Category Archives: Business Sustainability

World’s urban waste mountain remains a growing problem

The amount of rubbish generated by city dwellers is set to rise steeply in the next two decades, with much of the increase coming in fast-growing cities in developing countries, according to a World Bank report published on Wednesday.

The amount of municipal solid waste is growing fastest in China – which overtook the US as the world’s largest waste generator in 2004 – other parts of east Asia, and parts of eastern Europe and the Middle East, the report says. Growth rates for rubbish in these areas are similar to their rates for urbanisation and increases in GDP.

The report estimates the amount of municipal solid waste will rise from the current 1.3bn tonnes a year to 2.2bn by 2025. The annual cost of solid waste management is projected to rise from $205bn to $375bn, with cost increasing most sharply in poorer countries. The report’s authors point to a looming crisis in waste treatment as living standards rise and urban populations grow.

“Improving solid waste management, especially in the rapidly growing cities of low-income countries, is becoming a more and more urgent issue,” said Rachel Kyte, vice-president of sustainable development at the World Bank. “The findings of this report are sobering, but they also offer hope that once the extent of this issue is recognised, local and national leaders, as well as the international community, will mobilise to put in place programmes to reduce, reuse, recycle, or recover as much waste as possible before burning it (and recovering the energy) or otherwise disposing of it. Measuring the extent of the problem is a critical first step to resolving it.”

The report notes that municipal solid waste management is the most important service a city provides. In poorer countries, rubbish collection and processing is often the largest single budget item for cities, and one of the largest employers.

You might also like “Beijing buys a waste management company to solve its pollution problems—but it won’t work“… here

The Association for Sustainability in Business Inc recently held a webinar titled “The State of Waste” by Mike Ritchie.

If you missed the webinar

The webinar recording will be going on the Association for Sustainability in Business website. 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,



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 



Carbon price to cost trucking industry $500m

The trucking industry wants to stay protected from Australia’s carbon price legislation beyond 2014. Under current plans, fuel used by trucks on Australia’s roads is not subject to the carbon price until middle of next year.

That is when the Labor government’s legislation will reduce the fuel tax credits trucking operators can claim. Australian Trucking Association chairman David Simon has said the planned reduction of about seven cents a litre amounts to a 27 per cent increase in the fuel impost.

To read the full story, click here

Positive Carbon Management: The Buck Starts with the Environmental Data

What separates leaders from followers in the area of energy and carbon management?  Bigger cost reductions and better operating performance.  How do they achieve these results? By outperforming followers with executive sponsored programs and investing in technology to manage and analyse data.

That’s the message to take away from a recent energy and carbon management report by research firm Aberdeen Group. What can be inferred from this report is that delivering improved business performance will, in the long term, only be achieved by a systematic and consistent approach to energy and carbon, which will accommodate the increasing complexity and quantity of the underlying data.

The challenges of (environmental) data management   Data management is a common problem across many areas of business in different industries, and carbon management is no exception. However, managing carbon suffers from a lack of maturity, driven by insufficient business attention. The good news is that data practises from more mature industries can be applied.   Receiving data from your supply chain in a timely and easy to manage format is the first major obstacle for most organisations. Leaders are 50% more likely to have supplier data transferred directly into a software application*. Some organisations choose a single supplier to simplify this although this is not always the best commercial decision.

The concept of a Network of Exchange is used by industries such as aviation and automotive and allows the collection of disparate data and subsequent standardisation for communication to reporting platforms. Such a Network now exists for the flow of environmental data from utility supplier to organisations.   Consistency and completeness of data are the next challenges for effective carbon management. Environmental data is usually fragmented and decentralised as it resides with multiple stakeholders across the business. There is also a wide variety of environmental data collected such as energy cost, Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions and consumption at an activity and asset level.   To overcome this, it’s important to accept that data comes from many sources, and equally important to avoid the temptation to ‘turn off’ any data source. The concept of data pedigree priority allows the ‘ranking’ of data based on quality and value to your business. Business decisions can be made on the best available data at the time (which is better than no data), and your carbon management system can automatically substitute higher value data as it becomes available.

Why you need more than a spreadsheet for environmental data management   Spreadsheets are fine for calculation. However, for sustained carbon management you need more than calculation of your co?-e. When the big data flows arrive a spreadsheet will drown you in a mass of numbers. Granularity in your data will lead to improved decision making but only if you have a system that can manage the data and present information in a manner that your stakeholders can relate to.

Environmental data programs need to be managed in the same way a Sales or HR program would be managed, with a scalable software solution that allows you to forecast and set and track against targets.   Making the most of environmental data management processes   With a platform of robust and complete data behind you, you are now in a position to deliver ongoing value to your business. Leading organisations deliver this by ensuring metrics are linked to operational and financial elements that are already embedded into the organisation*. A system that allows the linking of carbon data to other business benchmarks such as output, revenue or inventory can provide indicators and benchmarks that are easily understood. Overlaying this information with technology elements such as analytics, dashboard and mobility provides the visibility across the business to effect change.

What does your business stand to gain from good environmental data and effective carbon management?   Accessibility to reliable environmental data allows businesses to make fast decisions that reduce costs. For example, manufacturing plants are using energy data to contextualise real-time events to minimise production, improve energy efficiency and minimise emissions*.

Consistency of data allows organisations to benchmark and identify best practices that can be shared. Equally poor performing areas of the business can take responsibility and make improvements. There is much that can be applied from the fundamentals of good data management to improve environmental data. The sooner you start the sooner you can benefit from cost reductions and process efficiencies.

*Energy and Carbon Management: A Roadmap for Sustainable Production July 2012 | Aberdeen Group

Simon McCabe is the resident Green Crusader and the Business Relations Director for Intelligent Pathways.

Cost Effective Sustainability Through The Value Chain

Green Business

Cost Effective Sustainability Through The Value Chain

By Lindsey Nelson, Published August 27, 2012

Being a green enterprise is not a cheap undertaking, but lots of companies and NGOs are looking for ways to make their value chain (supply chain, distributors, partner org’s, etc.) more sustainable. And according to a recent Forbes article, the businesses supply chain is where the ROI on sustainability shows its benefits in triple digits.

In an effort to understand in-depth what makes a value chain sustainable, partnered with ASQ, The Institute for Supply Management, and Deloitte on a multi-year research study aimed at identifying demonstrated management practices and cost saving approaches.

Read more here

Cities need strong, transparent leadership

Iman Mahditama, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Experts gathering at the third biennial World Cities Summit in Singapore have urged city administrations all over the world to develop strong, transparent leadership as cities are deemed critical in the establishment of a sustainable future.

“Many of the world’s cities are actually bigger than countries so city sustainability is critical. It should be the main drive in the attempt to create a sustainable world,” United Nations Development Program (UNDP) administrator Helen Clark said.

The former New Zealand prime minister then went on to say, “In light of this, city leadership is critical, as well as capacity building and public-private partnership. You can’t make good decisions with poor governance.”

She was speaking in a seminar on governance in sustainable development, held on Monday, the second day of this year’s summit. The four-day sustainable urban development summit is being attended by more than 3,500 delegations and more than 100 national government officials from all over the world.

During her speech, Clark urged city governments to work more efficiently, keeping in touch with the public and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and make certain their roles in helping create sustainable cities.

“The key to sustainable urban planning does not lie only on technology. It is much more about good governance, good leadership and sheer political will,” she said.

“Most of the time, government branches have trouble finding agreement among themselves and getting left behind by their own people, who are already ahead with their own sustainability plans.”

Experts during the day’s seminars also agreed that it is next to impossible to put a stop to the influx of newcomers into cities all over the world, as ideas of better opportunities in big cities has always proliferated and will continue to be so.

The best thing the cities’ administrations can do is to bear this in mind when planning the cities’ development, they said.

Singapore’s Minister of Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said that blue skies, clean drinkable water and clean streets are three criteria that must be met by a city in order to become “a city of the future.”

“The future of humanity is in cities, which have to be sustainable. So, what I will tell you is that you must build the most beautiful city you can. Plant many trees, conserve the environment, and, above all, elect an honest and competent leadership,” he said.

According to him, Singapore can flourish as a city state because it has a corruption-free government with residents’ best interests at heart.

“In Singapore, we don’t subsidize consumption. We don’t subsidize energy, water and transportation. However, we give cold hard cash to parts of society that are less well off,” he said. “It’s up to them to make use this money, along with their own hard-earned money, in a way they think will be best for them.”

Indonesia’s Minister of Public Works Djoko Kirmanto, another speaker in the forum, reported during his speech that cities in Indonesia have experienced significant progress in recent years in terms of creating a livable and sustainable environment.

“Every city in Indonesia is encouraged to develop 30 percent of its area into an open green space. I admit that this is still far from reality. I believe it is a challenge for local administration to obey the master plans,” he explained.

According to him, 60 cities have taken part in the nation’s green initiatives, with Jakarta serving as the pioneer.

Palembang mayor Eddy Santana Putra, who attended the forum, said that the size of Palembang’s open green space has been increasing over the years. “Currently, some 10 percent to 15 percent of the city is open green spaces. We will continue to expand the space until it reaches 30 percent or maybe even more.”

The 2012 Sustainability Business Association – Conference Special Interest Group (SIG)

This year’s conference will see the formation of a Special Interest Group (SIG) to identify issues of importance to members and delegates for further examination and debate in 2012/13.

All delegates can register for this open discussion on the conference website.

“Taking Care of Business: Sustainable   Transformation”

21 – 22 May 2012, Radisson Resort,  Gold Coast, Australia

The conference will update delegates on a range of issues including;

  • Climbing the mountain: issues for business and society in the “Necessary Transition”
  • Redefining CSR Post-GFC
  • It’s all about me! Personalising Corporate Sustainability
  • The Sustainable Australian CEO: transformation of Australia’s business leadership in the Asian Century
  • The Business Sustainability Journey: progress report and likely developments to 2020