The Natural Edge Project The Natural Advantage of Nations Whole System Design Factor 5 Cents and Sustainability Higher Education and Sustainable Development

"Janine Benyus has been instrumental in interpreting the principles of biomimicry to the designers and product developers at Patagonia. She has been inspirational, practical, and engaging in helping us incorporate our respect for the natural world into the creation of our products."
Yvon Chouinard, co-founder, Patagonia

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TNEP Publications

The Natural Advantage of Nations: Business Opportunities, Innovation and Governance in the 21st Century (Vol. I)  

This book is about innovation, solutions, competitiveness and profitability. It is also about building environmental integrity and sustainability now and for future generations.
The publication demonstrates that far from being in conflict with economics and business practice, it is possible to improve the well being of society and at the same time drive innovation in an increasingly competitive world.  (more...)


Factor 5: A Convenient Truth - Increasing Wealth and Reducing Resource Use (to be released in 2009)

This publication, co-authored with Ernst Von Weizsäcker, will update the case studies, policy mechanisms and technical innovations presented in Factor 4 to provide a significant sustainability educational resource. Ten years on, the resource efficiency solutions outlined in Factor 4 are more relevant than ever. In the last ten years significant advances in technology, design and policy innovation have occurred. Hence the new book will be called Factor 5: A Convenient Truth. (more...)

Cents & Sustainability - OCF20+ (to be released in 2010)

This new book, to be released in mid 2008, is a response from the next generation to key themes developed in the 1987 publication Our Common Future (also known as The Brundtland Report). OCF20+ will further explore, in a modern global context, the conditions under which society can achieve a form of economic growth that is both socially and environmentally sustainable. The Development of this publication has been made possible by a Grant from the Purves Environmental Fund. The book will include forewords by Dr Gro Brundtland, and Kenneth Ruffing, former Deputy Director and Chief Economist of the OECD Environment Directorate. (more...)

TNEP Training Modules

Introduction to Sustainable Development for the Engineering and Built Environment Professions

The course is the introductory course in the Critical Literacies Portfolio of the Engineering Sustainable Solutions Program. The course focuses on the context for incorporating sustainable development into the engineering profession, describing the terms, barriers, opportunities and existing tools that define and explain a whole systems approach to Sustainable Development. TNEP received grants from UNESCO (Natural Science Sector) and The Institution of Engineers Australia (College of Environmental Engineering and Society for Sustainability and Environmental Engineering) to develop this course.

Principles and Practices in Sustainable Development for the Engineering and Built Environment Professions
The course is the second, intermediate course in the Critical Literacies Portfolio of the Engineering Sustainable Solutions Program. The course builds on from the introductory course and provides a focus on principles and practices involved in incorporating sustainable development into the engineering profession. TNEP received grants from UNESCO (Natural Science Sector) and The Institution of Engineers Australia (College of Environmental Engineering and Society for Sustainability and Environmental Engineering) to develop this course.

Design Transformed: Whole Systems Design Suite (260   pages)

The purpose of the Whole System Design Suite is to provide introductory technical design based teaching material to demonstrate how advances in energy, materials and water efficiency can be achieved through applying a Whole System Approach to Sustainable Design. Whole System Approaches for designing buildings, cars, cities, industry plants, motors, farming and agriculture, and lighting systems are increasingly being seen as the key to the most cost effective reduction in negative environmental impacts. TNEP received a grant from the Australian Federal Department of the Environment and Water Resources under the Education for Sustainable Development Grants Programme.

Energy Transformed: Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change Mitigation (600+ pages)

This portfolio will provide a freely available online education and training package to bring together the knowledge of how Australia can achieve at least 60 percent cuts to greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This training package provides industry, business and households with the knowledge they need to realise at least 30 percent energy efficiency savings in the short term while providing a strong basis for further improvement. TNEP received grants from CSIRO, as part of the Energy Transformed Flagship, and the National Framework for Energy Efficiency (NFEE).

TNEP Survey Investigations

Australian University Survey, Summary of Questionnaire Results (2008)

In 2007 the National Framework for Energy Efficiency provided funding for the first survey of energy efficiency education across all Australian universities teaching engineering education. The survey asked the question, ‘ What is the state of education for energy efficiency in Australian engineering education? '. There was an excellent response to the survey, with 48 course responses from lecturers across 27 universities from every state and territory in Australia , and 260 student responses from 18 courses across 8 universities from all 6 states. It was concluded from the survey findings that the state of education for energy efficiency in Australian engineering education is currently highly variable and ad hoc across universities and engineering disciplines. This report highlights the survey's key findings.

An Investigation into the Options for Increasing the Extent of Energy Efficiency Knowledge and Skills in Engineering Education (2009)

This research project, funded by the National Framework for Energy Efficiency, has been undertaken to provide guidance to assist engineering educators considering curriculum renewal in the area of energy efficiency education. This report summarises the multi-stage methodology, highlighting identified key barriers and benefits to such curriculum renewal. The findings of this research are intended for use by engineering departments, accreditation agencies, professional bodies and government, to identify opportunities for moving forward (based on rigorous research), and then to strategically plan the transition.

Contributions to Industry Handbooks and Action Plans

Executive Report: Action on Climate Change Can Help Business Competitiveness and Economic Growth
It has become clear that it is inevitable that society will need to adapt to a new climate regime as a result of a rapid increase in greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution. There is a parallel and crucial requirement to focus on both reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and therefore stabilising the corresponding increases in global temperature; and to also prepare for a certain level of adaptation by society and the environment to an altered climate regime, assuming appropriate stabilisation is achieved.

Plastics and Chemicals Industry Association (PACIA) Sustainability Leadership Framework for Industry - Plastics and Chemicals Industry Discussion Paper 2007
To assist the plastics and chemicals industries on its journey to a sustainable future, PACIA in consultation with its members and stakeholders has developed a "Sustainability Leadership Framework". A Discussion Paper has been developed as the first step in communicating the value of sustainability to the plastic and chemicals industries and its stakeholders, as well as identifying priority areas and tools to assist the industries contribute to sustainability across the social, environmental and financial spheres, both now and into the future. The Natural Edge Project provided research, advice and support in the development of the Discussion Paper.

White Paper: ‘Sustainable IT’ through ‘Sustainable Product Service Systems - a case study of Hewlett Packard’ - 2007

HP commissioned research by TNEP to investigate and outline the benefits of shifting to a product service model for the provision of IT services and the impacts on environmental performance of suppliers and customers. The resulting report provides guidance on a range of questions now facing the industry with a focus on the drivers, benefits and opportunities of a shift towards ‘Sustainable Product Service Systems’.

A3P's new Sustainability Action Plan - 2006

A3P launched 'performance, people and prosperity', at the 7th National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development in Brisbane, 15 May 2006. The Plan raises 21 issues and lists specific actions for addressing each. It includes targets, measures of performance and a commitment to public reporting. A3P acknowledge the extensive contribution of Mr Phillip Toyne, from EcoFutures Pty Ltd, and Mr Michael Smith and Mr Karlson Hargroves from The Natural Edge Project.

(Download the Media Release)

The Australian Industry Group Environmental Management Handbook - 2006
This Handbook provides practical information on approaches to environmental management as well as discussion of the key environmental issues facing business today. TNEP's Mike Smith and Karlson Hargroves' contribution to this publication was titled "How Does Australian business reconcile environmental obligations with competitive advantage?" The 2006 Environmental Management Handbook is distributed to more than 5,000 Australian Industry Group member companies and TAFE college libraries across Australia.

Prospering in a Carbon Constrained World

Profitable Opportunities for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction - 2005

This pre-publication report was developed for Natural Capitalism Solutions (NCS), for use in its engagement with the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and the European Climate Exchange (ECX). The report was researched and prepared by Karlson ‘Charlie’ Hargroves and Michael H. Smith of The Natural Edge Project, supervised and reviewed by Hunter Lovins. Nick Palousis, Cheryl Paten and David Marsden-Ballard of TNEP assisted in the research. The introduction to the report was written by Hunter Lovins, President of NCS.

Sustainability Framework for the Future of Australia’s Infrastructure Handbook – 2003

This publication was released by the Australian Council for Infrastructure Development to outline their framework for the future of Australia's infrastructure. On invitation from the producer (Philip Toyne, Eco Futures Pty Ltd), Charlie and Mike from TNEP provided additional material to support the handbook.

‘Natural Advantage: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Australia’ Australian Conservation Foundation - 2002

This publication was developed by the Australian Conservation Foundation. Mike from TNEP assisted over a two year period in identifying and developing case study material and databases, highlighting best practice in support of the Blueprint.


Contributions to other Publications


Australian Innovation: Towards a Sustainable Future - 2007

This book and website demonstrates the range of activities, initiatives, leadership and innovative approaches being implemented by business, government and industry groups in Australia on their journey to sustainability. This book is a valuable addition to the sustainability literature because it features new case studies and in depth interviews with some of Australia ’s leading sustainability innovators. TNEP contributed a chapter on innovations in water and a commentary piece on leading examples of Biomimicry in Australia entitled “Biomimetic Innovations”. This commentary piece is featured in this sample. The book can be ordered from CL Creations.

Solutions for a Sustainable Future - 2005

This publication showcases the Australian expertise, products and services in sustainable development, and place Australian-based companies on the world stage as business partners of choice. Please note that TNEP does not endorse the inclusion of the Gunns Limited in this publication.

The Weather Makers, Tim Flannery - 2005

In this publication, Tim Flannery argues for the urgent need to address the implications of a global climate change. TNEP provided review and comments prior to publication.

Corporate Change for Sustainability - TELA Paper 2004

This paper discusses the forces that are encouraging corporations and their boards and chief executives to adopt sustainability strategies - strategies that combine financial, environmental and social goals and responsibilities. The authors wished to thank the team from The Natural Edge Project, Mike Smith, Charlie Hargroves and James Moody for our contributions to this paper, drawing upon material from the research being undertaken to develop the publication ‘Natural Advantage of Nations’.

Universities and Sustainability - TELA Paper 2003

The Tela Papers are a series of discussion papers that explore the relationship between the environment, the economy and society. They consider the changes required to achieve ecological sustainability during the 21st century. A primary aim of the series is to influence decision-makers, opinion leaders and educators. Authored by Sarah Bekessy and Mark Burgman (University of Melbourne), Tarah Wright (Dalhousie University, Canada), Walter Leal Filho (Technical University of Hamburg) and Michael Smith (Australian National University and TNEP).

Australian National University Green Guide - 2002

First published in 1999, as the ANU Green Guide 1999 by Gabrielle Breen (editor), Lucy Sargeson and Emily Brash. Michael Smith of TNEP contributed to the development of the
abridged version to produce the 2002 publication with Sam Wilson, Francis Elliott and Stephen Still.


Prizes and Awards

TNEP is honored to have received recognition for work that has been undertaken on a number of projects to date:

  2005 Banksia Award for Environmental Leadership, Education and Training

  2005 Eureka Award Finalist in the Allen Strom Prize for Education in Sustainability

  2005 Greening the Boardroom Queensland Corporate Citizenship Award

  Year of the Young Engineer Award - Engineers Australia South Australia Division

  Engineering Education and Skills Formation - Engineers Australia South Australia  

  Division Engineering Excellence Award


Members of TNEP have been awarded the following;

  2005 Engineers Australia Young Professional Engineer of the Year - Cheryl Desha

  2005 Australia's Most Inspiring Young Engineers List - Cheryl Desha and Nick Palousis