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




"The first step is the most difficult when setting out on a challenging journey. Hunter Lovins was a pragmatic inspiration for our State, and with that inspiration Western Australia has taken a leap toward genuine economic sustainability through natural capitalism and the design of a hyper-efficient economy."
Andrew Higham, Policy Officer, WA Department of Premier and Cabinet





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

 
 

Section 1 - The Need for a New Paradigm

Forewards by Amory Lovins, Bill McDonough, Alan AtKisson, Hunter Lovins and Michael Fairbanks.
Preface from the Editors
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1 Progress, competitiveness and sustainability
2 Significant potential for resource productivity improvements
3 Creating competitive advantage of the firm
4 A critical mass of enabling technologies
5 Externalities: who pays?
6 Benefits of valuing nature
7 Implications and benefits for global development
Chapter 2: Risks of Inaction on Sustainable Development
1 A great transition
2 A sense of urgency
3 Declining ecosystems: a new limiting factor for growth?
4 Can we replicate nature's services?
Chapter 3: Asking the Right Questions
1 How should we measure growth?
2 What is meant when we speak of 'sustainability' and 'sustainable development'?
2.1 Achieving sustainable genuine progress or sustainable development
3 Can we achieve no major trade-offs and win-win opportunities?
4 How do nations measure progress?
5 How do we design for legacy?
6 Can we turn 'vicious cycles' into 'virtuous circles'?
Chapter 4: A Dynamic 'Platform for Change'
1 Economic policy: the broader context
1.1 The invisible hand
1.2 Collaborative approaches
2 Tripartite world
3 Whole of society approach
3.1 Importance of capacity building
Chapter 5: Thinking Locally, Acting Globally
1 Thinking Locally, Acting Globally
Appendix 1: Sample of Resources to Support Section 1
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Succinct Introductory Online Materials
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Inspiring Publications
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A Whole of Society Approach to Sustainable Development
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Examples of Leadership
Business Sector
Banking Sector
Governments
Scientists
Engineers
Scientific and Engineering Research Institutions
State Governments
Civil Society
Education Sector
Universities
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Sample of inspiring leadership from around the world
Japan
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Charters and Declarations The Earth Charter
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Partnerships/Initiatives to Strengthen the Implementation of Agenda 21
 

Succinct Introductory Online Materials

 

Factor of Ten: A Future Worth Having (ANU, Australia)

In 2002, Australia 's National University (ANU) conducted a month long symposium called A Factor of 10: A Future Worth Having. The symposium provided a forum for discussion and learning around how we can work together to create a future worth having. The booklet created for the symposium as an introductory piece explains many of the concepts central to sustainable development, as well as introducing the notion of a whole-of-society approach to sustainable development.

Download Booklet | View website

 

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) (Canada)

For development to be sustainable it must integrate environmental stewardship, economic development and the well-being of all people, not just for today, but for countless generations to come. This is the challenge facing governments, non-governmental organizations, private enterprises, communities and individuals. IISD's website provides up to date information on how to achieve this.

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Inspiring Publications

 

Natural Advantage: Blueprint For A Sustainable Future  

In 2002, The World Summit on Sustainable Development asked all nations to prepare an Agenda 21 Blueprint for their nation. With increasing recognition that we need to encourage integrated approaches between business, government and civil society, the Australian Conservation Foundation's Natural Advantage is a document that seeks to inspire such integrated approaches.

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Natural Capitalism: The Next Industrial Revolution, Hawken, P., Lovins, A. & Lovins, H. (1999)
This seminal work features literally hundreds of case studies that demonstrate the multiple benefits to business of: 

   1. increasing resource productivity and operational efficiency;

   2. using biologically inspired production models, such as closed loop production     systems;

   3. developing new business models based on value and service; and

   4. reinvesting in natural capital.

Running throughout their book is the message that, through whole system design and resource efficiencies, companies can "tunnel through the cost barriers". They demonstrated that big energy and resource savings can often cost less than small energy and resource savings. Containing thousands of fully referenced inspiring case studies, the authors have generously made the book freely downloadable.
Download Book Summary | Download Chapters | View website

'The Next Industrial Revolution' (1998) by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, The Atlantic Monthly, October 1998

Albert Einstein wrote, "The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation". Many people believe that new industrial revolutions are already taking place, with the rise of cyber-technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. It is true that these are powerful tools for change, but they are only tools: hyper-efficient engines for the steamship of the first Industrial Revolution. Similarly, eco-efficiency is a valuable and laudable tool, and a prelude to what should come next. However, it too fails to move us beyond the first revolution. It is time for designs that are creative, abundant, prosperous and intelligent from the start.
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Is it possible for a green economy to have high economic performance? From the perspective of a different economic model, by Phillip Sutton, Director, Green Innovations Inc.

"In the public mind, environmentalists and developers don't agree on much. However over the last two or three decades there has been agreement on one thing: that the more you do for the environment the worse off the economy will be or the more you promote development the worse off the environment will be. That is, major trade-offs are required between the two objectives and there is no possibility of significant win-win outcomes. The result of this shared belief is that governments, R&D institutions and firms have not been encouraged to explore economically feasible and desirable paths to an ecologically sustainable economy. There are however very strong grounds for believing that the traditional view of greenies and developers is wrong, that win-win outcomes are possible, even if society pursues the very strong environmental policies implicit in a commitment to ecological sustainability."

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The Need for A New Paradigm: Our Common Future

The apparent conflict between the interests of economic development and those of the environment has created problems globally.  In 1983 the United Nations appointed an international commission to propose strategies for 'sustainable development': ways to improve human well-being in the short term without threatening the local and global environment in the long term. The Commission was chaired by Norwegian Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, and it's report, Our Common Future *, published in 1987, was widely known as 'The Brundtland Report'.  This landmark work helped initiate a wide range of actions, including  the UN ' Earth Summits '  in 1992 and 2002*, the International Climate Change Convention, and worldwide ' Agenda 21 ' programmes. 

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A Whole of Society Approach to Sustainable Development

 

Response to Rio +10 and Agenda 21

A generation of ecologists and engineers from around the globe has worked on sustainable development since 1972. This was the year when the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment occurred and UNESCO conducted the first metabolism study that measured the material and energy flows of a city in order to assist in the adoption of sustainable development practices. There is, however, widespread recognition that in spite of excellent work, the past decade has disappointed initial hopes for the extent of Agenda 21's implementation. Numerous pioneers have implemented Factor 4 or even Factor 10, but again these new methods are rarely being taken up rapidly enough, let alone guaranteeing permanent systemic change.

 

So how can we, the next generation, ensure that the next thirty years differ from the previous thirty? There have been significant obstacles to change. This project will demonstrate that our strategies in the past have been limited, that the environment movement's areas of focus have been too narrow, and that growing awareness of the need to live sustainably is now enabling broader alliances, networks, and strategies.

 

In the last ten to thirty years significant shifts have occurred in many countries, especially in Europe, from which 'ecological takeoff' is now possible. In addition, there is now a wealth of methodology, underlying science and eco-innovation, as well as a growing consensus across many sectors as to what attaining sustainability requires.

 

We argue, however, that even this is not enough: if we are to achieve a significant shift in the next 30 to 50 years, we need a whole-of-society approach that engages constructively with all stakeholders. We argue that this is the real spirit of Agenda 21 that so clearly outlined how each sector, each profession could play their part to help create a sustainable future. Fortunately, we are not alone in thinking this. Rather, business, government, civil society and educational institutions are increasingly demonstrating a preparedness to act. This will allow the development of as yet unseen partnerships and integrated approaches to addressing the complex challenge of sustainable development.

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Leadership from the Business Sector


World Business Council For Sustainable Development
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Business Council of Australia
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Environment Business Australia
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Barton Group
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The Commonwealth Government of Australia 's Environmental Industry Action Agenda
The Government seeks to make Australia more competitive by working closely with industry to identify new opportunities for growth. The Department has programs to assist the growth of key industry sectors, and is also engaged in future arrangements for some established industries.
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Australian Council of Infrastructure and Development (AusCID)Sustainability Framework Report, 2003
AusCID CEO, Dennis O'Neill, presented the recently developed handbook entitled Sustainability Framework for the Future of Australia's Infrastructure at the Business Leaders Forum for Sustainable Development held in Sydney on the 29th of May, 2003. This document forms the basis of a campaign by AusCID to incorporate sustainability aspects into infrastructure planning and development in all levels of government and among the Council's membership. The handbook is AusCID's contribution towards developing a new framework for the development of national infrastructure that takes account of its environmental and social, as well as economic aspects.
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Leadership from the Banking Sector

 

Equator Principles
In October 2002, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) convened a meeting of banks in London to discuss environmental and social issues in project finance. At that meeting, the banks present decided to try to develop a banking industry framework for addressing environmental and social risks in project financing. This led to the drafting of the Equator Principles. These principles have been signed by twenty-two banks which in total are responsible for over 60% of all the loans to developing countries.
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Leadership from the World Bank

World Development Report 2003: Sustainable Development in a Dynamic World
"The next 50 years could see a fourfold increase in the size of the global economy and significant reductions in poverty, but only if governments act now to avert a growing risk of severe damage to the environment and profound social unrest. Without better policies and institutions, social and environmental strains may derail development progress, leading to higher poverty levels and a decline in the quality of life for everybody."
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Leadership from Governments

Millennium Development Goals: A Compact Among Nations to End Human Poverty (UNDP)
In 2000, 189 governments from around the world agreed to support the UN's Millennium Development Goals. "The range of human development in the world is vast and uneven, with astounding progress in some areas amidst stagnation and dismal decline in others. Balance and stability in the world will require the commitment of all nations, rich and poor, and a global development compact to extend the wealth of possibilities to all people."
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Further Development Resources
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Leadership from Scientists

 

The Science of Climate Change 
Recognising the problem of potential global climate change, in 1988 the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations' Environment Programme (UNEP) established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The role of the IPCC is to assess the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change. It does not carry out new research, nor does it monitor climate related data. It bases its assessment mainly on published and peer reviewed scientific and technical literature. The reports from the IPCC are used in global climate negotiations. Their findings have been corroborated by the USA National Academy of Sciences and all other national scientific academies to date.
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Leadership from Engineers

 

The World Federation of Engineering Organisation's Sustainable Development Report for WSSD, 2002

The World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), was established in 1968 with the support of UNESCO. The WFEO currently represents an estimated 15 million engineers. ComTech is the WFEO Standing Committee on Technology. Its purpose is the sharing, transferring and assessment of technology with a strong emphasis on sustainable development.
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The World Federation of Engineering Organization's Rio +5 Reports
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Leadership from the Professions: Engineers Australia
"The achievement of sustainability objectives will require holistic actions by all sections of society (personal, business, political and legal), and will require considerable cultural change to societal customs and aspirations. This necessitates the development of transitional pathways from the present situation to the preferred future." Institution of Engineers Australia Sustainable Energy Taskforce Report, August 2001.

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Leadership from Scientific and Engineering Research Institutions

 

Commonwealth Scientific and Industry Research Organization (CSIRO)
CSIRO's strategic plans, reports and goals.
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CSIRO's Sustainability Network: Elizabeth Heij (Facilitator)
"My thinking behind the Network is that the creativity needed to build more sustainable pathways of development lives not just in "temples of knowledge" but within individuals in all age groups and all levels, right across the world community - and information is the fuel to fire it up! Change is too important and too urgent to depend entirely on the top-level decision makers of today; we need dialog at all levels - and especially with the decision makers of tomorrow. I therefore deliberately keep newsletter content broadly interdisciplinary."

The Network has a CSIRO Intranet site and a public-access website with back-issues of newsletters are available. Simply click on the link below.
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Leadership from State Governments

Queensland's Sustainable Industries Division of the EPA
The TNEP Secretariat would like to formally thank Dr John Cole, Director, Sustainable Industries Division (SID), Environmental Protection Agency Queensland, for recently committing to support TNEP by becoming a Project Partner. We would also like to thank Cheryl Paten, a member of the TNEP working group, for her lead in developing this relationship. The SID is a solutions-driven EPA initiative at the forefront in assisting Queensland industry achieve higher levels of environmental performance while boosting profitability and competitiveness. Through voluntary partnership arrangements, business assistance programs and information facilities, the SID has helped industry and communities better integrate business and environmental decision making in the achievement of eco-efficiency, innovation and business growth. Program focus areas include the agri-business and food processing sectors and also the urban development and the built environment industries. Major programs have been delivered in cleaner production, renewable energy rebates, water recycling and greenhouse gas abatement. The Division is currently re-organising its activities into three signature programs: WasteWise Queensland, EnergyWise Queensland, and WaterWise Queensland.
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Western Australian State Sustainability Strategy
The first government in Australia to develop a truly integrated whole of government, partnership driven approach to sustainable development is the Western Australian (WA) Government. This arose partly from business demands for clear frameworks within which to operate. The WA Government has also shown extraordinary leadership in running the 3rd conference of the Regional Government Network for Sustainable Development in September, 2003.

Conference: View website
Strategy: Download PDF | View website

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Leadership from Civil Society

 

The Australian Collaboration
The Australian Collaboration is a group of leading civil society bodies within Australia working towards a just and sustainable Australia . It comprises six NGO's and ATSIC: They the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS); the National Council of Churches of Australia (NCCA); the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council (FECCA); the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF); the Australian Consumers Association (ACA); and the Australian Council for Overseas Aid (ACFOA). They have worked together to create a 100 page report which: describes key social, cultural and environmental issues facing Australia ; explains why new policies and initiatives are needed; and makes sixteen specific and four overarching recommendations.
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Leadership from the Education Sector

 

UN Decade of Education in Sustainable Development: 2005-2015

The World Summit on Sustainable Development recommended to the United Nations General Assembly that "it consider adopting a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development starting in 2005" (para. 117d, Plan of Implementation). In December 2002, resolution 57/254 on the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, beginning 1 January 2005 , was adopted by consensus. The resolution was introduced by Japan and co-sponsored by 46 countries. The UN General Assembly's resolution designated UNESCO as the lead agency for the promotion of the Decade and requested the organization to develop a draft international implementation scheme.

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Leadership from Universities

 

UNESCO's Global Higher Education For Sustainability Partnership Initiative

UNESCO's GHESP initiative describes itself as "Four international organisations with a strong commitment to making sustainability a major focus of higher)".  The four founding partners of the Global Higher Education for Sustainability Partnership (GHESP) initiative: the International Association of Universities (IAU : www.unesco.org/iau ); the University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (ULSF: www.ulsf.org/ ); COPERNICUS-CAMPUS ( www.copernicus-campus.org/ ); and UNESCO have combined forces in a unique effort to mobilise universities and higher education institutions to support sustainable development in response to Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 ( www.unep.org/Documents/ ).  A memorandum of understanding has been signed to undertake joint actions in the area of higher education and sustainable development.  The partnership came about as a result of the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), and in anticipation of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).  GHESP was extended for a further five year period in September 2002 in order to implement a renewed action plan. In total there are over 1000 Universities who are formally members of the UNESCO GHESP initiative.

 

RMIT Global Sustainability Institute
Global Sustainability is an emerging agenda that impacts on all of us. Globalisation, together with revolutions in information, communications, environmental and community awareness and action are driving corporate leaders, politicians and citizens to address the future in new and very different ways. RMIT Global Sustainability (GS@RMIT) has been established to develop these concepts in practical ways so they can be applied to the work of RMIT itself, and to organisations in the private and public sectors. Drawing on RMIT's academic expertise, research capabilities and extensive network of external partners in Australia and overseas, the Centre will assist RMIT and others to become working models of Global Sustainability.
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ANU's National Institute For Environment

The National Institute for Environment (NIE) aims to foster research and education to create an environmental future worth having. NIE brings together environmental teaching and research from the Australian National University 's diverse schools, centres and faculties. In conjunction with the Australian and international community NIE's members are providing practical solutions for environmental challenges. The NIE has the following:

•  Deliver practical options for environmental challenges

•  Communicate with the Australian and international community

•  Foster social and financial support for environmental research and education

•  Enhance educational outcomes and employment prospects for students

•  Bring together and support ANU staff and students to work on environmental themes.

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Sample of inspiring leadership from around the world

 

Japan

 

Japan For Sustainability

Japan for Sustainability provides a variety of information on the environment and sustainability, both from Japan and globally, via their web site and e-mail magazines. They work to develop special partnerships with people in Asia in order to cooperate to find paths toward sustainability in their region. They welcome feedback and comments from overseas and share them in Japan and with their partners in Asia , so that efforts and activities in the region can be improved by learning from each other.

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Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (Japan)

"Established in 1998, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) is an independent, not for profit think tank, based in Japan , that goes beyond research to provide practical ways to protect the earth's environment and to realize greater sustainability and equity in the global community. While the outlook of IGES is global, the principal geographical scope of its activities is Asia and the Pacific region, an area which is experiencing rapid economic development and which will affect the global environment through its population growth, urban environmental problems and other environmental issues. The IGES mission is to move human society to become more environmentally and socio-economically sustainable."

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UN Centre For Technology Transfer (Japan)

In May 1991, UNEP's Governing Council took a decision to further strengthen its role in sustainable urban and freshwater basin management by calling for the creation of an International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC). The Centre was inaugurated in October, 1992, in Japan and its Osaka and Shiga offices officially opened in April, 1994. The IETC state that they "pay specific attention to urban environmental problems such as water supply, sewage, solid waste, energy, loss of green and natural spaces, urban sprawl, land contamination, traffic, transport, air pollution and noise. With urban populations growing two and a half times faster than its rural counterpart, the UN estimates that the level of urban population will cross the 50 percent mark in 2005. By 2025, more than three fifths of the world's population will live in urban areas. The urban population in that year will be approximately 5.2 billion, of whom 77 percent will live in developing countries."

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Zero Emissions Research Initiative (Japan)

The ZERI Foundation was established in October, 1996, in response to the need to translate ideas, visions and scientific knowledge into concrete projects. The ZERI Foundation's goal is the efficient production of all the goods and services society needs without any form of waste: no liquid waste, no gaseous waste, and no solid waste. This goal is the basis of a new zero emissions production and consumption model that imitates nature (the output from one becomes the input for another), and is more competitive and more productive. By eliminating waste, we can respond to the pressing need of all humanity for water, food, health care, shelter, energy, and jobs, without destroying the ecosystem. This is not just theory, but is being implemented and serves as a basis for inspiration and hope.

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Charters and Declarations

 

The Earth Charter
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Partnerships/Initiatives to Strengthen the Implementation of Agenda 21

 

Partnerships and initiatives to implement Agenda 21 are expected to become one of the major outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. These 'second type' of outcomes consisted of a series of commitments and action-oriented coalitions focused on deliverables and would contribute in translating political commitments into action.

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