sustainability Archives - WBGS
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sustainability Tag

Take Action in Your Business to Help Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

SDG Action Awards

Coming up soon is the Global Festival of Action “to showcase the latest innovations, tools and approaches to SDG advocacy and SDG action.” Held every year in Bonn, Germany, the festival recognises individuals, groups and organisations “who are advancing the global movement for the Sustainable Development Goals in the most transformative, impactful and innovative way” via the UN SDG Action Awards.  We encourage you to check out these businesses and find inspiration in what others are doing.

“To meet the SDGs we need everyone to take action.” SDG Action Awards

Australian businesses CEO Statement of Support for SDGs

Together with several other countries, Australia has signed up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – a blueprint for action to “promote prosperity while protecting the planet”. Australia’s participation started on 1 January 2016 and runs until the end of 2030. Further to this in September of that same year, over 30 Australian companies signed a CEO Statement of Support for the Sustainable Development Goals. We applaud their commitment and contribution to realising a sustainable future for Australia and the world.

 

SDG Private Sector Importance

This points to the importance of the private sector and the critical role businesses will play in achieving the SDGs. As Alice Cope, Executive Manager of the Global Compact Network Australia said, “We are seeing companies embrace the SDGs both in recognition of the critical role they have in contributing to the agenda but also the upside to their businesses in doing so. The SDGs provide a framework for both risk management and opportunity.” “

 

Businesses that are able to offer solutions to the local and global sustainability challenges represented by the goals will build resilience, find new markets and position themselves competitively for the future,” Ms Cope.

 

WBGS and the SDGs

At WBGS we are all about action. Our events that promote the circular economy and facilitate activation of dormant goods for good, directly impact SDG goals:

  • 1 (No Poverty),
  • 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities),
  • 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) 
  • 13 (Climate Action) and
  • are realised by goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

The goals that our activities target through the community and grassroots activities are:

  • 3 (Good Health and Well-being),
  • 5 (Gender Equality),
  • 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and
  • 9 (Industry Innovation and Infrastructure).

Finally from funds raised at our events we can partner with other organisations to direct impact to the remaining goals.

In order for the SDGs to be realised by 2030, it’s going to take a global effort, with a local grassroots foundation and a realisation that we are more connected than we are divided. We all impact one another, and businesses can dovetail more sustainably into others. Partnerships (SDG17), collaborating with government, the private sector and the community were key to how WBGS got started. As stated at a UN press conference: “We will need all partners to make this a success.” 

 

SDG Workshop

We want to help your business take action, so this May we are partnering with THE IMPACT FACULTY and The University of Queensland Centre for Policy Futures to deliver Sustainable Development Goals for Business. This is a one day workshop on the United Nations #SDGs to help you map the SDGs to your current plans and learn from other case studies.

Business engagement is key to achieving #agenda2030. Come and spend a day learning how to align and action the #SDGs in your business. If you would like to know more or to register your attendance please see Event details or use the link in our comments section!

 

Circular Economy Brisbane Innovators in our Midst

Monday night was another fantastic Circular Economy Futures Meetup for Brisbane. We discussed ‘waste to wealth’ and explored innovative and sustainable solutions for building a Circular Economy. There are some excellent businesses in Brisbane doing some really great work, tackling different issues. From prolonging the life of industrial equipment, to creating useful products from waste, Brisbane has seem real innovators in its midst.

 

Brad Parsons, CEO, MOVUS

Harnessing the Circular Power of AI: ‘Turning Dumb Machines Into Smart Machines’

Our first speaker, Brad Parsons, CEO of MOVUS, discussed how they’re helping to bring sustainability to industry. MOVUS’ world-leading Industrial IoT (IIoT) solution FitMachine® transforms dumb equipment into ‘smart equipment’. It enables this through consumer styled simplicity combined with world-class artificial intelligence. MOVUS’ FitMachine proactively monitors the condition and operating performance of industrial equipment.

Brad challenged us to look at the ‘way’ we live. Their work really fits into the inner circle of maintain/prolong within the Ellen Macarthur Foundation butterfly diagram. Their devices improve asset management and lifecycle optimization, with maintenance teams proactively monitoring and maintaining equipment, rather than reacting to failures or following OEM preventive maintenance schedules. The overall outcome being waste reduction, increased efficiency and empowered people. There was some really great discussion around prolonging the life of machines and keeping them in good working order for as long as possible.

 

Brendan Lee, Circular Economy Manager, Closed Loop

Trash to Treasure: Innovation in Recycling

Our second speaker, Brendan Lee, Circular Economy Manager of Closed Loop, showed us some of the great work they’ve been doing. Very much focused on creating sustainable solutions within existing business models they are finding useful products from waste. Their work sits on the outer arm of the Ellen Macarthur Foundation butterfly diagram looking at recycling. With their Simply Cups coffee cup solution they’re providing an excellent mechanism to ensure the excess of 1 billion disposable coffee cups avoid landfill in Australia. They’re collecting the coffee cups and transforming this trash into treasure with several innovative products emerging, ranging from coat hangers and bricks to pallets and even a keep-cup the rCup®, made from the disposed coffee cups. If that isn’t circular, then I don’t know what is!

They’re also tackling food waste, by providing customers with commercial on-site composting units recycling organic matter, with the capacity to reduce food waste volume by up to 90 per cent in 24 hours. This is some seriously impressive technology, with the machines taking food and organic waste throughout the day, including fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy, meat, fish, poultry, eggshells, crustacean shells and liquid. Within 24 hours, the original material is transformed into a concentrated compost ready for the garden!! Significantly improving on allowed inputs and time of home composting.

Highlighting MOVUS and Closed Loop on the Circular Economy Butterfly Diagram – Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation, SUN, and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment; Drawing from Braungart & McDonough, Cradle to Cradle (C2C)

 

Our First Youth Speaker: Activating the Sustainable Development Goals

Finally, we heard from Sarah and Simeon, co-founders of Illuminating Distractions, a mother and son team working together to educate and engage people on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Illuminating Distractions is a start-up supported by St Paul’s School Centre for Innovation (CIE) and Entrepreneurship. With a passion for the world and a desire to make sure people are educated on sustainable practices, Sarah and Simeon created a fun and interactive card game to teach players about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. And we’re big proponents of SD12 Responsible Consumption and Production, where Circular Economy practices will really come to the fore to address this goal. They’ve already sold over 100 units including some to the United Nations! Our future is in good hands with young leaders like Simeon leading the change.

 

Slide by Illuminating Distractions, Sarah & Simeon Gover

 

The event has really grown over the last few months and the energy on Monday night was fantastic – plenty of robust discussion and connection before and after the talks. It’s a really innovative, encouraging and supportive group proactively bringing the Circular Economy to life in Brisbane and Australia, all with solutions that have the potential to go global. If you have ideas or really care about the Circular Economy, come along to our next Event Wednesday, April 24 to learn and share.

 

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!

This Christmas Join the Growing Movement of Conscious Consumers Who Aren’t Above Pre-loved

With Christmas just around the corner, Brisbane shoppers who want to celebrate the circular economy this year are encouraged to visit the World’s Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS) on Sat 17 November, with a preview night on Fri 16 November. According to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan, Australians will spend more than $51 billion across retail stores over the Christmas trading period, a 2.9 per cent increase over the previous year. It would be great to see some of that staggering amount of money going towards creating and sustaining a circular economy in Australia.

 

Christmas Decorations available for Sale at WBGS18

The last couple of years have shone a spotlight on waste, with the ABC’s War on Waste series, and China’s waste ban this year highlighting our consumer culture and a waste problem that has been growing for some time. Our attitudes and perceptions regarding products really need to change — we need to look beyond the surface of an item for its buried value. The latest, greatest and shiniest isn’t always the best (particularly for the environment) and while something might not be ‘brand new’, it can still be new for you or your loved ones.

A lot of people still feel a real stigma around giving gifts that are pre-loved, thinking that others will consider them stingy, but there are a couple of ways to transition.

  • Start with someone you know cares about the environment and openly declare that it is a pre-loved gift and proudly announce where you bought it from, showing the receiver that not only are they receiving a wonderful gift, but that the money spent acquiring it is going towards growing a better community and world to live in.
  • Carefully match the item to the person and ensure it is something they will absolutely love, so they know you’ve put a lot of care into its purchase.
  • Children are great recipients of pre-loved gifts, often not giving a care about where it came from (I know my kids often had more fun with the big box the present came in, rather than the actual gift!). Again, if it’s not for your kids, declare the origins of the gift.
Stationery and Toys on offer at WBGS18 this weekend.

There are many great items on offer at WBGS that would make excellent gifts e.g. christmas decorations, antiques, arts and crafts, stationery, home décor and artwork, quality manchester, electrical goods, gardening items, toys for the kids and appliances still in their boxes.

According to Channel 7 news, most Brisbane locals are more likely to spend money in-store than online and about half of Brisbane like to get their Christmas shopping done by the end of November. So be sure to include WBGS on your November Christmas Shopping trail, grab a bargain and join the growing movement of conscious consumers who aren’t above pre-loved and enjoy knowing their purchase is helping the environment and growing a better world powered by People, Planet and Profit for Purpose!

Volunteering for WBGS: Empowering individuals, corporations and the community

Volunteers are the backbone of WBGS — without them the show simply wouldn’t go on. Volunteering is a great way to feel more connected to your local community and to contribute something positive and meaningful outside of your normal week. It’s also a great way to help grow and support something new in your community — like the World’s Biggest Garage Sale and help people feel like they’re doing something to turn a problem around i.e. tackling waste.

Australia has a rich history of volunteering. Many iconic organisations that we know now and take for granted were started by a group of volunteers who saw a problem that needed to be addressed. For example Surf Life Saving Australia, the Endeavour Foundation, Clean Up Australia, and most recently Orange Sky.

The personal empowerment that comes from volunteering is immeasurable. Individuals can:

  • gain experience and new skills (especially when you’re studying, or formal work might be limited), bolstering confidence and leading to a sense of achievement and accomplishment;
  • socialize, meet new people and expand their network of contacts, which improves wellbeing;
  • help grow a worthwhile activity that is addressing a real-world problem and give back to the community and feel hopeful and empowered as a result.

Not only is volunteering great for an individual, it’s also great for companies. Instead of expensive Corporate Team Building exercises, organisations could consider Corporate Volunteering and work with a local not-for-profit or profit-for-purpose organization. Volunteering Australia highlights that Corporate Volunteering provides companies “with the opportunity to develop staff skills, build teams and bolster your reputation within your local community.”

                                              Mark Simpson, Performance Business Director of News Corp Qld

Some of our Corporate Partners who have volunteered time and effort are News Corp Australia and CISCO Qld. Mark Simpson, Performance Business Director of News Corp Qld stated, “it’s all about connection with community, that’s what we do, day in and day out with our content…talking to over 80% of Queenslanders every month, so what better way to connect with community than by working with the World’s Biggest Garage Sale”.

CISCO Qld are taking 50 people out of their office for a full day to help support the WBGS this year, and Michael Reid, State Manager said “by taking our staff out of the office for a whole day and giving back to the World’s Biggest Garage Sale, the impact that they feel walking away is incredible. It actually brings our team together, it’s a team building event for us, we make it a big celebration and we hope it makes an impact at the other end.”

So next time you’re sitting back worried about the growing waste problem in Australia and climate change, rather than feel frustrated, consider volunteering with WBGS. Because the truth is, your contribution really does matter and makes a big difference. In the words of Margaret Mead,

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Come and volunteer with WBGS. We are a fun, passionate and committed group wanting to grow the circular economy, reduce waste and help the environment by promoting sustainable living practices. There are several ways you can get involved, such as Department Manager where you can develop your leadership and management skills, Drivers, Caterers and Retail roles.

And last but not least, a big shout out to all our individual and corporate volunteers. Thank you so much for all your support, enthusiasm and hard work — we can’t do it without you!