Here are seven ways that businesses can start transitioning toward a sustainable business model, according to Dr. Sally Uren, deputy chief executive, Forum for the Future, in a contributed article for The Guardian.

The Forum for the Future recently held its second Business Network event, which looked at sustainable business models in practice.

Here are Uren’s seven tips for starting on the path toward sustainability.

1. Try new financing mechanisms. Uren says these could include forward purchase agreements for suppliers to allow them to experiment with new production methods, match funding arrangements with government bodies and a sustainable innovation or investment fund, which could be used to kick-start sustainable innovations.

2. Aim for profitability. She tells organizations not to view the sustainability program as a cost, but rather as an investment that will yield financial benefits to the business. As an example, Mark & Spencer’s Plan A program generated £50 million (approximately $81 million) net profit from resource efficiencies and new product developments in year three of the five-year program.

3. Integrate sustainability thinking into the business. This can include incorporating sustainability performance into cash bonus schemes and embarking on comprehensive change management programs.

4. Change the value proposition. Uren says businesses need to use the power of their brand and marketers to help consumers equate quality with things other than volume. Sustainability needs to be an attractive value proposition for everyone, she says.

5. Start shifting to a more sustainable product portfolio. This can be achieved by either removing non-sustainable products off the shelves or promoting the more sustainable choices.

6. Create a roadmap. She recommends that businesses have a clear roadmap towards sustainability in order to meet transformational goals rather than taking small steps toward sustainability.

7. Innovate. Innovation is the key to a sustainable business model from product design to service delivery, and across all levels of an organization’s operations, she says.

In the U.S. alone the sustainable business market will double over the next four years, reaching $60 billion in 2014 up from $28 billion in 2010, according to a new report from analyst firm Verdantix. The biggest spenders will be power utilities and automotive firms, followed by high-tech engineering and industrial engineering.

The Association for Sustainability in Business provides a forum for business, large and small, to integrate the elements of sustainability (economic, social, and environmental) into their organisations. It is possible to protect the environment and reduce operating costs by reducing consumption of natural resources.  One of our key goals is to assist organisations participate in environmentally friendly business practise,  network with like minded business’s and develop new business within the sector. 

“Corporate sustainability encompasses strategies and practices that aim to meet the needs of stakeholders today while seeking to protect, support and enhance the human and natural resources that will be needed in the future. Business and industry has a crucial role to play in helping Australia to become more sustainable and competitive. As a result, many Australian organisations and industries are responding by reducing their environmental impacts and risks through improved environmental management practices and efficient use of natural resources.”    The Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

This progressive Association will offer members practical solutions and strategies that will assist the development of sustainable practises. We can provide a peer to peer network for the exchange of information and the development of member businesses.

The South Australian government is implementing an ambitious 30 Year Urban Plan to provide a transit driven future accommodating high population growth within existing areas and on fringe land. Affordable Housing provison is a key planning initiative supporting this socially sustainable mix and growth.
The government has set a target of 15% Affordable Housing in all new significant developments, with a major focus on the Adelaide Metropolitan area. Planning and Housing Legislation has been aligned at all levels from the State Strategic Plan and the Planning Strategy through to Council Development Plans, with enabling planning policy. The private and NGO /community housing sectors are considered key partners in achieving these outcomes.
Within the housing continuum, holistic Urban Regeneration in areas of high public housing concentrations as well as small scale incremetal infill programmes are in progress, delivering best practice adaptable housing and energy efficiency. Running parallel with this,  Housing SA is pioneering a raft of innovative financial mortgage products in the State such as a ‘shared equity’ product that provides easier access to home ownership in high demand areas.          
The paper at the conference will outline the progress made, highlight project outcomes and deliver some thoughts on existing and future challenges in meeting the affordable housing targets.

Belinda Hallsworth is the Manager of Urban and Regional Planning for the Affordable Housing Unit within Housing SA.

Philip D. Allsopp, D.Arch., RIBA, FRSA

Phil is a committee member of the 2011 Conference at Noosa in Qld Australia, and a keynote speaker, he will be speaking at  Arizona American Planning Association (APA) State Conference, in Phoenix, November 2010

Sustainability is often described as having an economic, social and environmental component (and land use would affect all of these).

The session will include a discussion of the benefits, from a broad sustainability perspective of supporting local, independent businesses, as opposed to chains. For planners, there are several implications, from economic development (for instance, relating to the fact that, dollar for dollar and square foot to square foot, considerably more money is returned to the local community from local businesses as from chains) to environmental (a greater ability to do adaptive reuse) to the land use implications of supporting smaller, independent businesses and the impact on creating sustainable, walkable, more attractive commercial and activity areas.

As “Local First” efforts multiply, both within Arizona as well as nationally, they will increasingly have an impact on planning efforts and, conversely, planning decisions that will have impacts on the ability of local businesses to survive and prosper.

John Langford, John Briscoe and Michael Porter | From: The Australian  |November 01, 2010

It may surprise you to know that for Australia, the worldwide water situation is an opportunity more than a crisis. Unlike most of our food exporting competitors, our major population centres are largely coastal and have water insurance in terms of desalination plants. So our food bowls need not be drained by the cities and can implement a wide range of productivity enhancements. Hence, water is not a rigid constraint on either our population or our production. Our relative situation has been helped by innovations such as trading of water rights, pricing reforms, and the development of water grids. And the relative price of food is likely to rise more than these costs, creating advantages for agricultural exports.

The main cause of the tension over Murray Darling Basin water rights is the decade-long drought. The heat generated by the release of the guide to the basin plan is the darkness before dawn. It is possible to find a new equilibrium of a healthy irrigation economy and a healthy river. Providing food security for the growing and increasingly prosperous populations of Asia is an opportunity for irrigators. Australia’s adaptable farmers, used to living with the vagaries of climate and subsidised international commodity markets, are a great national asset. The foundation provided by Australia’s internationally recognised record of water reform is another vital asset. But Australia’s irrigation sector has lead in its saddle bags. It lacks leadership at the government, commodity and farm level. It speaks with divergent voices and ignores key parties.

Read the full article from The Australian


Ed Blakely

“This weeks show is about is a Bigger Australia and/or a Better Australia. In keeping with the focus the show is about cities and communities and how we live in them with good examples from around the world presented to help make our cities and neighbourhoods better places to live, work and play. However, how big is too big is the issue this week in dry parched Australia which like Europe and he United States is receiving new migrants with little or no capacity to support them.”

Guest this week will be Brian Haratsis his latest book is “Australia 2050” .

Click here to visit the site and download the podcast or play the radio show. Ed will keynote at the Making Cities Liveable Conference in Noosa in 2011

The annual Healthy Cities: Making Cities Liveable Conference started in 2007. 

This blog will feature stories and links to mainstream media that are of interest to our delegate community.  We will also host stories and comment from our speakers along with selected abstracts from conference papers for comment.

Over the next few months we will be building the article archive and would welcome any stories you would like posted.  Just send them to