability and CSR