Category Archives: Business

Just add water (to food labels)

Here in Australia we know we should be watching how much water we use for things like showers, gardens and washing cars.

But really, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to how much water goes into the products we consume.

Now an Australian academic has proposed that the amount of water used in making food and other items be clearly shown on product labeling. Listen to the interview with James Hazelton.

To see how much water goes into making different products, check out www.waterfootprint.org.

The ‘urban planning rock star’ changing city environments around the world

Wall to wall vehicles. Thats how Jan Gehl describes Sydney’s CBD. He says Sydney has squandered its beauty and it’s time something was done about it.

Professor Gehl was commissioned by the City of Sydney to re-think its centre. He’s proposed to divert cars and give streets back to the people. Sound radical? His plans have been implemented in other cities like Copenhagen and Melbourne, and surprise, they’ve made life heaps better. And, interestingly, not just for people. Businesses have thrived too.

Check this interview out – Jan’s quite a character. No wonder he’s been called an ‘urban planning rock star’.

His next commission, by the way, is to develop a plan for New York City.

And now time for an ad break …. (animators get political)

A compacted view of what commerce is doing to the planet.

Actually, I do have a Commerce degree, and I have worked in the corporate world, but this commercial is pretty good and pretty telling.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. If business worked more like nature (in a cyclical instead of linear way), we’d all be better off. Check out the ‘Ecology of Commerce’ by Paul Hawken for more detail on how and why. And there are businesses which are right now learning from nature. Interface Carpets is probably the most well known.

I intend to feature this kind of new entrepreneurship on The Show this year.

Trouble at mill – Gunns (the largest pulp mill in the southern hemisphere)

The key issues in the Gunns Pulp Mill controversy, as discussed with Sean Cadman from The Wilderness Society.

Late last year the Australian government gave the go-ahead to building what will be one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest pulp mills. The Gunns Pulp Miill is planned for the state of Tasmania, the scene of many epic environmental battles due to its pristine nature. Prior to the recent election, both major parties in Australia supported the mill.

The previous Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, emphasized his decision to approve the mill was based on science. What the minister didn’t emphasize was the limited terms of reference of the review by the Commonwealth’s Chief Scientist.

His review concentrated on threatened and migratory animal species and the effect on marine environment. According to critics such as The Wilderness Society, important issues remain untested. These include the impact of the mill on Tasmania’s wild forests (the source of timber for the mill), emissions from the plant and the impact of the mill on local business. And many still have doubts about the mill’s effect on the marine environment

Following is a link to the video ‘Pulp Friction’ which was posted on YouTube. It attempts to address both sides of the argument.

Pulp Friction

And this is a link to The Wilderness Society video on Gunns, also on YouTube:
Wilderness Society video on Gunns

All of which begs the question, what will the new environment minister do? (For our international readers, that’s the bald bloke who formerly fronted the band Midnight Oil.) Peter Garrett ‘played the game’ during the recent federal election in order to win power, but now he’s there what will he do with it? The Gunns story has gone quiet now the election is over, but for how long?

What is carbon trading and can it work?

How do we go about reducing our carbon emissions? Increasingly we’re hearing about carbon trading, but what exactly is carbon trading, aren’t there schemes running already, do they work, and what’s the best configuration for Australia?

Phil Stubbs spoke to Matt Dever from Emit Environmental Brokers to find out.

For a fuller explanation, I’ve added this link to a video interview with Dr Andrew Sentance who was formerly the Head of Environment for British Airways. It was produced by Warwick iCAST and can be found on YouTube.

Dr Andrew Sentance

And for more on the European carbon trading system (which is well down the track), there’s a link below to a video prepared by European channel EUX.TVand loaded to YouTube.

Europe carbon trading system

Here’s the big picture

The Story of Stuff

Above is a link to a great video on YouTube. It provides a good, simple explanation of how and why old-fashioned commerce is damaging the planet. (Part 1 is first up. Click on the ‘menu’ to bring up the other parts after that. Each is a few minutes long.)

What’s the answer? Bring on the second (smarter) industrial revolution where business works in a cyclical way like nature. More on this idea in Hawken’s book ‘The Ecology of Commerce’.