News Updates

A selection of news items which will be of interest to users of this website is given below.

See also the seasonal EcoSTEPS Netletters

June 2013 - Great news - World peak population may be earlier than anticipated!

According to United Nations' estimates, the world population in 2100 will be within a range between 15.8 billion people according to the highest estimates –high fertility variant– and 6.2 billion according to the lowest –low fertility variant–, a figure that stands below the current 7 billion.

A mathematical model developed by a team from the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) and the CEU-San Pablo University, both from Spain, seems to confirm the lower estimate, in addition to a standstill and even a slight drop in the number of people on Earth by the mid-21st century.

March 2013 - ISSP Conference in Chicago coming up!

ISSP Conference 2013 May 8 -10, 2013
Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel, Chicago, USA


Link: ISSP Conference
ISSP is hosting its next face-to-face summit of ISSP members and other sustainability professionals from May 8–10, 2013 at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. Speakers from GRI, The Nature Conservancy and other top flight organizations will address conference attendees. Sustainable Urban Communities, Integrated Reporting, Sustainability In the Industrial Sector and Green Architecture are just a sampling of the great content that will be presented.

June 2012 - Rio's legagcy?

Only a very short time ago, we were drawing blank looks when we mentioned "natural capital accounting." Recently at Rio, everyone is talking about it. Walls are plastered with flyers about it...

Read more: http://blogs.worldbank.org/voices/rios-buzzing-about-natural-capital-accounting

April 2012 - Club of Rome - Titanic Movie - Let's Change Course

On 14 April 1912, the RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg about 300 miles southeast of Newfoundland and sank after the collision in the North Atlantic. Due to the unique circumstances associated with the downfall of the Titanic, it is the most famous ship in history. It has an almost cult status, especially in the western world. Literature, visual arts, film and television have regularly paid tribute to the events surrounding its maiden and final voyage. The name is synonymous with serious disasters and the uncontrollability of nature despite technological advancement.

The symbol of the Titanic inspired this web project by the Club of Rome called "Change the Course". The voyage of the Titanic on its way to misfortune offers many parallels to the current calls for humanity to change course and to get away from "the business as usual" path.

Play the movie. Understand the challenges of the future. See why we need a change in course. Explore how we can do so.

March 2012 - Regeneration

Like so many people my attention only really started to focus on sustainability issues at the time of the Rio Conference in 1992. Twenty years on and it is interesting to both look back and 'pause and reflect' and also to look forward to the future.

The Regeneration Project aims to provide a roadmap for achieving sustainable development within the next generation, focusing especially on the role of the private sector. With Rio+20 around the corner, there is no better time to create a collaborative and engaging platform for collective action.

February 2012: UN high-level panel on Global Sustainability reports

The 22-member Panel (including Australia's Kevin Rudd), established by the Secretary-General in August 2010 to formulate a new blueprint for sustainable development and low-carbon prosperity has reported: "Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing". It contains 56 recommendations to put sustainable development into practice and to mainstream it into economic policy as quickly as possible...

This Panel believes it is within the wit and will of our common humanity to choose for the future. This Panel therefore is on the side of hope. All great achievements in human history began as a vision before becoming a reality. The vision for global sustainability, producing both a resilient people and a resilient planet, is no different.

In 2030, a child born in 2012 — the year our report is published — will turn 18. Will we have done enough in the intervening years to give her the sustainable, fair and resilient future that all of our children deserve? This report is an effort to give her an answer

January 2012: Decade of Sustainable Capitalism?

Should 2012 be the Start of a Decade of Sustainable Capitalism? by John Elkington

“Transforming capitalism is about more than shifting corporate behaviour. It requires a change in cultures, governance systems and tax regimes and this takes time. “So what will 2012 bring for us all? One thing the New Year is guaranteed to bring is a series of key anniversaries. Indeed, at times it will be hard to move without tripping over one milestone or another. Most obviously, there will be the UN Rio+20 conference, twenty years on from 1992s Earth Summit. But we will also mark the twenty-fifth anniversaries of the Brundtland Report, Our Common Future, and of SustainAbility – the company I co-founded early in 1987. Less obviously, 2012 will mark the fortieth anniversary of the Limits to Growth study and the fiftieth of Rachel Carson’s influential book Silent Spring, first published in 1962. Both books had a huge impact on my thinking."

Read more at: www.eco-business.com/opinion/should-2012-be-the-start-of-a-decade-of-sustainable-capitalism/

December 2011: Environmental Accounting

It's attractive, but very dangerous, to try to calculate a 'bottom line' for a firm's social or environmental performance.

Attractive, because key stakeholders are increasingly interested in knowing those kinds of details. But the main danger should be obvious: there's just no way to add up the disparate factors that make up a firm's social or environmental performance.

How do you add together litres-of-water-used plus hectares-of-habitat-destroyed? On the social performance side, how do you sum up number-of-women-in-senior-management plus fair-trade-contracts signed?

The answer of course is that you can't. You can't add up things that are represented in different units of measure.

That's not to say that you can't or shouldn't track and report these various numbers, but it casts a dim light on the prospects of arriving at a global assessment of a firm's social or economic performance. Unless, of course, you simply put a dollar figure on everything, in which case the math becomes quite easy.

That's what shoemaker Puma has done, with its new Environmental Profit & Loss Account (E P&L). It has attached a dollar value to its greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption, and compared that to the dollar value of the shoes it produces. And, interestingly, Puma is publicizing the fact that, environmentally, the company is in the red. Puma extracts more from the environment than it provides to consumers.

Now, in standard terms, any firm that uses more (in dollars) than it puts out (in dollars) is going to go out of business pretty quickly. But as Puma's Jochen Zeitz points out, that's not the case for many environmental inputs because so many environmental inputs are unpriced - that is, they cost a company nothing. Pollution, for example, when unregulated, costs a company nothing, and when under-regulated costs the company less than the cost such pollution imposes on others. So what Puma has done is put a dollar value on these things so that it can figure out what its environmental bottom line would be, if it actually had to pay for everything it consumes and emits.

There are two key problems with such attempts to calculate an environmental bottom line this way. One is practical: there just aren't uncontroversial ways to put a dollar figure on every unpriced environmental input. Certainly there are people who can provide methods for doing so; but that doesn't mean there's a clear, right way to do it.

The other problem is, well, philosophical. It's not at all clear that everything we want to say about environmental ethics can be summed up in terms of economic impact. What's the dollar value of the loss of a species? Is the value of beautiful scenery really captured by summing up how much each of us would be willing to pay to preserve it? Still, Puma deserves credit for this rather striking bit of transparency. Even though the "E P&L" is a pretty incomplete picture, it nonetheless does tell us something about the company's overall environmental impact, and its commitment to doing better.

More at: http://safe.puma.com/us/en/2011/05/puma-announces-results-of-unprecedented-environmental-profit-loss/

Nov 2011: Vale a great innovator...

"...you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life..." Steve Jobs

October 2011 - ISSP Conference


Julian Crawford and Nicole Croker represented EcoSTEPS at the inaugural International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) conference in Portland, Oregon, US recently. It was an uplifting event with around 200 self-styled 'sustainability professionals' from around the world. Julian spoke at a session with Hunter Lovins (Natural Capitalism, Carbon Capitalism) and Erik Assadourian (World Watch Institute, Vital Signs).

Julian also had the honour of introducing Karl-Henrik Robert of The Natural Step who was one of the Sustainability Hall of Fame Inductees. Another inductee was Gil Friend and his acceptance speech is reproduced below as a nice summary:

I was deeply honored last month when I was inducted into the inaugural member of the Sustainability Hall of Fame by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals -- both for the honor itself, and for the company I shared it with...

All of us stand on the shoulders of others, so it's an exceptional honor for me to be recognized together with those on whose shoulders I've stood. The other inductees have been my teachers and my heroes, and I'm humbled and moved to share this award with them.

I've known Amory Lovins for more than 30 years -- and learned from his physicist's way of thinking, his rigor, and his bold reinventing of how we think about energy.

Karl-Henrik Robert and I met only about 17 years ago, and I have been grateful each of those years for the unstoppable elegance of the Natural Step framework -- still the most dependable tool in my toolkit.

Bob Willard, maybe only ten years -- but speaking of toolkits, Bob has, probably more than anyone, been delivering the tools for making the sustainability business case.

And of course Ray Anderson, who we lost just a few weeks ago, who took all the things so many of us talk about and put them to work at the heart of a multi-billion dollar corporation -- with humility, grace and effectiveness. A prince.

There are many other sets of shoulders to mention, but I'll name just one. I began this work in 1972, when I spent a month at the World Game Workshop with Buckminster Fuller and his organization. In a month long design charrette for the planet, I learned -- I demonstrated for myself, in big picture, whole systems design, and in nitty gritty, down in the weeds analysis -- that there's no necessary barrier to human success on this planet, only our will. I signed on, back then, to contribute whatever I could to (in Bucky's words), "a world that works for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological defense, or the disadvantage of anyone." That's been my guide ever since.

And here we are today, working to transform the economy of an entire planet. This planet. In one generation. I'm honored to be in this work, and honored to be in it with you.

Sept 2011 - Business of Sustainability

The sustainability agenda and the economic growth agenda should not be in competition, Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott has told a sustainability forum in Sydney recently.

The timing was right to reclaim the sustainability agenda by demonstrating the reality that business was the natural home for such an agenda, Ms Westacott said. Global developments, the business case for sustainability and business creativity in practice were detailed at the forum, which was held by the Business Council of Australia with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Ms Westacott said businesses are already leading the sustainability agenda because:

• it believes in a leadership role
• it makes good business sense
• it is economic reality to want to reduce input costs
• it’s a magnet for investors and high-quality staff
• it’s fundamental to the social license to operate
• business has the capacity, resources and capital to drive innovation.

Excellent pdf downloads of the presentations here: www.bca.com.au/Content/101868.aspx

August 2011 - Global Footprint Network

GFN continues to do great work promoting and explaining the science and reality of ecological footprints. Their latest annual report is an excellent and compelling read: “Climate Change is Not the Problem.” Find out what is. Learn how all of the major ecological crises we face today are symptoms of a single, over-arching problem – and what we are doing about it. Read it here.

July 2011 - ISSP Conference

EcoSTEPS Director Julian Crawford is delighted to have been reappointed for a second two-year term to the Board of the prestigious ISSP (International Society of Sustainability Professionals) the premier representative organization for sustainability practitioners.

The ISSP Conference 2011, September 21-23 in Portland, Oregon, is the first ever face-to-face summit of ISSP members and other sustainability professionals. This unique event will focus on generating knowledge and solutions to help practitioners speed the adoption of sustainability within organizations. The program features learning and co-creation sessions on cutting-edge topics. Sessions are designed provide the skills, knowledge and tools from industry experts and provide you with the opportunity to influence the shape and future of the sustainability profession.

June 2011

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible." T. E. Lawrence, "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" British soldier (1888 - 1935)

April 2011 - The Great Disruption

The former head of Greenpeace International and the founder of Ecos Consulting, Paul Gilding, has written his first book, The Great Disruption: How the Climate Crisis Will Transform the Global Economy. After 50 years of climate debate we will finally - later this decade, he predicts - be forced to respond as we face immutable natural constraints.

Gilding has more business cred than most ''alarmists'' - he has advised companies such as Ford, DuPont and IAG. Yet his book anticipates an end to consumerism and the pursuit of infinite economic growth - as a function of necessity, not ideology.

''There is actually a quite profound threat and the responsibility is on us, business leaders included, to recognise that if we don't work this out within our system, we are sending a message to the world… That's a very dangerous message to send.''

Who will drive the change, someone asked? ''You,'' replied Gilding, ''and I say that quite seriously. [In the book I talk about] my illusions when I left Greenpeace and worked for big companies … and thought 'Hallelujah! I'm with the guys who are in charge. I can just talk them into what a problem we have and they'll fix it. I spent 10 years of my life doing that and then one day I realised they actually weren't in charge … because the system is simply too complicated, too diversified for anybody to be in charge anymore.''

Chief executives and prime ministers alike feel like prisoners of the system, says Gilding. It was only disempowering until he realised consumers - or those who refuse to consume - hold the whip hand. ''In actual fact, no one's in charge means we're in charge,'' Gilding says. ''In a practical sense, we can decide which companies succeed and fail.''

March 2011 - Five Stages on the Sustainability Journey

Article by Vijay Kanal:

Companies that are wondering about how to take their sustainability efforts to the next level may benefit from knowing that most leading sustainability companies – particularly the larger ones – progressed in several stages, and over a multi- year period.

Based on our work and research with dozens of companies, there are five major stages on the sustainability journey. They overlap to some extent, and not all companies started at Stage 1 but for most, these stages do apply.

1. Grassroots 2. Functional 3. Strategic 4. Ecosystem 5. DNA

But from my observation, few companies have evolved to this final stage because, as in life, it is very difficult to change DNA. Some other companies fall into the DNA-from-the-beginning camp. This is a tribute to their founders, but there are too few examples of companies such as these. The rest will need to progress to this stage over time.

But the ultimate stage is when we as a society don't have a discussion about sustainability at all because it is so ingrained in everything we do. Read more

February 2011 - Companies Must Radically Change – and Work Together

Outgoing Marks & Spencer chairman says business models must be geared towards sustainability and finite resources. Sir Stuart Rose has warned that companies will need to radically alter their business models if they are going to cope with a perfect storm of climate change, a growing global population, and finite resources. He also said that the retailer is only a tenth of the way to becoming a truly sustainable company, despite the success of its Plan A strategy, which itself is held up as one of the most ambitious of its kind.

In one of his last major speeches before he steps down at the end of 2010, Rose said the recession has masked the fundamental shifts in the way business will need to respond in order to access their resources, customers, markets and capital. He gave a stark warning that ‘there just isn't enough to go around. Period. No argument. So I believe we can't go on as we are.’

He said that companies that were built on unsustainable business models would only be able to survive for a maximum of 20 years. He also said that City investors are starting to recognise the importance of taking a longer-term view, rather than just concentrating on short-term profits: ‘It was absolutely the case that when I first raised sustainability with some of my investors, hey literally threw their hands up in horror and said 'how can you spend £200m without getting a guaranteed return on your capital invested?' Now they know that it's an imperative and it's going to be part of how businesses differentiate and succeed in the future. So I actually think it is changing. It's a bit behind but it's changing.

www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/stuart-rose-radical-marks-spencer

January 2011 - Maintaining our perspective and focus...

EcoSTEPS is proud that one of its Founding Directors, Julian Crawford, serves on the Board of ISSP (International Society of Sustainablity Professionals), which have just released its first annual report which covers the activities of the representative organisation for the rapidly growing number of members worldwide.

Cruxcatalyst is a terrfic blog that posts sustainability stories collected and curated by: "...an Antipodean sustainability transmitter and sponge, advocate of the just and ethical, appreciator of the unusual, humourous and odd..."

December 2010 - End of Year Message

Just what do terms like biodiversity, the Ecological Footprint and ecosystem services actually mean, and what do they have to do with our daily lives? "Not Just Another Nature Film", produced by WWF for the launch of the 2010 Living Planet Report and narrated by British and actor and comic Stephen Merchant, takes a lighthearted look at a serious problem and reminds us why we need to play nice. Great 5m video

Nov 2010 - Soul searching a changing world...

There is a lot of soul searching going on … so writes the long time head of the WBCSD, Bjorn Stigson:

After my recent visits to Australia, Turkey, Japan and Korea and my discussions with international business leaders, I am struck by how many countries (and companies) are searching for their role in a changing global landscape. Governments are looking for politically acceptable solutions. “Green Growth” has become a mantra for many who point to its potential to create economic growth and new green jobs. However, I struggle with this claim. It will take time to build competencies for investments on a bigger scale for green solutions, and green jobs will probably replace “old” jobs rather than simply adding additional employment, at least in the short to medium term.

Major green investments will also be made by the leading emerging economies that are already strong competitors in the Green Race. Trade surplus countries, like China and Korea, are doing well in the Green Race as are Germany and Japan. However, as we have shown in Vision 2050, the transformations to a future sustainable world will require massive innovations and transformations and will create new business opportunities. But, the majority of these will probably not have major impacts until beyond 2020. “The Turbulent Teens”, as the Vision 2050 termed the period 2010-2020, looks increasingly likely to be confusing, yet critical and will determine the success or failure of reaching the vision.

Oct 2010 - EcoSTEPS Presents Master Class on Sustainability

EcoSTEPS Director, Carole Young, was recently commissioned by conference specialists Informa to prepare and deliver a 'masterclass' at their "Sustainability in the Key Professions: Accountancy" conference held in Sydney on 1 October.

Implementing Sustainable Solutions Across an Organisation
One of the biggest obstacles faced by organisations embarking upon environmentally sustainable business practices is ensuring that strategies are embraced and efficiently implemented company-wide. The interactive workshop explored a simple methodology for organisations to develop and implement a sustainability strategy across an entire organisation. It covered:

• ‘Strategy into Action’: Implementing a more holistic approach and commitment to sustainable business
• Assessing and achieving delivery of the strategic, practical and cultural dimensions of sustainability
• Practices and approaches to managing the day-to-day aspects of sustainability strategy implementation.

For more details contact Carole Young

Sept 2010 - 'Here on Earth: An Argument for Hope' Tim Flannery

"One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on the land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise." Aldo Leopold, "A Sand County Almanac"

No foot has trod on a heavenly body since 1971, and there is no plan to return to the moon for at least a decade. This is perhaps appropriate. During this critical period in the evolution of the human superorganism all focus needs to be on Earth. But if we ever enter that long period of stability that beckons from the far side of the crisis, we will perhaps once again focus our energies on unlocking the mysteries of the universe.

Foremost among these mysteries is the question of whether or not there are other Gaias out there. The Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, in pondering the question, left us a paradox. It involves the simple question of why, despite the antiquity of the heavens and the vast number of stars and planets we know exist, have we not yet detected intelligent life? There are 250 billion stars in the Milky Way alone, so surely some should have spawned Earth-like planets, and some of those should have developed life.

But there is another possibility. Perhaps Fermi's paradox tells us that we really are alone in the universe, simply because we are the first global superorganism ever to exist. After all, it's taken all of time - from the Big Bang to the present - to make the stardust that forms all life, and to forge that stardust, through evolution by natural selection, into us and our living planet. If we really are the first intelligent superorganism, then perhaps we are destined to populate all of existence, and in so doing to fulfil Alfred Russel Wallace's vision of perfecting the human spirit in the vastness of the universe. From our present vantage point we cannot know such things.

But I am certain of one thing - if we do not strive to love one another, and to love our planet as much as we love ourselves, then no further human progress is possible here on Earth.

From: "Here on Earth: An Argument for Hope" (Text Publishing) by Tim Flannery

Sept 2010 - National Professional Development Initiative for Sustainability Educators

EcoSTEPS is pleased to announce that has been successful in a national selection process seeking the 'best of the best' training programs to introduce sustainability to organisations. The program draws on EcoSTEPS wealth of experience with a diverse range of clients at the forefront of sustainability thinking and action over the past decade. Visit this page for program details.

August 2010 - Millennium Project - State of the Future Report 2010

"Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, should read this incredible document, period!" Technological Forecasting & Social Change

"The State of the Future Report has inspired and continues to instigate our foundation’s work on the interdependent paths of global development and future progress. It is one of the rare examples of integrated thinking on global challenges that needs to be addressed if we are to enhance the quality of life for present and for future generations." Liz Mohn, Vice-Chair of the Executive Board, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Germany

EcoSTEPS Director contributed an overview article on the state of sustainability in Australia. Read it now.


21 August 2010 - Earth Overshoot Day

August 21st marks an unfortunate milestone: the day in which we exhaust our ecological budget for the year. Once we pass this day, humanity will have demanded all the ecological services – from filtering CO2 to producing the raw materials for food – that nature can provide this year. From that point until the end of the year, we meet our ecological demand by liquidating resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Every year, Global Footprint Network calculates nature's supply in the form of biocapacity, the amount of resources the planet generates, and compares that to human demand: the amount it takes to produce all the living resources we consume and absorb our carbon dioxide emissions.

Scroll down to the entry from September 2009 and see that the comparable day was 25 September. We are overshooting at accelerating speed unfortunately...

Aug 2010 - We’re hot as hell and we’re not going to take it any more
by Bill McKibben

I wrote the first book for a general audience on global warming back in 1989, and I’ve spent the subsequent 21 years working on the issue. I’m a mild-mannered guy, a Methodist Sunday School teacher. Not quick to anger. So what I want to say is: this is fucked up. The time has come to get mad, and then to get busy.

For many years, the lobbying fight for climate legislation on Capitol Hill has been led by a collection of the most corporate and moderate environmental groups, outfits like the Environmental Defense Fund. We owe them a great debt, and not just for their hard work. We owe them a debt because they did everything the way you’re supposed to: they wore nice clothes, lobbied tirelessly, and compromised at every turn.

By the time they were done, they had a bill that only capped carbon emissions from electric utilities (not factories or cars) and was so laden with gifts for industry that if you listened closely you could actually hear the oinking. They bent over backwards like Soviet gymnasts. Senator John Kerry, the legislator they worked most closely with, issued this rallying cry as the final negotiations began: "We believe we have compromised significantly, and we're prepared to compromise further.” And even that was not enough. They were left out to dry by everyone -- not just Reid, not just the Republicans. Even President Obama wouldn’t lend a hand, investing not a penny of his political capital in the fight.

The result: total defeat, no moral victories. Now What? So now we know what we didn’t before: making nice doesn’t work. It was worth a try, and I’m completely serious when I say I’m grateful they made the effort, but it didn’t even come close to working. So we better try something else.

Step one involves actually talking about global warming. For years now, the accepted wisdom in the best green circles was: talk about anything else -- energy independence, oil security, beating the Chinese to renewable technology. I was at a session convened by the White House early in the Obama administration where some polling guru solemnly explained that “green jobs” polled better than “cutting carbon.” No, really? In the end, though, all these focus-group favorites are secondary. The task at hand is keeping the planet from melting. We need everyone -- beginning with the president -- to start explaining that basic fact at every turn. Read more

July 2010 - Bringing the Major Sustainability Frameworks and Indicators Together (TBL, ESG, TNS, GRI etc)

There are a number of sustainability frameworks in popular use today that provide structure for a sustainability effort and sustainability reports. The problem is choosing the one that works best for your organisation and situation. There are enough similarities among them that you can see the overlap, but there are enough differences to create confusion. If you pick one, you lose some of the benefits of the others. You can try to adapt one or more to your needs, but you then run the risk of overlooking some important aspect or principle of sustainability. This excellent article from ISSP attempts to integrate them all...

June 2010 - EcoSTEPS in Samoa

Article in the Angle by Rich Bowden

Paul Bateson, of the Blue Mountains-based sustainability consultants EcoSTEPS, recently took time out from a tourism-focused sustainability meeting in Samoa to present the country’s prime minister with a Socceroos shirt.

One of Australia’s most ardent football supporters, Paul (also known as Pablo) presented the shirt, signed by leading Socceroo and Everton midfielder Tim Cahill, to Prime Minister, the Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, in his office in Apia on May 28. According to Pablo the shirt was presented to the prime minister “…on behalf of Tim Cahill and all fans of the Socceroos.” Read more...

May 2010 - Cities of the Future

In a context of a growing and ageing population and increasing pressures from climate change in Australia, we face the challenge of planning our ‘Cities of the Future’.

EcoSTEPS recently facilitated a major workshop at the Australian Water Association’s
National Conference in Brisbane on behalf of WSAA and the IWA (International Water Association).

Julian Crawford and Howard Nielson led the two-day workshop process with over 150 invited water sector and non-water sector participants that developed a vision and outlined the principles and challenges in planning for ‘Cities of the Future’. This work will feed into a ‘Cities of the Future’ Position Paper to be presented to the IWA World Water Congress in Montreal in September 2010. See also full report.

April 2010 - The Responsibility Revolution

Jeffrey Hollender (co-founder of Seventh Generation) and Bill Breen (founding editor of Fast Company) have just published a short book - The Responsibility Revolution. They argue that in a new world of global transparency and consumer skepticism, companies must move beyond simple profit-maximization combined with occasional “corporate social responsibility” initiatives, towards more fully embracing a social mission, transparency, community engagement, and innovation to advance a deeper purpose.

As they assert: “To confront the economy’s and society’s daunting challenges, companies must do more than monitor factories, donate to charities, and trumpet efforts to be a little less bad. The responsibility revolution is about reimaging companies from within: innovating new ways of working; instilling a new logic of competing; redefining the very purpose and possibility of business.”

They suggest a set of six principles that successful “purpose-driven” companies follow:-

1. Have a central, strong mission
2. Be transparent (and even open about your problems)
3. Structure your company like a community
4. Bring consumers inside
5. Focus on being authentic, rather than on marketing
6. Build a corporate consciousness

March 2010 - EcoSTEPS goes South Pacific...

Paul Bateson, Associate and Senior Consultant at EcoSTEPS, spoke over coffee this week to theangle.org’s Rich Bowden about the recent Tourism Investment for the Development of Enterprise and Sustainability (TIDES) conference in Apia, Samoa.

Listen to the interview: http://theangle.org/2010/03/14/focus-on-sustainability-for-pacific-islands-tourism/

This builds on the work done over the past two years for the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Fiji.

March 2010 - ISSP Sustainability Professional Competencies

In response to a growing need to move the world towards sustainable development and sustainable practices within government and industry, a whole new profession is emerging. A new research study conducted by ISSP brings clarity, cohesion and credibility to this new area. The report summarizes the competencies identified as being most critical to the successful performance of professionals working in the field of sustainability.

February 2010 - Comparing carbon policies made easy

Major debate now envelops Federal Parliament on climate change and how Australia will respond to the threat. This is a complex debate with numerous implications for the Australian environment, businesses and individuals. It could also be the ‘trigger’ for new federal elections in 2010.

A Charles Sturt University (CSU) expert on climate change policy, Professor Kevin Parton, has developed a simple comparison between the two policies, both of which aim to reduce greenhouse gases by encouraging new non-polluting technology or sequestrating, or ‘storing’, carbon dioxide.

January 2010 - 18th Int Input-Output Conference Sydney, 20-25 June 2010

EcoSTEPS has a close relationship with the Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) Research Group at the University of Sydney and is pleased to be assisting with the above conference.The goal of the conference is to promote and stimulate the worldwide exchange of ideas among economists between them and government officials, policy makers, engineers, national accountants and managers with interests in input-output analysis and related methods.

December 2009 - New EcoSTEPS Netletter

Read the latest EcoSTEPS Netletter.

Nov 2009 - EcoSTEPS 10th Anniversary AGM

EcoSTEPS celebrates its 10th AGM since founding in July 1999. It's been quite a journey - and it's not finished yet!

The AGM is being held at Wentworth Falls in the beautiful World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains behind Sydney. This year it is also 200 years since Charles Darwin's birth and 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of Species.

On 17th January 1836, after tethering his horse at The Weatherboard Inn, Charles Darwin walked to the Wentworth Falls along the wooded valley (now known as Darwin's Walk). This is how he described the view…

In the middle of the day we baited our horses at a little inn, called the Weatherboard. The country here is elevated 2800 feet above the sea. About a mile and a half from this place there is a view exceedingly well worth visiting. Following down a little valley and its tiny rill of water, an immense gulf unexpectedly opens through the trees which border the pathway, at the depth of perhaps 1500 feet.

Walking on a few yards, one stands on the brink of a vast precipice, and below one sees a grand bay or gulf, for I know not what other name to give it, thickly covered with forest. The point of view is situated as if at the head of a bay, the line of cliff diverging on each side, and showing headland behind headland, as on a bold sea-coast. These cliffs are composed of horizontal strata of whitish sandstone; and are so absolutely vertical, that in many places a person standing on the edge and throwing down a stone, can see it strike the trees in the abyss below.

About five miles distant in front, another line of cliff extends, which thus appears completely to encircle the valley; and hence the name of bay is justified, as applied to this grand amphitheatrical depression.

If we imagine a winding harbour, with its deep water surrounded by bold cliff-like shores, to be laid dry, and a forest to spring up on its sandy bottom, we should then have the appearance and structure here exhibited.

This kind of view was to me quite novel, and extremely magnificent.

Nov 2009 - Climate Change Resilience

‘Communication is the sharing of created meaning; Conversation is the creation of shared meaning’

EcoSTEPS Director Carole Young has been undertaking a fascinating social research project based on over 30 case study interviews with Blue Mountains residents. Carole believes that in a virtual world where leaps in communication technologies happen at lightning speed, the value of honest conversation in poorly appreciated and under-utilized by time-poor people. With this in mind, Carole set out to explore the shared meaning of reconciling climate change with our personal values in today’s world.

Read the first interview with Richard Neville

Oct 2009 - Footbeat Festival

EcoSTEPS is proud to support the Footbeat Festival held in the Blue Mountains, Sydney. The Festival is being organised by EcoSTEPS' Paul Payten and EcoSTEPS consultants, Carole Young, Paul Bateson and Julian Crawford are all presenting sustainability related workshops on ecological footrpinting, The Natural Step and even Sustainable Football!

 

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