Scientist, conservationist, educator: for over four decades Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas has studied and worked closely with the orangutans of Indonesian Borneo in their natural habitat, and is today the world’s foremost authority on the orangutan.
Galdikas was born after the end of World War II, while her parents were en route to Canada from their homeland of Lithuania. Galdikas grew up and went to school in Toronto. After checking out her first library book, Curious George, at the age of six, Galdikas was inspired by the man in the yellow hat and his unruly monkey. By the second grade, she had decided on her life’s work: she wanted to be an explorer.
When her family moved from Canada to the United States in 1964, Galdikas had already completed a year of studies at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver. She continued her studies of natural sciences at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), quickly earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology and zoology in 1966 and her master’s degree in anthropology in 1969. It was there as a graduate student that she first met Kenyan anthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey and spoke with him about her desire to study orangutans.
Although Dr. Leakey seemed disinterested at first, Galdikas persuaded him of her passion. After three years, Dr. Leakey finally found the funding for Galdikas’ orangutan studies, as he had previously done with both Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey for their respective studies on chimpanzees and mountain gorillas.
In 1971, Galdikas and her then husband, Rod Brindamour, arrived in one of the world’s last wild places, Tanjung Puting Reserve in Indonesian Borneo. There were no telephones, roads, electricity, television, or regular mail service at that time. Before she left the U.S., she was told by her professors and others that it “couldn’t be done”; she wouldn’t be able to study orangutans in the wild. They were too elusive and wary, living almost entirely in deep swamps.
Before long, however, her hard work and determination had paid off. She set up “Camp Leakey,” named after her mentor and began documenting the ecology and behaviour of the wild orangutans. Four years later, she wrote the cover article for National Geographic Magazine, bringing orangutans widespread international public attention for the first time. The article was illustrated with Brindamour’s photographs.
Dr. Galdikas has lectured extensively on the orangutans and their tropical rain forest habitat to thousands of people and numerous institutions in Indonesia and throughout the world. Her dedication not only to understand the nature of the orangutan but also to preserve the creature’s rapidly diminishing natural habitat extends to the people, culture, and environment as well. After 40 years in Tanjung Puting, now a national park, Galdikas has conducted the longest continuous study by one principal investigator of any wild mammal in the world.
Galdikas was the first to document the long orangutan birth interval which averaged 7.7 years at Tanjung Puting. She recorded over 400 types of food consumed by orangutans, providing unprecedented detail about orangutan ecology. She also helped elucidate the nature of orangutan social organization and mating systems.
To support her work at Camp Leakey and to help support orangutans around the world, Dr. Galdikas and her colleagues set up Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) in 1986 with its home base in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Galdikas and her husband, Borneo native Pak Bohap bin Jalan, were also instrumental in establishing sister organisations in Australia, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom. A Lithuanian bank, Ukio Bank, established the Biruté Galdikas Ecology and Support Foundation in Vilnius, Lithuania, to support Galdikas’ work and to increase awareness of conservation in Lithuania.
From March 1996 through the end of March 1998 under a special decree, Galdikas served as a Senior Advisor on orangutan issues to Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry. In June 1997, she won the prestigious “Kalpataru” award, the highest honour given by the Republic of Indonesia for outstanding environmental leadership. She is the only person of non-Indonesian birth and one of the first women to be so recognized by the Indonesian government.
Featured twice on the cover of National Geographic, and the author of scores of scientific articles and reviews, Galdikas has published four books, including her autobiography, Reflections of Eden. Galdikas has also co-edited scientific volumes and served as Book Reviews editor for a primatological journal. Galdikas has been featured in New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and numerous television documentaries such as CBC’s The Third Angel, Connie Chung’s Eye to Eye, and In the Wild with Julia Roberts. The most recent documentaries include Kusasi, From Orphan to King; the Mel Gibson narrated film, The Last Trimate; and the 3D IMAX film, Born to be Wild, narrated by Morgan Freeman.
Dr. Galdikas is Professor Extraordinaire at the Universitas Nasional in Jakarta and Full Professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. She has supervised the field research of almost 100 Indonesian biology students and others. In recognition of her achievements, Dr. Galdikas has received, among other awards, the following:
Today, the situation facing wild orangutans is far more complicated than when Dr. Galdikas first began her studies. As a result of poaching and habitat destruction, viable orangutan populations are on the edge of extinction and could be gone within the next 20 years outside of national parks and reserves. Understanding is the first step to action. As President of OFI, Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas has studied orangutans longer than any other person in human history and has worked ceaselessly to save orangutans and forests, and to bring orangutans and their plight to the attention of the world.
Graz is a passionate innovator, disruptor and changemaker currently leading the Banksia Foundation team to communicate inspirational solutions and promote optimism and action. She has extensive experience working in the Health, Tourism and Telecommunications Industries, creating the Telstra Business Women’s Awards and heading up Telstra’s Small Business Development division. Her skills, experience, determination, and panache contribute towards making meaningful, memorable and valuable events and campaigns from conception to delivery.
Kiam Yoong is an Environmental Sustainability professional passionate about a world in harmony with the natural environment. His expertise and key work areas include:
Kiam is also the Convenor – Environmental Sustainability Specialist Advisory Group for the Zoo Aquarium Association and a member of the Task Force on Single-Use Plastics for World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Ricki started her plastics journey at an early age, working with her family’s plastic recycling business. Since then, she has studied and worked globally delivering environmental sustainability projects in the corporate, community, government and not-for-profit sectors, holding senior management positions at organisations including WWF, Greening Australia and the National EnviroDevelopment Program. Plastic Oceans Australasia focuses on waste management delivery through education, business and science, Ricki and the POA team work to stem the tide on plastic entering our oceans.
Veena Harbaugh serves as Director of Marketing and Communications for B Lab U.S. & Canada where she works to grow the B Corp movement and increase business leadership on the challenges of our time — racial equity, climate justice, and building an inclusive economy.
As a marketer, Veena is fascinated by the companies that make substantive positive impact and the leaders driving change in business. This interest led her to work on sustainability at Salesforce, overhaul communications at The Natural Grocery Company, and become an entrepreneur, running a bike-taxi company with her brother.
Before deciding on business as her lane to make change, Veena was a field organizer in Iowa for President Obama’s 2008 election and worked in local government on policy and communications at the SF Department of the Environment. She conducted original research on the physical impacts of climate change at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and in 2011 was named a Harry S. Truman Scholar. Veena’s spent equal years in Iowa, Texas, and the California Bay Area where she lives now.
Cassie is OzFish’s national Director of Habitat Programs, she heads up our Habitat Project Team across Australia who are busy guiding recreational fisher effort in a broad range of fish habitat restoration and citizen science activities.
Cassie is driven by a passion for sustainable resources, a love of fishing and her farming background. Her career spans 20 years in aquatic habitat restoration and sustainable agriculture projects, predominantly in NSW and Queensland. She has a wealth of knowledge in community-driven conservation from her experience working with WetlandCare Australia and more recently with Landcare NSW. Based in Ballina, Northern NSW, Cass is a keen recreational fisher, nature lover, mother of two and (retired) football player.
He has been leading the protection and restoring fish habitat throughout Australia for 30 years. He has led ground-breaking work in fish passage restoration, wetland rehabilitation, river resnagging as well as floodgate and acid sulphate soil management. He has been responsible for the advancement of recreational fishers undertaking river health projects around Australia a topic that led to a Churchill Fellowship reviewing examples of best practice habitat management by recreational fishers around the world.
Josh Howard is the CEO & Founder of viral Aussie sustainability brand Single Use Ain’t Sexy. Josh’s business has saved up to 125,000 single-use plastic soap bottles from landfill, by replacing them with dissolvable hand soap tablets and reusable glass soap bottles. Single Use Ain’t Sexy has won a Pause Fest Award and been featured in Time Out, Yahoo News, E News, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, Better Homes & Gardens and The Herald Sun.
Josh also hosts the weekly live TV show ‘Ticker Green’ on Ticker News – Australia’s leading live news destination for sustainable innovation & entrepreneurship. In a previous life, Josh was a New York-based advertising executive & lawyer.
Jennifer has spent 20+ years in the marketing and advertising arena, dedicated to helping her clients improve their customer engagement strategies and customer experiences.
From multinationals in the technology sector to finance, insurance, travel, hospitality and non-profit organisations, her career has spanned across cultures in the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Jennifer’s most recent role has enabled her to develop and drive the new Sustainability practice at TEAM LEWIS, working internally and with clients to enhance sustainability strategies and marketing communication.
Sustainability practices are a critical part of a company’s overall commitment to ESG, which is core to supporting a business’ purpose. Jennifer is passionate about uncovering and communicating a company’s purpose to drive business goals and outcomes.
Orsolya Lelkes is a social scientist and certified coach, former Deputy Director at the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Vienna (a United Nations-affiliated institute) and former Head of Economic Research at Hungarian Ministry of Finance. She holds a PhD from the London School of Economics. Dr Lelkes seeks how these two worlds: that of the common good and that of individuals´ lives and passions can mutually strengthen and reinforce each other. Her recent book “Sustainable Hedonism. A Thriving Life that Does Not Cost the Earth” was published by Bristol University Press.
Mr McGregor is one of Australia’s most experienced commercial algae producers and is a true believer in the ability of algae to make a significant impact in fighting climate change and providing a high protein alternative to feed the planet. Colin has commercialized algae growth systems for a number of Australian and international companies plus developed unique technology for the high volume and low cost production of algae. Genesis produces an algae feed supplement that reduces cow methane emissions by 20%. Genesis also produce an algae based fertiliser that is proven to enable accelerated soil carbon sequestration.
Tracie is an experienced sustainability and climate change professional. She is driven by a passion for creating positive change, and takes pride in crafting tangible sustainability outcomes. She holds a Masters in Sustainability from Monash University and currently works in local government developing climate change policy. Prior to this, she worked for the Climate Council, Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation, providing authoritative, expert advice to the Australian public on climate change and solutions based on the most up-to-date science available. On a personal note, Tracie walks the sustainability talk by living in an off-grid Tiny House with her family in the forests of South-Eastern Melbourne.
From a young age Julia was drawn to all things material and design which led her to a career in architecture. Over the past decade she worked in the Architecture industry where her experience took her throughout Australia and Europe designing local galleries through to schools.
Working in the construction industry was a real eye opener for her as she saw copious amounts of waste with no clear solution in sight. For someone who grew up caring deeply for the landscape around her this was a disturbing sight to see, she couldn’t believe the amount of waste the everyday business was churning through and knew something needed to be done.
It didn’t take much time to discover that in Australia alone we send 150,000 tonnes of stretch wrap to landfill every year and that unfortunately there wasn’t a solution to the problem.
With all of this in mind, in 2019, Julia Co-founded Great Wrap with her husband Jordy Kay, a company that set out to design their way out of the plastics pandemic we’re living in, through material innovation. Today Great Wrap manufactures stretch wrap from food waste for homes and businesses at their ever evolving solar powered factory on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.
Josh also hosts the weekly live TV show ‘Ticker Green’ on Ticker News – Australia’s leading live news destination for sustainable innovation & entrepreneurship. In a previous life, Josh was a New York-based advertising executive & lawyer.
Tom has a PhD in Mathematics and Oceanography. Tom invented the technology of WSE. He has served as the Australian government’s representative on the International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Systems Executive Committee, as well as on the Global Roundtable on Climate Change, an initiative of the Special Adviser to the Secretary General of the United Nations. Tom was the first person to be inducted into the International Ocean Energy Hall of Fame in 2007, and has served on the Australian Government’s Advisory Board for the Clean Energy Innovation Centre and the CSIRO Advisory Committee for the Australian Wave Energy Atlas Project. As Chair of WSE, Tom’s board responsibilities include technology and strategy.
Simon is particularly passionate about marine and coastal restoration – a passion informed by growing up fishing and diving in Queensland, spending many years of surfing throughout Australia and spending 15 years working in restoration in estuarine and coastal ecosystems. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy (TNC), he worked at the Victorian National Parks Association. He has also been on the Board of Directors for Surfrider Foundation Australia and as Chairperson for Environment Tasmania.
As TNC’s East Coast Operations Manager, Simon is responsible for overseeing the rebuilding of shellfish reefs across the eastern states of Australia and Tasmania. He’s a part of the team that’s delivering on a bold commitment to rebuild 60 reefs over 6 years – to bring shellfish reef ecosystems back from the brink of extinction.
Simon has a Master of Environmental Management from The University of Tasmania. He commenced working at TNC in 2014.
Joey Clarke is an ecologist and Senior Science Communicator with Australian Wildlife Conservancy. With a lifelong passion for the natural world, he studied ecology and evolution at the Australian National University, then completed an honours research project on the ecology and conservation of a little-known bird in the remote north-west Kimberley region of Western Australia. Joey has worked with Australian Wildlife Conservancy for over a decade, starting as a guide at Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary, then taking on roles in fundraising and communications. During 2020-2021 he hosted a series of popular online conversations about AWC’s work around the country, and he has appeared regularly on national and international media as a spokesperson for the organisation. Joey has worked across AWC’s network of sanctuaries from Cape York to Central Australia, the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Kimberley, and outback New South Wales.
Originally from the UK, Louise has more than 25 years of experience in business leadership, 15 of which have been at board level. Over the last 18 months, Louise has utilised her extensive background in business development and strategy to develop and grow the organisation. This has included speaking about the organisation at events and across media (having recently discovered a flair for podcast hosting). Her leadership role is to inspire the team, and the general public to support the vision of the organisation, whilst ensuring that good governance is maintained.
Louise is passionate about a carbon positive Australia, where everyone is taking care of country and it’s her love of the land and thetrees that inspire her work. When she is not working, Louise is a keen walker and loves to take her dog, Elsa, for long adventures. She also enjoys writing and recently had four short stories published in an anthology.
Nicole is Co-Founder of Ewe Care and Executive Director at Ewenique Enterprises PTY LTD – a company that prides itself for the last 20 years on challenging commonly held beliefs around the manufacture and packaging of familiar products by pushing the boundaries of sustainability. Ewenique Enterprises, and Ewe Care by extension, seeks to engage consumers in alternate conversation around the beliefs of what constitutes sustainability and the next direction of its boundaries.
Nicole currently oversees Ewe Care as it launches into the beauty space as Australia’s first luxury sheep milk skin care packaged in 100% compostable packaging. Ewe Care exists to create conversation and challenge consumers to undertake a sustainable and deliberately slow approach to skin care.
Cindy Lüken is an accomplished entrepreneur, food scientist, product designer, chef and former biscuit baker, and pioneer in the growing clean + conscious beauty movement.
Cindy created in 2012 Lük Beautifood using her knowledge and expertise in food and nutrition to create beautiful, multi-sensory makeup from food without using synthetic or toxic ingredients. Lük Beautifood is mindful of their environmental footprint and is working to minimize single use packaging and maximize their use of recyclable and post-consumer recycled materials.
Cindy’s mission is to give every woman the opportunity to cultivate her natural beauty without compromising her health and wellbeing. Her range is now available in gift & lifestyle, beauty salons, spas, healthy living and department stores in Australia, Nth America, Hong Kong and Russia!
Cindy has been an active public communicator in the media, at business forums, and in the education and science industry sectors for over 2 decades. She sat on various advisory committees and councils including the National Food Industry Council and Innovation Committees and was a member of the Small Business Advisory panel to the Australian Reserve Bank Board. Awarded an Honorary Master of Science for her contribution industry she has accumulated over 20 export, entrepreneur and business awards including 2x BRW Fast 100 titles.
Yong-Li’s introduction into the personal care industry began when she first started working in the family packaging business over 10 years ago, where they supplied globally (and continue to supply) product packaging to leading sunscreen, skincare, cosmetics and food brands. It was there that she learnt the processes involved with product development and was inspired to create skincare that was luxurious, effective, inclusive and uniquely Australian-made. Yong-Li is also an accredited product formulator and advanced skin science expert.
The Clean + Conscious Awards celebrate exceptional products that work in perfect harmony with our bodies, our environment, and our society.
Emily Fletcher is the founder of the Clean + Conscious Awards, however started her career far removed from the wellness and sustainability industry. A practising Optometrist of 13 years and mother of two, Emily began to document her journey of discovering truly healthy, non-toxic products for her home and family on her blog over six years ago.
Emily’s ability to read scientific research papers, explain her findings clearly, and provide an independent voice without a brand association makes her a well-respected authority in the clean and conscious world.
Emily is passionate about empowering consumers and companies to prioritise the planet and its people and continues to do this as the Head of Research & Education and Founder of the Clean + Conscious Awards.
Founded in 2019, the Awards are leading the way internationally to celebrate the products that work toward clean, ethical and sustainable solutions to protect our bodies, environment and society.
The Awards are proudly independent, 100% free of advertising, and unaffiliated with any brands, corporations or media organisations, making for a fair and transparent judging process.
The 45-strong Expert Panel plays a vital role in hands-on testing and scoring finalist products to help decide the winners. The Panel is made up of beauty and wellness experts, journalists, changemakers, eco-leaders and influencers and is deliberately diverse and inclusive to ensure unbiased outcomes. Panellists in 2021 included Sigourney Cantelo of Beauticate, Sarah Berry of SMH/ The Age, author and activist Plastic Free Mermaid and Lille Madden, First Nations Director of Groundswell.
The Clean + Conscious Awards celebrate exceptional products that work in perfect harmony with our bodies, our environment, and our society. Additional Social Responsibility Awards are also awarded to businesses that lead change and are committed to making a positive impact on society.
The Clean + Conscious Directory of Finalists provides honest information on each product’s ingredients or materials, further information on how each product is ethical, sustainable and responsible, and hands-on product reviews from the Expert Panel. This resource has become a go-to destination for consumers wanting to be empowered with the information to make intentional conscious decisions.
The Awards are run by a team of women who believe that educating people to consume mindfully, at the same time as motivating brands to manufacture responsibly, will affect change on a large scale.
As a lecturer at Yale University, Wake Smith teaches a world-leading undergraduate course on climate intervention, the syllabus of which forms the basis of this book. Smith is also a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard Kennedy School, writing scholarly articles on the aeronautics, costs, and governance of solar geoengineering. Prior to his academic career, Smith served in several executive roles in the commercial aviation industry, including as the President of the flight training division of Boeing and the COO of Atlas Air. He is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Business School.
Julia is passionate about sustainable living, loves to get down and dirty in the garden and is a power tool princess. Her family’s move to acreage and love of writing lead her to start her blog ten years ago titled www.lighterfootprints.com.au (formerly Farewell my Manicure) which subsequently became into a Web TV show via Youtube where she discusses topics from Simple Suburban Sustainability tips to DIY projects and Urban Gardening. Over the years she has written for several publications, held educational workshops on sustainability, beeswax wrap making and DIY cosmetics and has been a guest speaker on P&O Cruise lines.
Joeri is an awarded global thought leader and marketing author on the impact of Millennials and Generation Z on marketing and business and on consumer trends and futurism. His best-selling marketing book ‘How Cool Brands Stay Hot: Branding to Gen Y and Z’ has been awarded several times (i.a., The American Marketing Association Book Prize). As a marketing professor at one of Europe’s leading business schools (Vlerick), Joeri is continuously updating his insights and foresights on consumer behaviour in a fast-changing world. He is increasingly focusing his research and interest on the topics of sustainability:
environmental, prosocial and corporate responsibility and activism. Joeri is a London Business School certified alumnus of the Sustainability Leadership and Corporate Responsibility executive course.
The Dirt Company sells laundry products in thoughtfully designed glass dispenser bottles that are replenished using refill packs. The refill packs are sent back for sanitisation and reuse, effectively eliminating plastic waste from the wash cycle.
In the four years since the launch of The Dirt Company have amassed more than 60,000 direct customers, and with their help prevented more than 70 tonnes of plastic from being created. The idea has been featured in Smart Company, Broadsheet, 9 Honey, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Buzz Feed and The Guardian.
Frankie’s passion for sustainability came early, Stewardessing on SuperYachts through her gap year. Throughout an 18 day Atlantic Crossing, Frankie became deeply troubled by the abundance of plastic waste that had made its way into a part of the world that was so remote to human traffic.
Following her University and a 7 year career working in Strategic Consulting, Frankie had the idea to tackle this waste by redesigning a packaging system for household products. The Dirt Company was officially in 2017, and recovered and reused about 40,000 pc of packaging per year.
Inna Braverman founded Eco Wave Power at the age of 24. Under her leadership, the company installed its first grid-connected wave energy array, secured a significant projects pipeline of 325.7MW, and became the first Israeli company to ever list on Nasdaq Stockholm (Stock Symbol: ECOWVE). Recently the company was also listed on Nasdaq US (Stock Symbol: WAVE).
Inna was recognized by Wired Magazine as one of the “Females Changing the World”, by Fast Company as one of the world’s “Most Creative People in Business for 2020” and is the winner of the United Nations “Global Climate Action Award”.
For Inna, clean electricity is a very personal journey, as she was born two weeks before the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster and suffered respiratory arrest due to the pollution in the region. Luckily, her mother, a nurse, came to her crib on time and gave her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which saved her life. She got a second chance in life and decided to devote it to the development of a clean and safe method of electricity production.
Belinda has worked in the Australian and international energy markets as an advisor, manager and director for almost two decades. She is still constantly amazed by the rollercoaster that is the Australian renewable industry. Belinda is currently the Country Manager and Director of X-Elio’s Australian operations. X-Elio is a global leader in utility scale renewable projects, with 2.5GW built and 25 plants operating in 10 countries.
Belinda manages and supports a brilliant team of professionals in the development of 600MW+ renewable projects in Australia. She looks forward to celebrating the completion of X-Elio’s 200MW Blue Grass solar farm in Queensland shortly (and maybe a road trip to the solar farm with her 6 year old as a show-and-tell of “what mum does for work”).
Shaun Bajada is the Executive Director of the Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA), the peak body of Australia’s sporting goods sector. Shaun has a strong reputation across the sports and retail industry, with more than 15 years of experience in senior executive leadership roles. Shaun is passionate about helping the sporting goods sector reduce its waste, which is why ASGA teamed up with recycling partner Save Our Soles (SOS), on an industry-first recycling initiative TreadLightly.
TreadLightly takes unwanted sports and active lifestyle footwear and gives it new life as flooring for retail, gyms and playgrounds around Australia. With nearly 500 collection points at leading sports and active lifestyle retailers across Australia, TreadLightly makes it really simple for people for consumers, athletes, sports enthusiasts, and active lifestyle lovers to collectively reduce their footprint. TreadLightly is providing a local solution to the global waste problem and making it easier than ever before for us all to tread lightly.
Dylan Klingbiel is the Environment Manager at Duxton Vineyards and works to preserve the natural resources the company relies upon. Establishing himself in the wine industry in 2013, Dylan’s passions led him to obtain a degree in environmental science and chemistry in 2017. Favouring irrigation and efficiency, he is focused on regeneration, revegetation and supporting the surrounding systems of the vineyards. Dylan seeks to educate others about the importance of sustainable practices and advocates for implementing environmentally friendly procedures as the way forward.
About Duxton Vineyards: Founded in 2015, Duxton Vineyards (“DV”) is a large-scale, vertically integrated wine enterprise located in the Mildura & Sunraysia region of New South Wales, Australia. DV is one of Australia’s largest vineyard holders with over 25 different varietals on vine and grows approximately 70,000 tons of diverse grape varieties across the Southern Murray Darling Region. Owning and operating on over 2,400 hectares of vineyards, DV has almost unrivalled sourcing capability and is agile enough to help customers meet new opportunities and supply current consumer favourites.
Jamie is the CEO of Ecolateral, Australia’s longest running retailer devoted the supply of quality products designed to help people live more sustainable lives.
Once described as a trans vegan lesbian feminist, Jamie threw off the burden of labels and decided to just be herself, a woman who is an advocate for truth, authentic living and caring for ourselves and our environment.
Jamie is passionate about educating and inspiring people to make better choices for the benefit of our planet. She has been able to achieve this by clearly communicating how easy it is to make the switch from eco-impacter to eco-champion and she is not afraid to call out environmental misinformation and greenwashing when she sees it. By maintaining a healthy balance between commerce and sustainable business, Jamie has been able to grow Ecolateral from one to four stores in three years while staying true to her environmentalist beliefs.
She has devoted a large proportion of her life helping others, in her work as a Clinical Counsellor, as the founder of a multi award-winning regional psychology business, and as a Transformational Coach. She has held positions on the boards of the SA Internet Association, Betterlife Directions, Suicide Prevention Australia and is a past president of the SA Junior Chamber of Commerce.
When not working, Jamie loves spending time researching the future of technology and the environment, playing piano, and exploring solutions to the world’s problems over coffee with close friends.
Dr Scott Dwyer is a Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology Sydney, working on issues relating to the transitioning energy system.
His research interests revolve around the opportunities and challenges posed by disruption in the energy sector, especially those linked to, customers, technologies, policy, markets, and business models.
Dr Dwyer has over 15 years’ experience of leading transdisciplinary teams as part of complex, energy-related research projects for the public and private sectors. Over this time he has worked closely with a range of international organisations, including many of the world’s leading energy utilities and energy product manufacturers, start-ups, industry associations, and governments.
He leads the Institute’s work on customer energy innovation and advises on a wide range of sustainable energy technologies, including solar, storage, microgrids, fuel cell, hydrogen, and electric vehicles.
The Future of Sustainable Construction in Australia
The global pandemic proved to be a turning point for environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues across the world, accelerating action from leaders and businesses in the fight to combat climate change. We’re increasingly seeing industry commitments to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, however the situation continues to worsen. To help turn the tide, businesses must take on greater responsibility. Although a fifth of the world’s largest companies have set net-zero targets, moving forward, if the world is to arrest the most damaging effects of global warming, sustainability practices will need to be built into every project and process
With an increased focus on environmental and sustainability issues, 71% of Australians believe brands have a responsibility to make a positive change and 78% say the behaviour of a company is as important as what it sells. According to recent research from the Project Management Institute (PMI), almost 40% of organisations have reported major barriers to improving social impact. But breaking down these barriers requires changing the landscape of the industry. By investing in more efficient and greener ways of working, the industry can drive sustainability without sacrificing bottom-line results.
The role of the construction industry
According to public sources, the Australian construction industry generates over $360 billion in revenue annually, around 9% of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP). With a pipeline of $100 billion and an annual growth rate of 2.4% in the next five years. The industry plays a significant role in Australia’s economy, yet it is also a significant contributor to climate change and Australia’s carbon footprint. Making up 18.1% of all CO2 emissions, with steel and concrete foundations accounting for 25% of greenhouse gasses in Australia.
According to PwC, despite 90% of Australian CEOs having some level of concern about a lack of sustainable initiatives in construction, just 35 % have greenhouse gas emissions targets built into their long-term corporate strategies. To achieve positive social impact, construction organisations must develop a deliberate strategy and action plan for all projects.
Forging a project management mindset
Incorporating project management skills and professionals into the sector is essential in developing sustainable design strategies, leading the way towards green construction. PMI’s recent GlobalData report ranked risk management as the most important governance factor around ESG. This highlights the essential role project management professionals play in today’s world, by bringing teams together to solve complex problems and create positive impact through projects. These project skills are the soft, non-technical, skills that will help to ensure that leaders have the tools and know-how to effectively manage stakeholders along the journey and tackle complexities.
Attracting students and apprentices
Attracting students and apprentices into the construction industry should be a key priority. The sector is expected to see an 8.5% increase in employment opportunities over the next five years. Yet, Australia ranks as the world’s 33rd most well-developed training market, globally. Initiatives, such as the Federal Government’s ‘Skilling for Recovery’ training package, play a key role in helping Australian job seekers to retrain or upskill and support school leavers entering the workforce for the first time. Driving collaboration between universities and the industry will help to address skills shortages and incorporate essential project management skills.
Making the circular economy a reality
There is a growing need to design infrastructure around the evolving way that societies will work, travel, purchase, use green and blue space in the future. Generating 74 million tonnes of waste per annum, almost 91% of all raw materials do not find their way back into the economy. However, a circular economy, a mode of production that prioritises reused, repaired and recycled materials and commodities for as long as possible. Integrating a circular approach during the construction process allows for maximum utilisation of building materials, limits the resources used and, most importantly, significantly decreases waste. According to PwC modelling, Australia could save 165 million tonnes of CO2, per year, by 2040with this approach.
Building a future of sustainable construction
In order to build a future of sustainable construction we need to look at everything from A to Z, from security, government regulations, stakeholder and community management, water suppliers and the impact on biodiversity. Leaders must continually assess that their projects are on track to achieve these desired goals and outcomes. Looking at the full life cycle of a sustainable construction projects, from sourcing to production and distribution to disposal, and embedding sustainable practices into every function, process and design across the value chain will require cross-enterprise collaboration.Ultimately, the pressure is on for organisations to get serious about sustainability and social impact strategies – simply wanting to do good enough is no longer enough. To lead local, national and global sustainability efforts, the construction industry – as well as industry professionals – must transform. Sixty-nine per cent of ESG leaders plan to change their companies’ policies or practices in the next five years, but doing so requires fundamental changes to ways of working, mentioned above. Establishing proper infrastructure within the industry’s workforce will ensure project teams can continue to raise the bar on positive impact while still delivering on bottom-line results.