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Circular Economy

International Women’s Day 2019 – #BalanceforBetter

This year marks the 109th International Women’s Day, celebrated on the 8 March and the theme for 2019 is #BalanceforBetter. So what is balance actually – well according to the English Oxford Living Dictionary it’s “a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions”. And with regards to gender parity in the workplace here at WBGS we think that’s something really great to work towards.

I’ll be right in the swing of it this year. Kicking off the day I’ll be speaking at the Queensland Association of State School Principals inaugural IWD breakfast. Straight after that I’ll be speaking with Monica Bradley at Global Payments who’s nominate cause for IWD is SheEO (more on this below). And finally I’ll be participating in the Global Goals for Sustainable Development Activation Seminar Series hosted by the University of Queensland.  This seminar is about women leading the creation of circular economies for advancing Australia’s SDG 2030 agenda. And of course we strongly support SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. I couldn’t be more excited to be speaking at all of these events, helping champion female leadership.

It’s also a really exciting time in Australia with regards to women-led start-ups. In true female style, women are getting together to address the balance via SheEO. Currently, 96% of venture capital goes to male founders – meaning only 4% goes to female led ventures. SheEO is “a radically redesigned ecosystem that supports, finances, and celebrates female innovators”. They are not trying to fit women into the existing system, rather they are shifting mindsets, levelling the playing field and creating new models for start-ups and business. I am both honoured and proud to say I am a SheEO Activator and Semi-finalist in 2019 helping create a fairer future for women and our ventures. Join me in creating a perpetual fund for women in Australia.

The reality is diversity is just better. Several studies have shown diversity leads to more creative teams and increases a company’s performance. Research by Cloverpop has found that “diverse teams make better decisions up to 87% of the time”. Businesses that are more representative of the people and the world in which we live i.e. diverse teams, will take into account many more perspectives and help to build a world that reflects what we feel and know to be important. This is how we will create the Zebra companies of the future and heal the world.

There are many awesome male champions out there stepping up beside women to accelerate our representation. But as women, we really need to step up to the plate and do the work aswell. We need to believe that we can do it and challenge any impostor syndrome that crashes the party. Don’t wonder if there’s a seat at the table for you – assume that there is! And as females, we also absolutely must celebrate other women’s successes – another woman’s success is not a threat to you! In fact, it’s a very good sign that times are changing and there will be opportunities for you to realise your dreams aswell.

We look forward to a world where our differences are a thing of the past – gender, colour, race, religion etc. and everyone belongs and is fulfilled. This IWD is a chance to celebrate all women, everywhere, in all their shapes and sizes and for whatever choices they have made about how they want to live their lives. We are equally deserving of a chance to live our dreams – let’s all do our part, pay it forward and ensure our daughters, nieces and granddaughters all have a smooth path.

 

Some suggestions for what you can do on IWD 2019

Get along to an IWD Event on Friday 8 March

There are so many great events happening across Australia and internationally. Some of the local Brisbane events are listed below:

 

What are you doing yourself to level-up?

Consider how you as a woman are challenging yourself to grow and be your personal best. This is not about comparing ourselves to other people (comparison is the ‘thief of joy’), but really going inside and unearthing our deepest goals and challenging any limiting assumptions about what we can achieve in the world. When was the last time you were really outside your comfort zone? It’s scary but also exhilarating – get out there.

 

How can you support other women?

Take the chance on IWD to shout out to all your female family members, friends and colleagues and congratulate them on a job well done. Also consider giving a gift that empowers other women – there are many great organisations helping to further #BalanceforBetter, see IWDs recommended Female-focused charities and foundations. Through acknowledging and supporting other women that balance will be achieved.

Behind the Scenes of #RiverPitch

We are so excited to be one of the 4 contenders going through to the semi-finals for RiverPitch. With so many great contestants, a bit like the Oscars, it really is an honour just to be participating!

Yas on set with Steve Baxter

Working with Steve Baxter, who mentored all 8 contestants with so much honesty and passion, was a unique opportunity that I relished. He is a wealth of knowledge for anyone in the start-up space and really hones in on the areas you need to work on as business.

Any time with him is a privilege and I really valued his feedback. He forced me to look closely at my pitch and structure it better for the intended audience. The first part of the day we talked about our story and our journey so far. He then helped me really focus on the numbers and impact we can have on communities, our ability to scale globally and how we can best communicate this to potential investors.

 

The QLD RiverPitch crew!

The whole day was a fantastic process and really energising. I spent a lot of time with other founders who all have fantastic vision and are really putting their ideas on the line. We spent time getting to know each other’s business concepts and models and were really able to challenge each other and bounce pitch ideas off each other. It was awesome to learn from them and I found I could offer skills and insights in areas I was strong in and the other founders offered me the same.

And this is testament to the incredible Queensland start-up ecosystem. Organisations like River City Labs (founded by Steve Baxter) provide great environments to learn, grow, collaborate and really build your business ideas and models. It’s a strong community in Queensland and I was so proud to be a part of the program.

 

Fun with some awesome QLD Founders!

We also really appreciated having another platform to share our vision and model, highlighting our key messages about activating dormant goods for the circular economy and the “Garage Sale in a Box” concept — taking events global with a unique licensed platform and dashboard.

We are a profit for purpose organisation enabling other communities to raise money without having to go down the typical fundraising path. Along the way we’re also providing mechanisms to ensure good products circulate for as long as possible thereby avoiding waste that would eventually end up in landfill.

 

First pitch for RiverPitch at RCL!

We want to make this a profitable business, which is really important because profitable businesses have momentum, longevity and resources that pure charities can lose over time. By scaling the events we can greatly magnify our positive impacts to both communities and the environment and ensure the good work is self-sustaining. Platforms like RiverPitch give us the chance to turn our business plans into reality.

If anyone’s ever wondered what it takes to turn your ideas into reality and venture into the start-up space then a TV program like RiverPitch lifts the lid on what’s involved — I encourage you to watch, learn and get behind the vibrant start-up community in Queensland and Australia.

A huge thanks to Your MoneyACS — The Professional Association for Australia’s ICT sector and River City Labs for leading the way in showcasing start-ups on this platform.

For those who haven’t caught Episode 1 of RiverPitch yet, you can check it out here.

Plogging - pick up waste while Jogging!

We hope your week has been as productive and joyful as ours has been here at WBGS. With plenty of new and exciting ideas in the pipeline, there are a few fun things we wanted to share with you, both in our local community and nationwide.

You may have seen local community members carrying bags full of plastic and wondered what their intended use could be. Implemented in November last year, the Queensland Containers for Change Scheme refunds 10c for every eligible bottle or can collected, and this small incentive successfully saw 100 million bottles and cans collected within the first two months of its implementation! What you see in our communities is the beginning of more plastic being taken off the streets and out of landfill. We are so excited about this great initiative to take back needless waste and cycle money back into the community — this amazing effort will help us all reduce the number of plastic containers going to landfill each year. We now need to raise efforts toensure these containers become the food for future production.

 

We love active things with great messages and feel that establishing human connections while working hard towards environmental sustainability is really important. Last Friday we went #plogging along the Brisbane river and through the Botanic Gardens, finding many items along the water’s edge — plastic bags, bottles, polystyrene and even a red shoe (totally on brand, but ready for the bin unfortunately!). You’ll often find a lot of waste in or near water and I think it’s important to remember that anything we produce as a society needs to have an appropriate place at it’s end of life.

 

And that’s the perfect lead-in to Australia’s largest and most successful community-based environmental event which is coming up next week. Australians all over the country will be gathering in their local communities to #cleanupaustralia, and we couldn’t be more pleased. Schools, businesses, youth groups, community groups and councils alike will spend their sunny Sunday picking up rubbish that’s accumulated in public areas across the nation. Did you know in 2018, the estimated rubbish removed came to 16,942.2 ute loads?! Though our primary goal is always to prevent rubbish entering our environment, it’s also just as important to take a look around and remove the rubbish that is already there.

 

If you’d like to create or join a Clean Up, please head over to the Clean Up Australia Day website to find out how. Depending on who you choose to clean up your community with, there are a couple of main dates where you’ll be able to chip in with workmates, friends and family!

Business Clean Up Day — Tuesday 26 February 2019

Youth and Schools Clean Up Day — Friday 1 March 2019

Clean Up Australia Day — Sunday 3 March 2019

How To Make Valentine’s Day Romantic While Reducing Your Environmental Footprint

I can’t believe it’s already February! Just like that, the holiday period is over and we are well on our way into what I’m sure will be a very busy year for us all, especially here at WBGS! However, before we completely lose ourselves in business as usual, let’s make one last excuse to take a relaxing break and spend a day with the people that mean the most.

Whether you’re celebrating with a loved one, friends or family, Valentine’s Day is closing in fast (February 14th for those who don’t already have it down), and it’s always good to have something special planned for the occasion, big or small.

As humans, we often find ourselves getting carried away with the glamorousness of it all — a romantic and expensive evening out, an elaborate bouquet of flowers and a big bunch of pink and red balloons, chocolate… More chocolate…

BUT as much as lavish celebrations are fun and exciting, it’s also important to take a step back and remember why we’re celebrating. How we can make these moments even more special, by making meaningful choices that take back control from the cost, consumerism and carbon footprint Valentine’s Day tends to draw. For whoever you’re giving out candy hearts to this year, we have some top tips to make sure it’s suitable and sustainable!

Bake it don’t buy it

If you love the idea of celebrating love and are wanting to go all out, we suggest a fun-filled picnic followed by some gift exchanges and a cheeky wine to end the night on a high. Consider packing a homemade picnic with delicious sandwiches and organic fruits to go along with your drink of choice, instead of pre-packaged and mass-produced items from the supermarket. You will save a whole lot of dollars and a whole lot of plastic waste!

Photo by John Dancy on Unsplash

For dessert, perhaps opt for some fair trade organic chocolate (we really like the brand Loving Earth!) or bake your own desserts from scratch! Nothing beats the satisfaction of biting into a perfectly soft and chewy cookie made from home. Save some for your date, though!

DIY gifts

If you’re crafty, you may consider going an extra step and making your own gift. A hand-knitted scarf or a home-pottered mug will go such a long way and your significant other or family members will truly appreciate the time, effort and thought you put into the project. Otherwise, buy pre-loved gifts, something handmade, support your local merchants and choose fair trade. Swap a bouquet out for a house plant that your gift recipient can keep for a lot longer than flowers! Get creative with it and opt for something that will be as long-lasting as the love you hold for your loved one (corny, I know).

Lastly, no matter who you’re giving to this V Day, make your cards from scratch! Find some old cardboard or materials around your house (maybe some glitter if you’re feeling extra festive) and recycle them into some amazing, homemade, love-filled greeting cards that will be cherished for so long! (Can you tell that I’m feeling the love?)

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

We hope that wherever you are this Valentine’s Day, that you take a moment to celebrate the incredible privilege that it is to be surrounded by those you love! (We love you, too.) Happy Valentine’s Day!

Try for a Sustainable Silly Season — the WBGS way

Every year the Collins Dictionary issues a word of the year #collinsWOTY and both sadly and amazingly this year’s word is “Single-use’. I say sadly, as we’ve gotten ourselves into a bit of a pickle with single-use items that are used once, thrown away, often plastic and something we’ve become very dependent on. But I also say amazingly, because it’s actually fantastic that there is so much discussion and awareness globally around the problem — that’s what leads to solutions and behaviour change.

As we head into the silly season, it’s prime time for single-use items what with all the parties happening — straws, plastic plates, packaging etc. My children have opted not to take straws these days — their motto is “saving the world — one straw at a time’. And that’s how we all have to think, while we wait for the inventors, designers, creatives and change-makers to come up with better solutions to these problems and we see widespread systemic change. I was out for lunch the other day, ordered a milkshake and received it with a metal straw — it was different, but it was great! Some of those inventors, designers and creatives are already flying! More of this I say.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

The festive season is also the time when a crazy number of completely unwanted presents make the rounds of the office Secret Santas and various family Christmas gatherings. It happens, because it can be really hard to find a perfect gift for some people and sometimes even with the best of intentions, people just make bad calls. According to a study done by Gumtree “many of the gifts given at Secret Santa/Kris Kringle end up in the bin, with five per cent throwing away their gift within a week of receipt, others will be binned if they are not good enough to re-gift (12 per cent) and some say they hang onto the gifts for a bit but then put them in the bin (13 per cent).” But please don’t just throw that gift away adding to landfill, hold onto it and in the New Year WBGS are hoping to trial a way for you to ‘donate your unwanted gifts’ — January will be prime-time.

So thinking along these lines how we can we all try for a more sustainable festive season? Here are some ideas from the WBGS team:

Christmas Decorations for Sales at WBGS18
  • Wrapping paper — re-use gift bags, make your own cards from left-over cardboard and try using newspaper and artwork that the kids have done for wrapping;
  • Bon-bons — try making your own (I know I hear you saying — who’s got the time), but some of the WBGS team will be making bon bons from toilet rolls people (yes you heard right) and they won’t be filling them with single-use plastic toys (but there will be some really, super bad jokes in them!). Check out these eco-friendly bon-bons.
  • Plates/Cutlery — avoid plastic plates, straws (if you must have straws you can get paper at the big supermarkets now), cups and cutlery and ask family and friends to bring extra if the gathering is getting big. Most people are happy to muck in and wash up on Christmas Day (I’ve had some of my best chats with family and friends over the kitchen sink!)
  • Pre-loved/recycled gifts — embrace the circular economy this year and buy something pre-loved, recycled or upcycled — some of you may already have bargains from WBGS18 and also check-out Plant Ark’s Recycled Products Directory
  • Make a Donation — this year the adults of our family aren’t giving each other gifts and instead we’re donating to that family member’s charity of choice — most of us really do have enough and Christmas is a time for sharing.
  • Recycle — people go through a huge number of plastic/glass/metal drink containers over Christmas with Christmas drinks and eggnog — now that we have Containers for Change in QLD you can easily do the right thing! And don’t forget your normal council recycling bins!
  • Food, Waste not Want not — I am still personally a work-in-progress getting ensuring I don’t waste food, but really it’s all about planning. And remember people it’s not the end of the world if you run out of something — just think of that other waist! haha
Ourgoodbrands Christmas Shopping List.

Here’s hoping yours is a joyous, peaceful and sustainable Christmas, wherever you are. Thank you to all our partners, volunteers and the wider Bris Vegas community for making 2018 such a wonderful year. WBGS are looking forward to a cracking 2019!