Introduction to sustainability

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Environmental Sustainability has become an important aspect of business today. But many businesses aren't sure what to make of it. This is an introductory lecture about sustainability and how it can be practically related to business.

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Introduction to sustainability

  1. 1. Introduction to Sustainability Dr Mehdi Shahbazpour Mechanical Engineering
  2. 2. Learning Objectives • Understand the complexities of sustainability • Become aware of a range of attitudes and perspectives on sustainability • Understand the key stakeholders in the sustainability landscape • Become aware of a number of tools to incorporate sustainability as a business requirement Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  3. 3. Definition Sustainability is about meeting the needs of today, without adversely impacting on the needs of the future generation. Economic system Social system Ecosystem Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  4. 4. Sustainability is Complex • Uncertainty • Time-delay • Distant Problem • Conflicting interests • Different motivations • Social phenomenon Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  5. 5. Sustainability Stakeholders • Public (current and future generations) • National government • Local government • Tax payers • Rate payers • Businesses • Customers • Investors • Consultants • Certifying bodies • Accreditation bodies • International Organisations • Lobby Groups Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  6. 6. Spectrum of Attitudes • It’ all a load of … • Got more important issues to deal with • It’s important and I am doing what I can • “It’s how we do things around here” and we encourage others to do the same • Nothing is as important than this • Oh my God, the world is coming to an end! Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  7. 7. New Zealand Context Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  8. 8. New Zealand Business Context Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  9. 9. Sustainability in Practice • Treat sustainability as an important business requirement • Assess its importance based on the attitude of your stakeholders • Whether the stakeholder is technically right or wrong makes little difference • Be specific about what sustainability means in the context of your business • Link you sustainability objectives with business objectives Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  10. 10. Sustainability in Practice • Treat sustainability as an important business requirement • Assess its importance based on the attitude of your stakeholders • Whether the stakeholder is technically right or wrong makes little difference • Be specific about what sustainability means in the context of your business • Link you sustainability objectives with business objectives Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  11. 11. Sustainability in your Business • Decide on your strategy towards incorporating sustainability in your Business – Defensive: Legal compliance – Managed: Reduce impact – Integrated: Proactive and Advocate – Inspiring: Rethink, Innovate Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  12. 12. Practical Sustainability • Aspects and Impacts • Life Cycle Thinking • Triple Bottom Line • Creating Shared Value • Legal Compliance • No Greenwash Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  13. 13. Aspects and Impacts The starting point of any sustainability assessment is the identification of Aspects and Impacts Aspects : activity or aspect of an activity that has an impact on society or the environment Impact : positive/negative, direct/indirect impact of an activity on society or the environment Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  14. 14. Aspects and Impacts Example Activity: This Lecture Sustainability Aspects: Transport, Power, Advocacy Sustainability Impacts: Air pollution, GHG, Traffic, Increased sustainability awareness, etc. Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  15. 15. Aspects and Impacts • Identifying Aspects: – Define the scope – List all activities – Brainstorm all the different aspects of each activity that may impact the society and the environment – Apply Life Cycle thinking – Group activities by Aspects Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  16. 16. Aspects and Impacts • Identifying Impacts: – Scarce Resources: Water, Energy, Forest, Plantations, Other Natural resources – Impact on Environment: Bio-diversity, Air, Water, Soil, Wastes (solid, chemical, hazardous), Public health – Impact on Society: Communities, Tangata Whenua, Heritage, Public perception, Noise, Aesthetics – Legal and other requirements Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  17. 17. Aspects and Impacts • Rating Significance of Aspects: – Severity – Spills/Accidents – Frequency or Likelihood – Control – Financial Implications – Legal requirements – Etc. Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  18. 18. Aspects and Impacts • Managing Aspects to reduce/eliminate Impact: – Eliminate Aspect – Minimise Aspect – Eliminate Impact – Minimise Impact Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  19. 19. Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012 Life Cycle Thinking Source: UNEP
  20. 20. Triple Bottom Line Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012 • Expanded criteria for organisational performance management • People, Profit, Planet • Corporate Social Responsibility
  21. 21. Creating Shared Value
  22. 22. Legal Compliance
  23. 23. “Greenwash” www.sinsofgreenwashing.org
  24. 24. Summary • Sustainability is complex and involves many stakeholders • There is a spectrum of attitudes towards sustainability • Treat sustainability as a very important requirement in your business • Systematically analyse sustainability aspects and impacts • Apply lifecycle thinking • Link you sustainability objectives with business objectives • Avoid Greenwash 24 Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012
  25. 25. Reading Mehdi Shahbazpour, 2012 • Greening NZ’s Growth: http://www.med.govt.nz/sectors-industries/environment/pdf-docs- library/Greening%20New%20Zealands%20Growth.pdf • NZ’s Position on the Green Race: http://www.pureadvantage.org/PUA0018_GREEN_RACE_REPORT.pdf • Introduction to RMA: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/rma/everyday/overview/getting-in-on-the-act.pdf • Life Cycle Thinking: http://www.unep.fr/shared/publications/pdf/DTIx0594xPA-Road.pdf • Sustainability interventions - for managers of projects and programmes: http://www.dashdot.co.uk/sustainability-interventions-1-1-download-2.pdf • Environmental Awareness for Civil Construction Projects: http://www.transport.sa.gov.au/pdfs/education/env_awareness.pdf • Business Guide to Sustainable Development Reporting: http://www.sbc.org.nz/sdr/SDR_Guide.pdf

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