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

"What is shaping how the world evolves today?... Not any one individual but rather a network of people and organisations who are planting ideas of interdependency and sustainability that will transform how our larger systems work in the future. We don't need a new world president who will make it all work out for us. We need many people who do things with awareness that we're all interdependent."
Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline

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


Section 5 - A National Collaborative Approach

1 Consumption and low impact affluence
2 Patterns of consumption are a global issue
3 Policy approaches and action
3.1 Summary of policy approaches for sustainable consumption
4 Industry attention and action
5 Strategies for the future
5.1 Clarifying the focus for action on consumption
5.2 Developing better indicators
5.3 An alternative conceptual approach for describing systems of production and consumption
5.4 Enhancing the potential of limited, localized actions
5.5 Improving products and services: the logical focus for production and consumption
5.6 The overall strategic goal: leapfrog to new systems of products and services
Chapter 22 - Changing Hearts and Minds: The Role of Education
1 The need for critical literacies in sustainability
2 Sustainable development in schools  (Anna McKenzie)
2.1 Constructive environmental education
2.2 Adding value not load
3 Key role of higher education and the professions
2.2 Harnessing universities' research capacity
2.2 Partnering with professional bodies to build capacity
4 The power of individuals
Chapter 23 - Achieving Multi-stakeholder Engagement
1 What is multi-stakeholder engagement?
2.1 Where does multi-stakeholder engagement fit in?
2.1 Current issues with multi-stakeholder processes
2.1 Looking forward: multi-stakeholder process design
2.1 Engaging the spirit
2 Introducing the Pyramid: a versatile process and planning tool for accelerating sustainable development through multi-stakeholder engagement Alan AtKisson
2.1 What is the Pyramid?
2.1 How the Pyramid process works
3 Building a network around a project: The Natural Edge Project Karlson 'Charlie' Hargroves, Michael H. Smith, Cheryl Paten and Nick Palousis
Additional Material
  UN WSSD Framework for Sustainable Consumption and Cleaner Production
  UN Decade of Education in Sustainable Development
  Schools Leading the Way
  Universities Leading the Way
  Professional Bodies Leading the Way
  Industry leading by Example
  Civil Society Leading the Way



(Extract from Book)

... Yukiko Fukasaku wrote for the OECD in 1999 that " It used to be taken for granted that economic growth entailed parallel growth in resource consumption, and to a certain extent, environmental degradation. However, the experience of the last decades indicates that economic growth and resource consumption and environmental degradation can be decoupled to a considerable extent. The path towards sustainable development entails accelerating this decoupling process ... ie transforming what we produce and how we produce it ".


Increasing eco-efficiency remains the strategy for sustainable production, at least in the short term, which has the strongest support of industry. In many areas it has been remarkably successful allowing a partial decoupling of economic growth from physical growth of the economy and negative environmental load. However with the global spread of western consumption patterns there is evidence that consumption and GDP is growing at a faster rate than improvements in resource or energy efficiency.


In other words consumption is outpacing the gains from improvements in production and products, which in most OECD countries has been significant. There is also increasing evidence of negative rebound effects, in which improvements in efficiency actually become a stimulus for increased consumption.


What is the solution to this sense that currently for every one step forward there are two steps back? This section provides answers to this question. This section starts with the most authoritative and comprehensive framework for sustainable consumption and production that we could find written by Professor Chris Ryan for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.


One of the key recommendations from this report is the importance of education for sustainability to change hearts and empower minds. The rest of the section describes some inspiring stories of where Schools, Universities and other educational bodies are succeeding in making a difference. The section highlights the key role that professional bodies can play. Industry bodies as well can play a leading role in educating their members. An example of this is shown here in the leadership from the Australian Council of Infrastructure and Development. Science bodies like CSIRO also recognize that they have a role to play in education for sustainability and publish magazines like ECOS-Towards A Sustainable Future and run the CSIRO Sustainability network newsletters freely for all ages.


This section also highlights the role that broader civil society can play to lead to assist to help educate and update politicians on these complex issues through relevant succinct publications. For instance please pass onto your politicians the publications of The Australian Collaboration and freely downloadable ACF's Natural Advantage: Blueprint For A Sustainable Australia...


UN WSSD Framework for Sustainable Consumption and Cleaner Production Report 2002

Development, prosperity, wealth - the economic, social, cultural and environmental factors that underpin our sense of quality of life - are dependent, ultimately, on the structure of our systems of production and consumption. This report examines progress and the status of the area at the time of the World Summit on Sustainable Development - August-September 2002. It examines whether the issues of concern in 1992 at Rio are still relevant today.
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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 United Nations 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 United Nations General Assembly resolution designated UNESCO as the lead agency for the promotion of the Decade and requested the organization develop a draft international implementation scheme .

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Schools Leading the Way

Australian Federal Government's Environmental Education National Action Plan and the National Environmental Education Council.

The National Environmental Education Council is a non-statutory body providing expert advice to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage and Environment Australia on the effectiveness and profile of the Commonwealth's environmental education activities and environmental education issues generally.
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SCRAP (School Communities Recycling All Paper) 

The SCRAP network has great resources for Schools. SCRAP stands for School Communities Recycling All Paper. They are a non-profit body. They exist to help schools, other educational, government, non-profit bodies and private individuals and companies become environmentally-friendly and encourage you - whether you are a student, a teacher or a member of the wider community - to understand how to do this better.

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The Gould League

The Gould League is Australia 's oldest environmental education organisation. They have been educating children, schools and the general community about conservation and the environment for over 90 years. The Gould League has pioneered the development of outcomes-based environmental education through activity programs, resources and website development. The creative team at the Gould League continues to have an impact on the actions of the community, in the areas of waste minimisation, wildlife and environment conservation, and developing sustainable lifestyles. Over one million Australians have joined the Gould League since 1909.

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Australian Association for Environmental Education

The Australian Association for Environmental Education is the peak professional association for environmental educators in Australia . Welcome to our website. Please browse our site and consider joining us. We provide networking and information exchange between the environmental education community in Australia, take a look at the About AAEE page for more information on what we offer our members.

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Sustainable Schools

Sustainable Schools integrates sustainability education into a holistic program with measurable environmental, economic, educational and social outcomes. The program implements improvement in a school's management of resources and grounds (including energy, waste, water, biodiversity, landscape design, products and materials) and integrates this approach into the existing curriculum and daily running of the school. The program is action based and involves the whole school community in the sustainable management of the school. Sustainable Schools does not replace other environmental education initiatives in schools. It links to and complements existing environmental education programs such as Energy Smart Schools , WasteWise, Waterwatch, Waterwise and Landcare.


The Initiative supports Goal 1.7 of The Adelaide Declaration on National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty First Century (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, 1999), which states, "Schooling should develop fully the talents and capacities of all students. In particular when students leave school they should have an understanding of, and concern for, stewardship of the natural environment, and the knowledge and skills to contribute to ecologically sustainable development." The Australian Government has committed $2 million to the initiative over four years.

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ACT Department of Education's Year 9 Exhibition Project
The ACT government in Australia has already started to do this with their Year 9 Exhibitions projects. Unless the next generation are critical thinkers making choices on the products they buy based on more than simply convenience and cost the planet is in trouble. Innovative educational initiatives that add value, not load to schools, will be discussed in section five of this book.
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'Special Forever': a rural sustainability capacity building and realisation program

'Special forever' is another way of saying 'a quality sustainable future'. The 'Special forever' environmental education literacy program involves children discussing, writing and producing artwork about what is environmentally and socially important to them. It takes place in primary school English classes throughout the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia . The work is shared with local communities, other primary school children, and sometimes with regional and national audiences through a range of publications, and radio and television exposure. 'Special forever' commenced in 1993 as a partnership between the Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC) and the Primary English Teaching Association (PETA). Since that time, this voluntary program has involved more than 50 per cent of all primary schools in the million square kilometre Murray-Darling Basin . It generally involves 30-38,000 children each year and was a key component in the MDBC's multi-faceted communication strategy designed to contribute to the achievement of environmental and socio-cultural sustainability in the Murray-Darling Basin .

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Universities Leading the Way


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 education". The four founding partners of the Global Higher Education for Sustainability Partnership (GHESP) initiative: the International Association of Universities (IAU:; the University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (ULSF:; COPERNICUS-CAMPUS (; 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( 


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 that are formally members of the UNESCO GHESP initiative.

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The Key role of Universities explained  

Tim Flannery recently launched the 'Universities and Sustainability' TELA Paper, published by the Australian Conservation Foundation Tela series, to a packed audience at Melbourne University last week. The paper argues that Universities are a key institution that will in large part determine whether society achieves sustainability or not.
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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 goals:


- 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



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Professions leading the way in Education For Sustainable Development


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 Engineers: 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.


Engineers Australia 's: Sustainability Taskforce Reports
Engineers Australia is Australia 's largest and most diverse engineering association helping its 70,000 members achieve their personal and professional goals. The Policy Unit produces publications on a wide range of issues including;

Towards a Sustainable Energy Future: Setting the Directions and Framework for Change, August 2001.
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Sustainable Energy Innovation in the Commercial Buildings Sector, November 2001.
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Sustainable Transport: Responding To the Challenges, November 1999.
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Industry Leading By Example


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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ECOS, Australia 's most authoritative magazine on sustainability in the environment, industry and community is published bi-monthly by CSIRO both in print and online. Recognised for 30 years of excellence in environmental science reporting, ECOS now brings you lively, incisive articles on key sustainability research and issues from across Australia and the Asia Pacific region. ECOS is for anyone interested in an environmentally sustainable future - a resource for professionals and students alike, and for community, education, business and government libraries.

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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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Civil Society leading the way in Education for Sustainable Development

A Just and Sustainable Australia
The Australian Collaboration is a group of leading Civil Society Bodies within Australia working towards a Just and Sustainable Australia. 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 sets of specific and four overarching recommendations.
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Online National Agenda 21 Blueprint for Australia

The Natural Advantage: Blueprint For A Sustainable Australia website, developed by the Australian Conservation Foundation with over 60 contributors from numerous organizations in Australia , is a fully costed blueprint for achieving sustainability in Australia . It provides a thorough overview of the range of mechanisms available to governments to enable them to work in partnership with business and civil society to achieve sustainable development.

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Greenleap email list

Hosted in Australia , Greenleap is a list for people interested in leapfrogging rapidly to an ecologically sustainable economy. The list is for the exchange of 'info gems' rather than open-ended chat. The strengths of the list includes the very high quality/information content of the messages and their strategic focus and spread. The list currently has over 1000 subscribers. The list was started in May 1997. The list is run by Philip Sutton, Director of Green Innovations Inc. - a not-for-profit think tank.

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