The Natural Edge Project The Natural Advantage of Nations Whole System Design Factor 5 Cents and Sustainability Higher Education and Sustainable Development

"...I'm jumping out of my chair to tell you more detail from this book because there is so much excellent material in it for students of any subject."
A reader, Web-of-UNME

The Natural Advantage of Nations (Vol. I): Business Opportunities, Innovation and Governance in the 21st Century


Section 3: Achieving a Natural Advantage of Nations

1 The tragedy of the commons: 35 years on
2 Government mechanisms
3 The regulatory measure response
3.1 Mental models of voluntary environmental initiatives (Bruce Paton)
4 Voluntary agreements: effectiveness analysis - tools, guidelines and checklists
4.1 Allars' characteristics of effective voluntary agreements
4.2 The generic Canadian pro forma for voluntary initiatives
4.3 The United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP's) Industry and Environment Technical Report
4.4 The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD's) approach
5 Can regulation be designed to improve competitiveness?
5.1 Effective economic measures to complement either voluntary or regulatory approaches
5.2 Natural resources
5.3 Government-industry partnerships to improve innovation
6 From clusters to national systems of innovation Rob McLean with Jaya Pillia
7 Managing industry transitions through waves of innovation Philip Sutton
Chapter 12 - Towards a Deeper Understanding
1 Markets and efficiency
1.1 What is a market?
1.2 How do economists define efficiency?
1.3 The classical understanding
1.4 Perfect complete markets
1.5 The economics of information
1.6 Financial markets: what they do and why they are fragile
1.7 Anti-monopoly legislation: competition policy
2 Challenges to governments and institutions (Stephen Dovers)
2.1 Attributes of policy problems in sustainability
2.2 Clarifying government, governance and institutions
2.3 Available scales of sustainability governance
2.4 Scaling responses
2.5 Principles and elements of policy and institutional reform
2.6 Is there 'credible commitment' to sustainabilty?
Chapter 13 - National Systems of Innovation (Paul M. Weaver)
1 Practice makes perfect
2 Innovation systems are part of today's development paradigm
2.1 The challenge to innovation systems
3 The Dutch National Sustainable Technology Development programme
4 The Netherlands context
4.1 Recent developments
5 Lessons from the Dutch and other programmes
6 Concluding remarks
Chapter 14 - Sustainability in the Wild West (Peter Newman)
1 The Fremantle Declaration: 'Passing the Torch to the Regions'
2 The Western Australia State Sustainability Strategy: is change happening?
2.1 Process for developing the strategy
2.2 Public engagement
2.3 The policy change process
2.4 What have we learned?
Chapter - 15 Delivering Sustainability Through Local Action
1 A worldwide movement of local governments (Wayne Wescott, Martin Brennan and Yolande Strengers)
2 Sustainability Street: it's a village out there (Vox Bandicoot and Environs Australia)
3 Leadership in the local government sector: working from inside out (Valerie A. Brown)
3.1 Sustainability leadership in the local government sector
3.2 Profile of sustainability leadership
3.3 'When everything is said and done - more is said than done'
3.4 Sector-wide action
3.5 Sustainability advocacy in the local government sector

(Extract from Book)

... Leading governments around the world are already making significant changes in order to address the challenges of sustainable development, seeking to achieve progress that does not penalize future generations. In this section of the book, we will demonstrate that leadership in this area is no longer a political risk and a walk into the unknown for governments. Rather, governments can be inspired to develop a range of new  mechanisms and structures to underpin a shift to sustainability, lead by the experience of other leading governments illustrated throughout this  section. In Section 1 it was reported that the Netherlands Government has funded a five-year programme to address the challenges of sustainable development. This project, involving hundreds of organizations and scientists, found that a factor of 10 to 20+ improvements in resource productivity are possible over the next 50 years. Better still, they have  published an extensive book on their findings that explains in detail this landmark body of work, thus assisting other nations to do the same. This is, however, not an isolated initiative of government. In Germany, for example, there is the Socio-Ecological Programme, in Austria, the Programme on Technologies for Sustainable Development, and in Japan there is the Zero Emissions Research Initiative (ZERI).

The Australian Government funds a significant percentage of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s peak science and industry research body. CSIRO is carrying out a comprehensive Future Scenarios programme for Australia, analysing the country’s material and energy flows to better understand how resource productivity improvements can be made. CSIRO’s Flagship programmes have been designed partly to address the need to achieve ecological sustainability under the themes of preventive health, leading the light metals age, water for a healthy country, food futures, wealth from Australia’s oceans and energy transformed. CSIRO states that, ‘National teamwork, collaboration and partnership are primary ingredients for success in science, technology and innovation. Partnerships provide us with the critical mass to compete with the world’s best in areas essential to our future. Every Flagship is a partnership of leading Australian scientists, research institutions and commercial companies. Intense social, economic and environmental forces are shaping Australia’s destiny in the 21st Century. These place ever-growing pressures on us to be globally competitive, ecologically sustainable, socially equitable and progressive.’

This is just the start of a wide range of government institutional reform that is occurring globally, at all levels of government. In Belgium, they have further empowered their National Council for Sustainable Development to continue its work to encourage whole of government approaches. However, this is not an isolated example, the International Network for National Councils for Sustainable Development has over 70 member countries all at different stages of the process, and the US had a National Council for Sustainable Development under the Clinton/Gore administration. Today, dictatorships are about the only countries that do not have institutional structures within government to help adopt a whole of government approach to sustainable development. Dr Steve Dovers, one of the world’s experts in institutional change for sustainable development, considers the Belgium case study in Chapter 12 on broad trends and lessons of institutional reform to date. Since the challenge of achieving sustainable development is going to be one of the major drivers for innovation this century, we need to consider what this means for national systems of innovation. Paul Weaver, one of the lead authors of the Sustainable Technology Development (STD) project, addresses this in Chapter 13.

An inspiring example of government institutional reform to address the challenge of sustainable development was mentioned briefly in Section 1, the State Sustainability Strategy of the Western Australian Government. There, the state/regional government has passed into law a comprehensive state sustainability strategy. Professor Peter Newman, of Murdoch University, who was tasked with facilitating this process, provides an account of what they have achieved, and some of the lessons of the journey, in Chapter 14. Is the WA example an isolated case? No. Newman and his team have also been heavily involved in assisting the development of the Network of Regional Government for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD). This network is comprised of increasing numbers of state/regional/sub-national governments from around the world, some of which already have comprehensive sustainability strategies. The nrg4SD began at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002, and now holds conferences every six months that are hosted by state governments around the world. This relatively new international network is bound to succeed for many reasons, not the least of which being that local government internationally has beaten them to it.

There is already a significant international network of local governments learning together how best to achieve sustainable development known as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). This organization facilitates and helps co-ordinate an international network of local councils globally. (ICLEI Asia-Pacific talk about their experiences in the beginning of Chapter 15.) Emeritus Professor Val Brown, who has been very active on local government and sustainability issues for over two decades, writes further on these exciting developments in local government in Chapter 15. These changes are examples of the innovative approaches emerging from governments to address the complex challenge of achieving sustainable development...