Sustainia – building the world of tomorrow

GlobeEight salutes and closely follows this immensely interesting sustainability project:

Press release 7 March 2012:

Schwarzenegger: Time for a new Breed of Action Heroes

The former California Governor announces today that he serves as Honorary Chair for the Sustainia Award alongside EU Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, IPPC chairman Dr. Pachauri and former Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland. The Award is part of a new initiative to develop the world’s first realistic model of a sustainable world in 2020 – and identify the companies and persons who can make it real.

As long as we can’t see or feel what a sustainable society is, we will never succeed in convincing decision makers to make the changes necessary. The sustainable private and public solutions must be recognized and scaled up – and we need a tangible idea of how it will improve quality of life for people and communities around the world.

This is the rationale behind a new, ambitious award and collaboration – “Sustainia” – launched today in Geneva, Switzerland. The initiative is lead by former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is joined by three of the world’s most prominent sustainability leaders:

  • European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard
  • Chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri
  • Former Prime Minister of Norway and Former Director General of WHO, Gro Harlem Brundtland, who founded the global sustainability agenda 20 years ago at the first Rio conference in 1992 on sustainable development

“Being a champion in body building, in movies or in politics, I learned that the key to success is people power – – motivating and inspiring everyone to be a part of the solution, not just part of the problem,”

“The Sustainia initiative and the awards that recognize innovative people and technologies can help our campaign to make communities healthier, wealthier, and more sustainable for generations to come.” said Governor Schwarzenegger.

“Sustainia” is a virtual model of the world we could create if we implemented ready and available solutions to our existing cities, homes, energy systems, transportation etc. Developers have started the process of building Sustainia. In the coming months, everyone with an internet access can visit, inhabit and help build the new world on a virtual construction site.

The vision of Sustainia is presented in the book “Guide to Sustainia”, which was developed by Scandinavian think tank Monday Morning in a collaborative effort with 20 global companies (including Microsoft, GE, DNV, Philips Lighting, DONG Energy, Tetra Pak, Cisco and others) and experts. Since the launch in October 2011, a consortium of Scandinavian companies and founding partners (DONG Energy, Realdania, DNV and Novo Nordisk), UN Global Compact and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new climate initiative R 20 – Regions for Climate Action – has seen the potential of further developing Sustainia into a new global innovation and communication platform.

The key elements in the collaboration between Sustainia and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s R20 initiative consist of:

  1. To Identify, Design, Implement, Measure, Report and Verify the actions undertaken by regions and their positive impacts for a sustainable world.
  2. On an annual basis, to identify the most successful sustainable solutions and award the solution with the most potential to be implemented and disseminated.
  3. The establishment of a new powerful global forum for ambitious action and commitment to sustainable development that will provide a new innovative and creative annual platform for gathering global leaders.

Sustainia” will be presented to world leaders in June this year, at the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil, alongside an inspiration catalog – “Sustainia100” – containing 100 concrete solutions and technologies that will help make “Sustainia” real.

Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:

“The era of talk is over. It is time for action – and the companies, institutions and persons who represent green solutions are the new breed of action heroes whose efforts we should celebrate and encourage”

EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard:

“Sustainia is a clear articulation of” the future we want” and aligns well with the message the UN wants to convey in Rio and beyond: we can build a desirable, sustainable future. That is why the UN Global Compact fully supports Sustainia. It is a fresh and much-needed approach to communicating sustainability, engaging key stakeholders, and inspiring tangible action.”

Former Prime Minister of Norway and Former Director General of WHO, Gro Harem Brundtland:

“The world is on an unsustainable path, so we must urgently increase our ability for practical change. I believe a major contribution can be made through sharing optimism and experiences with a large number of consumers/citizens, as well as companies. Motivation and inspiration for positive action will help us move forward towards a better future for all.”



I often ask myself why sustainability has been framed within compliance – this don’t’ affect profits, increase competitive edge nor celebrate a distinct footprint.

The world is not perfect and neither is the way that companies address new opportunistic business by only getting on board with sustainability through compliance.

Sustainability is widely seen as the ‘new’ thing next to Lean, Glocalization and Retention. But it’s not – it’s so MUCH more than your usual buzzwords and kind of inevitable.

Nevertheless sustainability is anchored as sanctuary for dead fish already going down stream – not as the solution to gain new business or as profit generator in general. Why would companies otherwise categories sustainability as just a focus within compliance.

Sustainability needs to grow beyond compliance and in to highly creative development, like any profit center that wants to stay in business!

Think about how often upgrades to your computer are made available. How often new, faster and better systems are presented to us. If it isn’t Apple it’s Google or one of the other players, in or outside the Valley, which have seen ways to improve or revolutionize.

They are constantly developing – to win share of wallet the next 6-9 months. But what we have today will be made twice as fast in just 9-12 months.

The developers never stop exploring, and creativity blooms like never before – and today developers can be everybody from a 9-year old girl or boy with a great idea.

These developers are motivated by stock options, dollars and cents, market share and personal accomplishments that equal size of paycheck and attention. As many before them they sadly didn’t learn about creativeness. They themselves have to develop, secure and constantly improve on creative technical skills and are NOT motivated by taking part in sponsoring, in the world at large getting smarter!

They are always on the lookout for new inventions, and of cause have the budgets to do so, since the business’ know what would happen if they were to take out all efforts from innovation and development departments!

These business’ also recognize than “change is the only constant”, hence don’t applaud a common misunderstood say – “why change a winning formula”!

Whether they are seen as true future explorers I doubt, but I know that among our esteemed employees in sustainability, CSR and CSI we must find legitimate future explorers and innovators.

This is NOT the fact in 95% of all companies today! Here compliance rules only. They don’t invent and create as they do in Silicon Valley. Fact is that only few have the true skills to actually do so or claim the room to develop!

This is wrong! Because there is huge potential in turning sustainability into a reel profit center.

We should applaud these explorers, give them creative skills, room to operate and discover! Yet we merely laugh or get annoyed about the work they do – since they are NOT truly a part of the team, because they measure and regulate instead of developing. They are reactive instead of being proactive explorers and inventers like the ones in the Valley!

But sadly it seems like the older the ‘developers’ get the more restraint and non-creative they get, yet good employees since they were trained – or should I say restraint – to work within compliance!

And from this position they do only very little good!

We need to change this picture!

We need to start documenting that companies can profit hugely from sustainability and position themselves in a blue ocean zone.

Because then other companies will rise to the opportunity – since there have always been money in being between the first!

Just an example, I know about a company within work wear that went beyond compliance – they are today number one Internationally in the category!

I know that we kill peoples interest if we constantly and only talks about the devastation and how ugly our beloved planet is becoming – so please Al, stop talking about the problem and become part of the solution!


I learned from Anthony Giddens – a man of great expertise – that we should not wait for government or the international society at large!

So start to create before it’s too late – for your business!

One Response to Sustainia – building the world of tomorrow

  1. help beatles says:

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!

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