I attended the launch of the Sustainia 100 today. This is the publication of 100 projects from around the world that meet the Sustainia criteria. This criteria says that projects must contribute to a sustainable bottom line as well as being readily available and scalable. Several excellent speakers underlined the core message of the Sustainia project, which is to demonstrate that the sustainable future we all desire is achieveable and within our grasp and companies that make sustainable solutions available to global markets are already reaping the rewards for doing so.
Erik Rasmussen: CEO Monday Morning and founder of Sustainia described how it grew out of the failure of Copenhagen #COP15 and was conceived as a solution to the poor communication between politicians, environmentalists and scientists that led to the failure. Without a compelling vision for the future that we can all understand and share, how can we hope to reach agreement on the path to that future?
Dr. Ioannis Ioannou presented research on companies that adopted sustainable business models in 1992 and compared their profitability with a basket of other companies who didn’t and found that today sustainability centred companies are worth substantially more than their less sustainable traditionally run competition. Companies in the future will need to manage their social and environmental impact in the same way that they manage their financial impact.
Dr. Kim Tan was particularly compelling in his argument that in order to help developing countries we need to help them to move from an informal economy (where less than half pay taxes) to a formal one(where most people do). Give developing countries jobs, not aid, he said. He demonstrated a number of start-up businesses that are operating in Africa and thriving, not on aid, but on sound business models based on tourism, recycling and energy.
Previous winners such as Azuri, Terracycle and GravityLight demonstrated why they were winners in the previous years list. Each one has its own unique story, and this is the engaging element of Sustainaia, that it is a collection of stories about how sustainability works in different places around the globe for different people, and that each story has its place in the book about how to be more sustainable. Download it today and be inspired.