I would like to invite you to take part in the ‘Taking Care of Business: Sustainable Transformation’ Conference on the Gold Coast this September.

Join the Australian and International sustainability business community as they gather at this key industry event. The Conference host organisation is committed to ensuring that the highest calibre of plenary and symposium speakers attend this meeting, and have already confirmed participation of some outstanding speakers. This year the streams dedicated to commercialisation will feature case studies by start-up companies; how to take a product from discovery to market; capital raising; IP; regulatory issues; and more.

 There will be two networking functions to maximise business and learning prospects. The Conference will offer free wireless internet to all delegates and exhibitors at the Conference and free broadband in accommodation rooms. We will be conducting an online Business to Business Forum, which enables registered delegates, presenters and exhibitors to network before, during and after the Conference. This will create an opportunity for delegates to set meeting times at the conference with other delegates or exhibitors and to maintain contact post event. It also provides an avenue for professionals to enter into a dialogue before the event and maintain one afterwards thereby maximising the business and learning opportunities raised by the Conference.

I invite you to join me, together with the Conference Committee, in learning from our keynote speakers and their analyses, what is being done, and what needs to be done to better meet the sustainable needs of the industry and consumers. With their input, and our interactive Conference program, we can be guided in our efforts to examine the efficacy of existing programmes in order to efficiently meet current and future needs. I look forward to seeing you at the Gold Coast for the ‘Taking Care of Business: Sustainable Transformation Conference’.

Sincerely Lani Sullivan

CEO – Association for Sustainability in Business Inc

http://sustainabilitybusiness.com.au/Conference2011

SPECIAL REPORT: Sustainability & Innovation

February 10, 2011

MIT Sloan Management Review

How fast are businesses adopting sustainability-driven management? New study results reveal two distinct camps: ’embracers’ and ‘cautious adopters.’ And the practices of the embracers may be providing a snapshot of how the management future will look. 

This report on the second annual Sustainability & Innovation Global Executive Study by MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group reveals two distinct camps of companies: “embracers” — those who place sustainability high on their agenda — and “cautious adopters,” who have yet to focus on more than energy cost savings, material efficiency, and risk mitigation. The report identifies seven specific practices exhibited by embracer companies, which together begin to define sustainability-driven management. These include the need to move early, even if you don’t have complete information; to be authentic and transparent both internally and with the external stakeholders; and to work aggressively to “de-silo” sustainability, integrating it throughout company operations.

Findings:

 • Improved brand reputation is perceived as the biggest benefit of addressing sustainability.

• Automotive is seen as the industry for which sustainability is most critical now.

• The commitment of the cautious adopters to sustainability is increasing at a far faster rate than that of the embracers.

• Most companies — whether currently embracers or not — are looking toward a world where sustainability is becoming a mainstream, if not required, part of the business strategy.

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This topic will be further explored and discussed at the Association for Sustainability in Business Conference titled, ‘Taking Care of Business: Sustainable Transformations’ on the Gold Coast in September 2011.

Mr Mark Dwyer, Hobart City Council

Tobacco smoking remains the single greatest preventable cause of illness and death in Australia and the prevalence of smokers in Tasmania is higher than the national average. Research shows that there is no safe level of tobacco consumption and no safe level of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). The Hobart City Council has taken a local government leadership role and introduced smoke free public places in Hobart’s CBD. The smoke free areas include two pedestrian malls and a bus mall. The level of acceptance and compliance to date has been quite staggering. However there are some essential steps to take to successfully introduce public programs that reduce tobacco related harms.

This abstract was submitted for the 4th Healthy Cities: Making Cities Liveable Conference. Join the discussion and submit an abstract at http://www.healthycities.com.au/abstracts.html

Five of six of the largest Venture Capital fundraising rounds in 2010 went to cleantech companies, based on data from Thomson Reuters:

– Better Place: $350 million for electric car charging infrastructure

– Solyndra: $175 in convertible debt for unique solar PV panels

– BrightSource Energy: $150 million for solar thermal projects

– Abound Solar: $110 million for solar thin-film

– Trilliant: $105 million for smart grid networking

Better Place even beat Twitter’s recently announced $200 million investment. 

Worldwide cleantech investments peaked at $11.8 billion in 2008, then dropped off significantly to $6.8 billion in 2009, but thanks to strong growth during the last quarters of in 2010, the year ended with $8.8 billion in total investment (Bloomberg New Energy Finance).

And smaller, earlier stage companies are finding investors again. The average investment size is hovering around $12 million, according to Kachan & Co., a cleantech analysis and consulting firm. That’s still a high figure, beating average round sizes for US biotech ($8.7M), medical devices ($7M) and software ($5M) companies, based on U.S. National Venture Capital Association data.  

IPOs and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are also up in recent months.

The drivers of cleantech remain in tact and will be felt more acutely this year: resource scarcity around oil, rare earth elements, water and commodities generally; the need for energy independence, greater efficiency, and climate change.

“We believe continued growth in Asia and the ongoing push for resource efficiency will make 2011 a record year for cleantech innovation financing,” said Sheeraz Haji, CEO of Cleantech Group.

Dozens of venture capital funds have been announced in the past month, including the NER300 Fund in Europe ($12.4 billion,  China’s Hony Capital $1.5 billion fund, and another $500 million from the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS).

As in 2010, Efficiency, which includes smart grid, will be the dominant investment sector this year, as investors seek less capital intensive deals. Rising commodity prices will also benefit companies that recover and recycle materials such as steel and precious metals.  The other continuing theme is China, the largest, fastest market for cleantech. Companies that seek investments need to have traction in China.

Although efficiency was the most popular sector last year with 151 deals, solar received the highest dollar amounts (24%) on 117 deals, followed by Transportation (17%), and Energy Efficiency (14%).

01/31/2011 Sustainable News.com

Coca-Cola, Kraft and Procter & Gamble are among the latest companies to join voluntary U.K. pledges to reduce packaging and waste.

The companies signed the Courtauld Commitment, set by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP). The commitment says that companies will reduce the carbon impact of their grocery packaging by 10 percent, reduce household food and drink waste by four percent, and reduce grocery product and packaging waste by five percent.

Other companies joining this week include Associated British Foods and Premier Foods, bringing the total number of committed companies up to 48.

Some areas of Queensland are so flood-prone they should never have been built on and should be declared no-go zones, according to an international disaster expert, Professor Ed Blakely, who says extreme weather events are becoming increasingly more frequent and far more devastating. While the Institute for Sustainable Development’s Professor George Earl says the flooding disaster underlines the need for adequate infrastructure to deal with the effects of climate change. “Areas which were prestigious in previous generations now are those very properties which are at most risk because of climate change and rising tidal waters”.

Professor Ed Blakely will keynote at the Healthy Cities Conference in Noosa in June 2011

Karen Kissane in The Age (15 January 2011):

An economist on Queensland’s Gold Coast says the Brisbane floods have highlighted the challenges that can confront waterfront property owners. Riverfront homes were among the thousands of properties inundated in south-east Queensland last week.  Around 180 real estate professionals from around the world are discussing the impact of climate change on property developments at a conference at Bond University this week.

The director of the Institute for Sustainable Development at Bond University, Professor George Earl, says the disaster underlines the need for adequate infrastructure to deal with the effects of climate change. “Areas which were prestigious in previous generations now are those very properties which are at most risk because of climate change and rising tidal waters etc,” he said. “I don’t think they will become less desirable or even less valuable – I think what it will do is heighten the emphasis on sustainable infrastructure. “There are some areas which have gone under in the last few days up in Brisbane which are quite OK to be built on.

“It is just that in fact we have to understand the infrastructure that’s needed not to protect just them, but the city in general has to be upgraded. “We have to do more significant work in terms of understanding the issues of climate change on real estate.” However, he says last week’s floods will not cause long-term damage to Brisbane property values. Professor Earl says the damage will not make south-east Queensland any less desirable to home-buyers or dramatically reduce prices. “In the short-term, it will probably stagnate them and probably make them go back somewhat,” he said. “But I think that as we start handling better the issues of climate change and real estate and urban planning, Brisbane and the Gold Coast will still be beautiful places to live.

By Charmaine Kane for ABC (17 January 2011):

PepsiCo UK plans to make all its packaging renewable, recyclable or bio-degradable, as part of further sustainability targets to “radically” reduce its impact on the environment.

In its second environmental sustainability report, PepsiCo UK looked at climate change, agriculture, water use, its products and how the company works with others, to drive change within the business.

The food and drink manufacture plans to introduce FSC paper-based packaging to its Quaker and Walkers brands within three years as part of its plan to make all packaging renewable, recyclable or bio-degradable by 2018.

The packing material is currently being trialled on its premium Red Sky crisps.

The firm claims to have reduced total waste to landfill by 71% and achieved zero waste to landfill at nine factories.

PepsiCo also aims to be fossil fuel free by 2023 and make sure all the energy used within its manufacturing and distribution comes from renewable sources within 15 years.

One measure it will make is to replace its entire delivery fleet with low-emissions vehicles.

Richard Evans, president of PepsiCo UK and Ireland says: “For me, the business case is clear; building sustainability into our corporate DNA cuts costs, drives innovation, reduces risk and motivates employees. My challenge over the next few years will be to truly embed sustainability into every aspect of our business.”

Jessica Marszalek – AAP

Queensland’s landfill rubbish will be cut by half within 10 years through support for recycling businesses and a new waste levy, the state government hopes.

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones on Wednesday launched the Queensland Waste Strategy, which, it’s hoped, will make Queenslanders think twice before throwing things away.

Under the plan, a levy will apply to commercial, industrial, construction and demolition waste and some soils from July 2011 to discourage interstate waste disposal and encourage less waste generation.

The levy will fund $159 million in incentives for businesses that invest in recycling technologies or find ways to reduce their waste over the next four years.

And a $120 million Sustainable Future Fund will help local governments improve their waste management facilities and practices.

Ms Jones said other programs were being investigated, like government funding for recycling bins at small businesses.

There will also be a focus on better preventing illegal dumping and helping households recycle green waste, rather than binning it.

Ms Jones said a business plan, to be released in February, would provide more detail for achieving the Waste Strategy’s goals.

It’s hoped the strategy will reduce waste generation by 400kg for every Queenslander by 2020, equating to a total reduction in the generation of waste of more than two million tonnes.

Ms Jones said Queensland was one of the largest generators of waste in Australia and one of the worst recyclers.

“We produce more than 32 million tonnes of it every single year, which is the highest amount of waste per capita of any state,” she said.

“… We will strive for a waste management system where recycling is the first option over landfill and more unwanted materials are given a new life by someone else.”

The strategy has been welcomed by environmentalists and industry.

Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) executive director Toby Hutcheon said it was estimated more than $350 million of wasted resources went to landfill each year.

“With a levy in place and programs to support resource recovery, this waste should be dramatically reduced, creating new economic and job opportunities in every region with a levy,” he said.

Ai Group Queensland director Matthew Martyn-Jones said businesses wanted good environmental practices and the fund would help them put in the necessary infrastructure.

“There is strong enthusiasm from industry to drive down the amount of waste sent to landfill and the new fund … will help business reduce waste and recycle more,” he said.

Australian Council of Recycling chief executive Rod Welford welcomed the plan, saying Queensland had been lagging behind other states on the issue.