Liveable Communities Through Engagement, Culture & Connection

It is every conservationist’s goal to bring nature back to urban areas. Life begins with nature, yet sometimes it needs a little help to keep thriving.

Our current economic crisis is not deterring organisations in continuing vital conservationist work, and many are teaming up together to push forward with finding the best ways to achieve environmental and cultural sustainability.

Webinar 3 of the Liveable Cities Conference: Webinar Series 2020 will take this focus on Tuesday 23rd of June, with three keynote speakers delivering an incredible line-up.

CLICK HERE for the program details and read below for a glimpse of what to expect.

Bringing Nature Back to Urban Areas

Ms Geraldene Dalby-Ball, Director of Kingfisher Urban Ecology and Wetlands

Director of Kingfisher Urban Ecology and Wetlands, Ms Geraldene Dalby-Ball has been doing remarkable work within this field and will be presenting her case studies in webinar 3 of the Liveable Cities Conference: Webinar Series 2020 on Tuesday.

Ms Dalby-Ball’s presentation will show solutions on how to get multiple outcomes from urban waterways and wetlands, through essential consideration. Kingfisher’s goal is to maintain and design urban waterways through the reflection of dreamtime stories and collaboration of the ancient land, its people, and their natural surroundings.

Geraldene is deeply passionate about butterfly conservation and says that even in built up areas, nature can be preserved and helped to be reinstated by using the past to rebuild from. “Projects as simple as Butterfly Birth Places, where through design and planting and engagement, we can bring specific butterflies back, even around high-risk apartment blocks.”

The organisation’s focus is on connecting dream stories with plants and animals, their seasons and cycles, which helps people gain a sense of greater fulfillment, leading them to make better environmental choices that promote a more sustainable way of life.

This presentation is set to be one of honour – of the ancient land, its people and its flora and fauna.

Ways to Make Your Place in Town or City ‘Family’

University of Western Australia’s ARC Chief Investigator of the School of Indigenous StudiesProfessor Len Collard

Professor Len Collard, University of Western Australia’s ARC Chief Investigator of the School of Indigenous Studies, will be our second keynote speaker for the final of our Liveable Cities Conference: Webinar Series 2020.

We are very honoured that Professor Collard will share his imperative insight on the land, culture and its people, through his presentation, “Engaging Indigenous Communities in Change.”

Professor Collard says, “from a Noongar cultural perspective, everything relates to everything else – like a big family”. There is however, an issue with the English language translation of the old language, causing a discourse in understanding the true Noongar language.

The Professor says, “the problem here is that moort, katitjin, Boodjar do not translate to English well at all, because English language explains these and other things as being separate to each other. Noongar language explains moort, katitjin, Boodjar as deeply, intrinsically connected – which is integral to a Noongar worldview.”

The Professor’s extensive cultural research is vital to Australia’s history and culture and his presentation is one to not missed, as he transcends us back 50,000 years.

Transitioning Aotearoa’s Streets To Places For People

Urban Mobility Manager of New Zealand Transport AgencyMs Kathryn King

Organisations such as New Zealand’s Transport Agency are working just as hard to preserve and maximise community culture and sustainability.

Ms Kathryn King, the Urban Mobility Manager of New Zealand Transport Agency will be the final keynote speaker in the Liveable Cities Conference: Webinar Series 2020 next Tuesday. She will present evidence of where transitional design is building safer and more accessible streets, and as a result, it’s creating more trusting and happier communities.

Read more on Kathryn’s work from our previous BLOG and be sure not to miss our third and final webinar in the Liveable Cities Conference: Webinar Series 2020.


You can also register for the full Liveable Cities Conference: Webinar Series 2020 from our Resource Centre to gain access to the final live webinar next Tuesday 26 June, playback access to the first two webinars in the series, and bonus book of abstracts, with 20 pre-recorded presentations and slides from the originally planned 2020 Liveable Cities Conference.

Long Term Planning with Liveable Communities in Mind

Long-term community planning is vital for our liveable cities to prosper. Organisations involved in their community’s infrastructure must be able to look ahead and construct plans where anticipated. Change is not only considered but prepared for in advance.

We cannot always know what the future holds, as we have recently discovered through unanticipated change and subsequent adaptation. However, the last few months have not deterred Australians from continuing to practice and strive for the future of the sustainable movement.

New bike paths have already been put into future planning, due to increased demand. Transport Secretary Rodd Staples mentioned in an online webinar in May that future development could incorporate a 40 year plan, in as little as three years.

Urban Mobility Manager of the New Zealand Transport Agency; Ms Kathryn King

But Australia is not the only country adopting this new wave of smarter transport development. Urban Mobility Manager of the New Zealand Transport Agency; Ms Kathryn King, manages the Urban Mobility Programme at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. She is co-author of the Keeping Cities Moving plan and the lead for the Innovating Streets for People Program. Be sure to tune into her presentation in webinar 3 of the Liveable Cities Conference: Webinar Series 2020.

Smarter transportation is just one facet already in motion. Other organisations have their own key plans for a brighter, more sustainable future.


CSIRO’s Australian National Outlook 2019 and the Urban Shift

According to CSIRO’s 2019 Report, the future of Australia will include an outlook vision where communities will have equal access to employment all round, more amenities to improve quality of lifestyles, superior health services and education, plus more affordable and better connected cities if their three proposed levers are put into action.

The CSIRO’s plan is to tackle society’s features within urban design, energy, land use, culture and the industry itself, to reach the outlook vision from their report. By accommodating for Australia’s population increase over the next few decades and incorporating their plan for our liveable cities, the ‘Urban Shift’ will be achieved.


CSIRO’s Senior Research Scientist in Land and water; Mr Tim Baynes

CSIRO’s Senior Research Scientist in land and water; Mr Tim Baynes is one of our keynote speakers in webinar 2 of our Liveable Cities Conference: Webinar Series 2020 taking place online on Tuesday 16th June from 10:00am – 12:30pm. Tim’s talk will review the approach and outputs of ANO 2019 and, in particular, elements of the ‘Urban Shift’ scenario within that vision.


Coreo’s Circular Economy in the Built Environment: Creating Purposeful Places for People and Planet

In 2017, Coreo was founded and created Australia’s first circular economy pilot project. The company’s mission is to catalyst the global transition to a circular economy.

Since their launch, the company has begun several successful projects including:

  • Circular Economy Master Planned Community Strategy
  • The Southern Hemisphere’s Most Circular Airport
  • Economic Analysis & Sectoral Assessment for Queensland
  • Community Resilience Project
  • Circular Economy Innovation Precinct
  • Creating Circular Supply Chains
  • Regional Economic Development Transition to Action
  • The First Step for Retail
  • Co-Create & Incubate
  • The Circular Experiment Goes to Rotorua

You can download the Circular Economy Overview for the Yarrabilba Community, QLD – 2019 to gain further insight to the wonderful work Coreo is doing.

Chief Executive Officer; Ms Ashleigh Morris left, & Chief Operating Officer; Ms Jaine Morris right

Chief Executive Officer; Ms Ashleigh Morris and Chief Operating Officer; Ms Jaine Morris are two more keynote speakers involved in webinar 2 of the Liveable Cities Conference: Webinar Series 2020 and will be sharing their insight on what the circular economy is and how it is creating purposeful places for people and planet, through providing examples of their work in the built environment with Lendlease, Mirvac, the Queensland Investment Corporation, Brisbane City Council and others.


Ask Us What We Want

Democracy is also a vital key in unlocking economic, social, and environmental opportunities when it comes to a sustainable future in our liveable cities. People’s opinions within a community matter and just one voice can send a powerful message.

Founder of newDemocracy FoundationManaging Director of Transfield Holdings, & Prisma InvestmentMr Luca Belgiorno-Nettis AM

Managing Director of Transfield Holdings, and Prisma Investment; Mr Luca Belgiorno-Nettis AM is the founder of newDemocracy Foundation. Established in 2004, this non-for-profit research organisation’s sole focus was on political reform. Its research and development notes contributed to the academic enhancement of democracy through their learnings, reflections and discoveries and fostered a culture of persistent innovation and research.

Luca will be the final speaker in webinar 2 on Tuesday and will take us through a presentation that will enlighten viewers with the importance of democracy existing within our communities and how a person’s voice can have an important impact. For a prelude to Luca’s presentation, CLICK HERE

Luca says, “I’m often pleasantly surprised by how differently an issue can be viewed, and how creatively and intelligently a problem can be resolved by giving people the time and resources to answer questions that affect them.” Read Luca’s article on democracy recently published in The Mandarin.

Webinar 2 of the Liveable Cities Conference: Webinar Series 2020 is set to hit the bar. Be sure to register for the event.


Program Details

Architectural Design Making a Positive Impact on Sustainability in your Liveable City

If you are faced with the question; “Are you part of a liveable city”, would you know how to answer?

Many would consider any city that they live in as a liveable city, but what does that really mean?

The answer revolves around a few simple words that some of us are well versed with, while others are not. – sustainability, conservation, environmentally friendly, eco-friendly and carbon friendly (to name a few).

Creating a more liveable city comes down to several factors, beginning with residential and commercial designs that offer sustainable features.

Modern technology is now proving that there are new ways of building more sustainable homes, commercial offices and even shopping centres. We did some investigating around Australia and found a few architects that deserve to be praised for this kind of work.


A Melbourne architectural company leads a great example by designing carbon neutral homes and commercial properties. Several architects met in December 2019 and collaborated on how to achieve carbon neutral home designs. They are now working together to achieve a more sustainable future in Australian cities.

The Design Director Jeremy McLeod, who founded the company in 2001 together with Tamara Veltre, has asked business owners to pledge that they will take their business into a carbon neutral future via an Architects Declare Architects Act movement. It’s a promise where united architects aim to take Australia into the future with new, modernised designs that will be 100% green powered, carbon audited by 30 June 2020 to ensure it’s working, and will be carbon neutral by 30 December 2020.

Visit their website and check out some of their incredible designs already achieving a carbon neutral future.


Another Melbourne-based architectural company that needs to be praised for their outstanding sustainable work is Bent Architecture.

Established in 2003 by Directors Paul and Merran Porjazoski, they have built and designed sustainable buildings that have won a number of national and international awards, including two open design competitions (Growing Up Green Roof and Living Places Public Housing.

They have proven themselves to be leaders in both residential and commercial designs that are environmentally sustainable, and low costing.


The list goes on with several organisations in Australia already making a positive and sustainable impact in our cities that need to be acknowledged and the Association for Sustainability in Business has been lucky enough to be secure some of the experts in the country for our new webinar series.

If you are interested on how others are successfully achieving positive sustainable results within communities, the first webinar of the Liveable Cities Conference: Webinar Series 2020 is all about sustainable design and architecture making a positive impact on the future of sustainable liveable cities.

The first webinar will be held live online on Tuesday 9th of June 2020 between 10:00am – 12:30pm. The schedule includes three successful case studies delivered by keynote speakers, showcasing how sustainability can be implemented into your liveable city through an intellectually sustainable design. Here’s two of the case studies that will be presented online in June as part of the webinar series.


Ms Jessica Stewart; the Sustainability Manager of the Ginninderry project will be speaking about how they have effectively advocated homes with smarter energy solutions that have allowed them to uphold their Ginnindery Green Start Communities rating by constructing sustainable dwelling which create the same or more energy than they consume.


Ms Naomi Lawrence, the Senior Development Manager at DevelopingWA, will be the second webinar speaker, delivering a presentation on the case study of the East Village at Knutsford, one of the most highly desired villages to live at in Freemantle in Perth.

The three-part webinar series is set to propel you into the future of sustainable design and several steps closer towards achieving the main goal; to improve sustainable lifestyles.



Here’s What Happens to Our Plastic Recycling When it Goes Offshore

Last year many Australians were surprised to learn that around half of our plastic waste collected for recycling is exported, and up to 70% was going to China.

So much of the world’s plastic was being sent to China that China imposed strict conditions on further imports. The decision sent ripples around the globe, leaving most advanced economies struggling to manage vast quantities of mixed plastics and mixed paper.

By July 2018, which is when the most recent data was available, plastic waste exports from Australia to China and Hong Kong reduced by 90%. Since then Southeast Asia has become the new destination for Australia’s recycled plastics, with 80-87% going to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Other countries have also begun to accept Australia’s plastics, including the Philippines and Myanmar.

But it looks like these countries may no longer deal with Australia’s detritus.

In the middle of last year Thailand and Vietnam announced restrictions on imports. Vietnam announced it would stop issuing import licences for plastic imports, as well as paper and metals, and Thailand plans to stop all imports by 2021. Malaysia has revoked some import permits and Indonesia has begun inspecting 100% of scrap import shipments.

Why are these countries restricting plastic imports?

The reason these countries are restricting plastic imports is because of serious environmental and labour issues with the way the majority of plastics are recycled. For example, in Vietnam more than half of the plastic imported into the country is sold on to “craft villages”, where it is processed informally, mainly at a household scale.

Informal processing involves washing and melting the plastic, which uses a lot of water and energy and produces a lot of smoke. The untreated water is discharged to waterways and around 20% of the plastic is unusable so it is dumped and usually burnt, creating further litter and air quality problems. Burning plastic can produce harmful air pollutants such as dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls and the wash water contains a cocktail of chemical residues, in addition to detergents used for washing.

Working conditions at these informal processors are also hazardous, with burners operating at 260-400℃. Workers have little or no protective equipment. The discharge from a whole village of household processors concentrates the air and water pollution in the local area.

Before Vietnam’s ban on imports, craft villages such as Minh Khai, outside Hanoi, had more than 900 households recycling plastic scraps, processing 650 tonnes of plastics per day. Of this, 25-30% was discarded, and 7 million litres of wastewater from washing was discharged each day without proper treatment.

These recycling villages existed before the China ban, but during 2018 the flow of plastics increased so much that households started running their operations 24 hours a day.

The rapid increase in household-level plastic recycling has been a great concern to local authorities, due to the hazardous nature of emissions to air and water. In addition, this new industry contributes to an already significant plastic litter problem in Vietnam.

This article was originally published by The Conversation. Click here to read entire article.


Join the discussion on the current challenges, successes and opportunities for Australia’s sustainability practices at the 2019 National Sustainability Conference this April.

Find out more here.


Q&A With LUSH Cosmetics Australia and New Zealand

At the Association for Sustainability in Business, it’s our mission to connect and collaborate with businesses and individuals passionate about sustainable business practices.

LUSH Cosmetics is one of the leaders in the health and beauty industry dedicated to minimising waste and focusing on the power of local buying.

We spoke with Elisia Gray, Buyer at LUSH Cosmetics Australia and New Zealand about LUSH’s sustainable business practices, the sLush fund and what makes LUSH a little different.

Q. What are some of LUSH’s green initiatives?

A. Sustainability is at the core of what we do at LUSH. In 2007 we created Charity Pot Hand and Body Lotion to raise money for small grassroots charities. Community contribution is entrenched in our values and part of being an ethical business with a strong sense of social responsibility. 100% of sales (minus the GST) is donated to fund grassroots charities and Not For Profit projects working on animal welfare, human rights and environmental issues.

Our 5 Pot Program encourages customers to recycle by offering a free face mask in exchange for five empty LUSH pots. We send these used black pots to TerraCycle who recycle and repurpose traditionally difficult to recycle plastics.

We’ve also tackled the environmental issues that surround the bottled water industry by banning the use of single-use plastic water bottles in January 2014 and the use of disposable coffee cups from December 2014 across the Australian business.

Q. What impacts are the cosmetics industry having on the environment and what are the long-term effects of these practices?

A. Cosmetic packaging generates an enormous amount of waste, with millions of tonnes ending up in landfills each year. By 2050, it’s estimated that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

LUSH is leading the way in innovative solid products, which eliminate the need for packaging altogether. Over 35 percent of our products are totally unpackaged, or as we affectionately call them, “Naked”. Our naked solid shampoo bars, conditioners, bath bombs and massage bars save millions of plastic bottles from being produced, transported and disposed of every year. At a time of increased plastic pollution and dwindling resources, there’s a chance to offer balance by offering choice to customers.

When we can’t eliminate packaging completely, like in the case of shower gels or gift boxes, we only use recycled and recyclable materials.

Q. What makes LUSH different?

A. At LUSH we see ourselves as cosmetics grocers with our fresh, handmade and inventive products loaded with the freshest ingredients and essential oils. We were founded in 1995 in the United Kingdom by a group of animal and environmental activists who didn’t want to leave their ethics at home when they went to work.

LUSH is different in that we are and will always be a campaigning company. We believe in standing up for animal welfare, environmental protection and supporting human rights, and we believe it is our responsibility to do so.

Q. How does LUSH’s ethical buying work?

A. We put an enormous amount of care into every product we make, and it’s important for us to work with suppliers who do the same. When sourcing ingredients for our products we like to know where they come from, how they’re made and how they impact the communities that produce them. To look into these questions, we have a dedicated Ethical Buying team that works hard researching and meeting with suppliers and producers to ensure that they – and the materials they sell – meet our standards.

Our buyers work to find local sources within our own communities, but when this isn’t possible, they travel worldwide to visit potential suppliers. On these trips, they trace the ingredients journey from planting to harvest to processing to ensure the process is ethical from start to finish. Through these visits, our buyers build close relationships with growers and producers, while helping to maintain sustainable practices and fair conditions for workers.

Q. Tell us a bit more about the ‘Slush Fund’

A. The Sustainable LUSH Fund (SLush) was established in November 2010 with the idea of moving our ethical buying practices beyond simply buying fairly traded ingredients, to develop supportive partnerships with the communities that produce them. The SLush Fund has enabled LUSH to go beyond a sustainable organic alternative and conventional agriculture to permaculture projects.

The mechanics of the SLush Fund are straightforward: alongside the amount LUSH spends on raw materials and packaging each year, up to £1m is donated to the fund.​ For the year ended 30th June 2017 SLush raised a total of £1,465,000 predominately to permaculture farms and to some of our suppliers to enable them to become more sustainable.

Mehmet Cetinkaya, 53 years old, airs the rose petals as they are left to dry on the factory floor. He has worked at the Sebat factory for 16 years. His son also works at the factory.

Q. What can other businesses learn from LUSH’s sustainable initiatives?

A. You don’t always need enormous gestures when you’re getting started. Incremental changes that affect daily behaviour are the best way to build it up – like when we gave staff members reusable water bottles or KeepCups. Seeing the momentum that builds can give a business more confidence to take that next step in reducing their impacts. If it is built slowly and authentically, businesses might feel emboldened to take more impactful steps towards social change and standing up for what they value.

Q. LUSH’s top three tips for sustainable buying?

1. Conduct regular farm and factory visits

By conducting regular farm and factory visits we are able to establish a relationship with suppliers built trust and collaboration. We encourage suppliers to tell us about their product and brand history along with any challenges they face. We reassure suppliers that we are willing to work with them and encourage open dialogue.

This discourse often results in LUSH becoming passionate about the issues our suppliers are passionate about too!

2. Think global and act local

Where we can, we buy local and aim to work with growers and producers. LUSH is unique in that we manufacture our own cosmetics here in Villawood, Sydney. Our staff are a diverse group, both culturally and socially, and we have a deep connection to the local community,
so it makes sense to apply the same values to the way we do business. We’ll often have suppliers stop by our office to drop off samples or talk about new developments in their business.

3. Apply permaculture principles to your business practices

At LUSH we work with suppliers who have the shared aim of fair pay, decent working conditions and protection of the animals, people and the environment.

We apply permaculture principles to our business practices which are;

  • Fair share
  • Care for people
  • Care for earth

It is a long term aim at LUSH to move beyond sustainability and become an agent of ecological change and regeneration.