Australian Industry Takes on Sustainable Urban Development

green constructionSustainable urban development has been a  hot topic in the urban planning and construction industry for some time.

There is a growing need and demand for sustainable communities, suburbs and cities in Australia.

The 7th International Urban Design Conference will be held at the Intercontinental, Adelaide from Monday the 1st to Wednesday 3rd of September 2014.

The Conference will feature industry leaders from Australia and around the world, to share innovations, provide education and garner tools in order to tackle the next green frontier: Designing Productive Cities

The conference “Designing Productive Cities” will explore the framework required for creating today’s cities, the process of designing and shaping our cities to make them more functional, attractive and sustainable.

We will examine affordable housing and diversity for “Gen Y” who are interested in more compact design models. For the rapidly growing ageing population sector, we will discuss isolation, location, ease of transport, mobility and affordability.

Designing productive cities also has other considerations including Social Equity, Inclusion and developing meaningful relationships and interconnectivity between Cities and Regional Australia.

 Conference Streams will include but not be limited to:

  • Visualisation
  • Strategic Planning
  • Whole City Thinking
  • Urban Design Projects
  • Urban Informatics / Smart Cities
  • Active Transport
  • International Design
  • Issues in Construction
  • Financing for Compact Cities

To find out more about the 7th International Urban Design Conference  please visit the Conference website

WEBINAR SERIES 2014: The State of Waste

WEBINAR SERIES 2014 Association for Sustainability in Business Inc

The State of Waste
When: Thursday April 17th 2014 – 1-1.45 PM
45 minutes, 30 minutes presentation, 15 minutes Q&A

The webinar presentation will explore the relationship between landfill pricing and recycling and document the key initiatives required over the next decade to drive improved recycling in the MSW, C+I and C+D sectors.

Australia generates 46.8 MT of waste. Despite steady increases in the rate of recovery (av. 52%), the waste generated between 2002/03 and 2008/09 grew by 40%, while population increased by only 10% (SoE Report NSW, 2013).

Recycling is probably the only growth area in the manufacturing sector in Australia. We create nine jobs in recycling for every job in landfill.

About your presenter

webinar presenter Mike RitchieMike Ritchie has over 20 years’ experience in environmental policy and business development. He previously has previously worked for SITA Environmental Solutions, as advisor to the Lord Mayor of Brisbane and Director of Liverpool City Council.

He is past National Vice President and NSW President of WMAA, as well as current Chair of the Carbon Division and AWT Working Group. He is also past director of Environment Business Australia and is a Sessional Commissioner of the Land & Environment Court NSW. Mike has a Masters in Science from Oxford University and an MBA from Sydney University.

There are no fees or charges to attend
Limited to 50 participants
register webinar larger

If you missed the webinar

The webinar recording will be going on the Association for Sustainability in Business new website ( which will be launched in a few weeks.

The webinar recordings will be available to members of the Association for Sustainability in Business in a member only section.  Its free to join the Association for Sustainability in Business,

Join here

If you have any questions please contact us


Innovation Award for Regional Sustainability and Environment

Innovation Award for Regional Sustainability and Environment nominations are open

The Innovation Awards aim to recognise and showcase individuals and organisations in regional and rural Australia who show innovation in sustainability and the environment.

Who can apply
Representatives from all types of organisations active in regional development across Australia, including councils, shires, rural and regional organisations, NGO’s and government agencies that aim to better serve their communities.
The Award Presentation Ceremony will be at the Australian Regional Development Conference Dinner on October 15th at the Commercial Club Albury.

Important Dates
Nominations open: Thursday 29th August 2013
Nominations close: Tuesday 15th July 2014

Award Submission
Click here to submit a nomination, entries can only be accepted via the website.

The online entry:
• requires you to provide a brief overall description of your project
• has a 300-word limit to each criterion
• requires all selection criteria to be addressed as appropriate to the project; if a criterion is not relevant to the project state ‘not applicable’. Note: applications and attachments will be printed in black and white only

 Selection criteria

Entries for the awards should address the following selection criteria:

 Innovation and/or best practice

  • How does your project demonstrate innovation and/or best practice in the way your organisation does business or delivers services to your community?

Process and planning
How did you determine what changes were required to improve your business practices and/or better meet your community’s needs (for example, consultation processes, needs analysis, etcetera)?

• What are the benefits of the project? Who benefits and how?
• How does your project demonstrate innovation or deliver to community in terms of economic and social outcomes?

Community needs
How are community needs met by this project

 The judging process
Innovation Award category will be judged by the Advisory Committee with judging based on the submitted entry form (entrants do not present). Judging will be based on the material provided by you, within the online entry form.


CameronLittle  Meet one of the Judges

Cameron Little has two decades experience within the environment, sustainability and corporate social responsibility sectors and has been providing pioneering specialist sustainability support for the Australian events industry for the last ten years. In addition to a BSc in Environmental Biology he has trained in Environmental Auditing, Occupational Health and Safety, Workplace Training and Assessment, Sustainability Assessments and Permaculture.

Read More about Cameron

Sponsorship of the Awards

If you require more information about the Awards submission process and sponsorship please contact the Secretariat.

More information about the Innovation Award for Regional Sustainability and Environment 
ARDC awards logo
Ph: (61 7) 5502 2068 Fax (61 7) 5527 3298 



Global Food – 2 billion tonnes of all food produced ends up as waste

As much as 2 billion tonnes of all food produced ends up as waste Institution of Mechanical Engineers calls on urgent action to prevent 50% of all food produced in the world ending up as waste 10 January 2013

A report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers has found that as much as 50% of all food produced around the world never reaches a human stomach due to issues as varied as inadequate infrastructure and storage facilities through to overly strict sell-by dates, buy-one-get-one free offers and consumers demanding cosmetically perfect food.
With UN predictions that there could be about an extra three billion people to feed by the end of the century and an increasing pressure on the resources needed to produce food, including land, water and energy, the Institution is calling for urgent action to tackle this waste.

The report ‘Global Food; Waste Not,Want Not’ found that:

• between 30% and 50% or 1.2-2 billion tonnes of food produced around the world each year never reaches a human stomach;
• as much as 30% of UK vegetable crops are not harvested due to them failing to meet exacting standards based on their physical appearance, while up to half of the food that’s bought in Europe and the USA is thrown away by the consumer;
• about 550 billion m3 of water is wasted globally in growing crops that never reach the consumer;
• it takes 20-50 times the amount of water to produce 1 kilogram of meat than 1 kilogram of vegetables;
• the demand for water in food production could reach 10–13 trillion m3 a year by 2050. This is 2.5 to 3.5 times greater than the total human use of fresh water today and could lead to more dangerous water shortages around the world;
• there is the potential to provide 60-100% more food by eliminating losses and waste while at the same time freeing up land, energy and water resources.

Dr Tim Fox, Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said: “The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world’s growing population – as well as those in hunger today. It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water and energy resources that were used in the production, processing and distribution of this food.

“The reasons for this situation range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through buy-one-get-one free offers.  “As water, land and energy resources come under increasing pressure from competing human demands, engineers have a crucial role to play in preventing food loss and waste by developing more efficient ways of growing, transporting and storing foods. “But in order for this to happen Governments, development agencies and organisation like the UN must work together to help change people’s mindsets on waste and discourage wasteful practices by farmers, food producers, supermarkets and consumers.”

By 2075 the UN predicts that the world’s population is set to reach around 9.5 billion, which could mean an extra three billion mouths to feed. A key issue to dealing with this population growth is how to produce more food in a world with resources under competing pressures – particularly given the added stresses caused by global warming and the increasing popularity of eating meat – which requires around 10 times the land resources of food like rice or potatoes.

The world produces about four billion metric tonnes of food per year, but wastes up to half of this food through poor practices and inadequate infrastructure. By improving processes and infrastructure as well as changing consumer mindsets, we would have the ability to provide 60-100% more food to feed the world’s growing population.
The ‘Global Food; Waste Not,Want Not’ report recommends that:

1. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) works with the international engineering community to ensure governments of developed nations put in place programmes that transfer engineering knowledge, design know-how, and suitable technology to newly developing countries. This will help improve produce handling in the harvest, and immediate post-harvest stages of food production.
2. Governments of rapidly developing countries incorporate waste minimisation thinking into the transport infrastructure and storage facilities currently being planned, engineered and built.
3. Governments in developed nations devise and implement policy that changes consumer expectations. These should discourage retailers from wasteful practices that lead to the rejection of food on the basis of cosmetic characteristics, and losses in the home due to excessive purchasing by consumers.

You might also like “The Under-Recognised Public Health Problem of Food Waste” here

Independent Distributed Energy and Transport Systems

Electric Vehicles provide clean and efficient transport systems – bus, car, bike, ferry EV also can be used as mobile energy storage/backup energy storage – EV can be charged during day from solar to provide additional backup energy for peak day/night if required with smart systems ensuring energy left for travel the next day and top up power from off peak electricity.

Integrated with solar they can provide zero emissions transport – plug in charging stations can be located almost anywhere with stations having their own battery storage to fast charge vehicles for increased range. Stations can be located at supermarkets, shopping centres, work sites as well as commercial charging stations. Customers with solar can sell power to other customers rather than to big distributors so distributed energy systems rather than centralised improves energy security.

This needs to be managed by progressive distribution networks The E-revolution is soon to become a reality in Australia.  Electric vehicles and devices will explode within the space of ten years offering those who are ready, equipped and capable of understanding the bigger picture, employment and development opportunities that will parallel the early industrial revolution.  With the introduction of eVehicle, eBike, eScooter and eBus, solar energy capture and energy distribution infrastructure will also offer a major investment portfolio prospect for organisations seeking returns for their members.

Colin Gillam  spoke at the  Making Cities Liveable Conference in conjunction with the Sustainability Conference “SustainableTransformation” in Melbourne in 2013.

Electric Cars May Be Safer than Conventional Vehiclesmore

The Dust Bowl Returns

FRESNO, Calif.

EVERY Saturday in late December and January, as reports of brutal temperatures and historic snowfalls streamed in from family in Vermont, New York and even southern Louisiana, we made weekly pilgrimages to our local beer garden to enjoy craft brews and unseasonably warm afternoons.

Normal winters here in Fresno, in the heart of California’s Central Valley, bring average highs in the 50s, steady periods of rain and drizzle, and the dense, bone-chilling Tule fog that can blanket the valley for days and even weeks on end.

But not this year. Instead, early 2014 gave us cloudless skies and midday temperatures in the 70s. By the end of January, it seemed like April, with spring trees in full bloom.

Read the full artcle By BLAIN ROBERTS and ETHAN J. KYTLE in The New York Times

Sustainable Renewable Energy Sources in US continue to grow

Sustainable Renewable Energy

According to the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly,” with preliminary data through to June 30, 2013, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) provided 14.20 percent of the nation’s net electric power generation during the first half of the year. For the same period in 2012, renewables accounted for 13.57 percent of net electrical generation.

Moreover, non-hydro renewables have more than tripled their output during the past decade. They now account for almost the same share of electrical generation (6.71 percent) as does conventional hydropower (7.49 percent). Ten years ago (i.e., calendar year 2003), non-hydro renewables provided only 2.05 percent of net U.S. electrical generation.

Comparing the first six months of 2013 to the same period in 2012, solar thermal & PV combined have grown 94.4 percent (these additions understate actual solar capacity gains. Unlike other energy sources, significant levels of solar capacity exist in smaller, non-utility-scale applications – e.g., rooftop solar photovoltaics). Wind increased 20.1 percent and geothermal grew by 1.0 percent, while biomass declined by 0.5 percent while hydropower dropped by 2.6 percent. Among the non-hydro renewabes, wind is in the lead, accounting for 4.67 percent of net electrical generation, followed by biomass (1.42 percent), geothermal (0.43 percent), and solar (0.19 percent).