Corporate Sustainability Strategies – a feel-good gimmick or good for the planet’s bottom line?

Corporate Sustainability Strategies – a feel-good gimmick or good for the planet’s bottom line?

The failed attempt of voluntary corporate sustainability strategies to save the planet.

Corporate sustainability strategies developed in response to the resource constraints of the 21st century.  These constraints are the result of over population and over consumption and their damaging effect on the health of the earth.

Even the gentle Sir David Attenborough has joined the chorus of people arguing for fewer people in the interest of more biodiversity and a quality environment in his speech People and Planet in March 2011.

We have been trying to persuade companies to engage in voluntary corporate sustainability programmes of all kinds in order to address the obvious negative impacts of the way the ‘developed’ world does business.

Corporate sustainability strategies or planned abandonment?

However, do we ever stop to consider if it actually makes sense for a particular industry to engage in sustainability programmes or should it rather be a question of planned abandonment of this particular industry/product/ manufacturing process?

Water courtesy coca colaTake the issue of water. [Read more…]

Valentine’s Day – it’s about love, isn’t it?

Valentine’s Day – it’s about love, isn’t it?

20130209-081937.jpgDid you know that Saint Valentine’s Day is said to derive from a christian tradition involving a Pope in 500 AD?

These days, Valentine’s Day has become a symbol for consumerism with ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts for him and her and ‘experiences’ at varying costs being promoted relentlessly weeks before the occasion. I resent the commercialisation of such a precious gift: the love and affection between two lovers. And that is why I am making the case for no Valentine’s Day or slow Valentine’s Day – borrowing from the slow cooking movement -and it goes like this: [Read more…]

New year’s resolution – where there’s a will there’s a way!

New year’s resolution – where there’s a will there’s a way!


Did you know that most New Year’s resolutions fail? How frustrating! This newly won insight is reinforced in many articles about our impending failure being published this time of year.  It instills a certain fatalism and gives us an excuse before we even begin.

The trick  is to either not make any resolutions at all or to focus our attention on the attainable and on how to make it work! One thing, action, habit that can move from intention to action. This list entitled: “5 ways to make your New Years Resolutions Stick” appealed a lot to me – because it moves away from setting grand gestures to simple, achievable goals.

And this ties in nicely with my guiding motto for 2013:

Actions speak louder than words. [Read more…]

Ten last minute alternative Christmas presents that rock the world!

Ten last minute alternative Christmas presents that rock the world!

generosity - good will - love

Christmas is about generosity,  good will and love – and thankfully there are many ways to express these sentiments.  Instead of spending money on last minute gifts that might end up in landfill, here are a few ideas. Giving to a good cause is one of them.  Let’s match the amount of money we spend on presents with the amount we gift to charities! Imagine the impact that would have!


1. Give an hour. Change the Future for  Australian disadvantaged children – donate the equivalent of one hour of your income to Children’s Promise and help change the  world for the better!

2. Sponsor your very own bear from as little as $200 and help this wonderful Australian organisation to achieve even more ! 100 % of donations go to the cause:  Free the Bears  [Read more…]

Rio + 20

by Terence Jeyaretnam, Director of Net Balance (, one of the world’s leading sustainability advisory firms. Terence is based in Melbourne.

A businessman would not consider a firm to have solved its problems of production and to have achieved viability if he saw that it was rapidly consuming its capital. How, then, could we overlook this vital fact when it comes to that very big firm, the economy of Spaceship Earth and, in particular, the economies of its rich passengers? E F Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, 1973

Erosion of natural capital has continued over the past 50 years, despite the heightened awareness of environmental impact of industrialization and population growth. Over the fifty years, there’s been a multitude of international conventions, giving birth to a large number of new institutions and protocols on sustainable development. They have proved just one thing – that there’s no silver bullet for the environmental predicament. [Read more…]

hybrid flowers at the Byron Bay farmers markets – let’s get real!

hybrid flowers at the Byron Bay farmers markets – let’s get real!

Beach...The Byron Bay Farmers Market is doomed!  Why? A hybrid flower stall turned up not long ago and selling these particular, non local, non native varieties of flowers point towards a bigger issue. Because hybirds are artificially refined.  Because of us manipulating nature to ‘improve’ it without consideration of unintended consequences or in the worst case scenario, through simple carelessness.

For more than two decades I have been in love with Byron Bay due to its natural beauty and as an experiment in sustainable living – healthy living on a small footprint in harmony with the environment.

[Read more…]

“More than you’ll ever need … inside!”

“More than you’ll ever need … inside!”

In keeping with our recent focus on consumption I was struck by the call of a Sri Lankan scientist to assist “rich countries to curb their climate-damaging consumption habits through a set of consumption goals  – in the same way the poor have ‘Millennium Development Goals’   (MDG’s) to get them out of poverty”.

What a brilliant idea!  His reasoning is obvious: 20% of the worlds richest people are responsible for 80% of consumption.

And of course, the always impressive team at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington responded to the call with a first draft: [Read more…]