sustainable development

Recent stories

Green Growth is Inspiring but Not Watertight

Each conference comes with its own set of catchphrases and the World Water Forum is no exception. A popular one that’s been buzzing around is “the new industrial revolution” or as it’s colloquially known, “green growth”. Coined in 2008, the definition of green growth differs depending on who’s using it. In general, green growth refers to the idea of furthering economic growth within the limits of the natural ecosystem without detracting from the possibility for future development. But even after having over 22 hours devoted to green growth development, with stakeholders present from across the spectrum, it is the silence on certain issues that could sink this new possible engine of economic growth.

A Global Water Connection: My Experience Modeling on the Catwalk

Ladies from all corners of the world dressed in a rainbow of colors of their national dress to create the most diverse modeling catwalk  you’ve ever seen. On Wednesday morning, I walked with these women (and two gentlemen) down the “catwalk” at the Women for Water Partnership (WfWP) “Presenting New Thinking New Challenges” session of the World Water Forum. The room was packed with both genders and people from around the world, which was exciting. WfWP is a strategic “alliance of local, national and international women’s organizations and networks, active in the areas of sustainable development, water & sanitation, poverty, and gender”, chaired by Alice M. Bouman-Dentener. My University of Pennsylvania Master of Environmental Studies colleagues work with WfWP Communications and Advocacy Chair Kusum Athukorala on Penn’s new journal on women and water issues, wH2O.

Building Inclusive Business brick by brick

Dominika Czyz reports from the oikos FutureLab 2011, 14-15 November, St Gallen Switzerland. Have you ever seen the Great Pyramid of Giza? Impressive, isn’t it? Would you believe it consists of almost 2,5 mln blocks? Striking though the number is, the 2,5 million pales by the comparison with 2,5 billion.

An American in Davos: Insights from the World Resources Forum 2011

I was one of only a handful of Americans at the World Resources Forum 2011. A few times I was asked was how I felt about America’s besieged environmental policies, or the lack of America’s participation in global climate talks, or other questions along those lines that acknowledged some international frustration with America in the environmental sphere. How do I feel?  Pretty discouraged. The current US political landscape and debate is alarming for a conservationist.

Business-sandcastles washing away

Dominika Czyz reports from the oikos FutureLab 2011, 14-15 November, St Gallen Switzerland. Business today is like a castle made of sand, said Joanna Hafenmayer, Sustainability Officer at Microsoft Switzerland during oikos FutureLab workshops. The old business model of ever greater consumption, with growth at any price may fall apart easily. It is only the companies that reduce environmental impact while increasing social and economic impacts that will survive tomorrow. Business may succeed only by accelerating the transition to a sustainable future.

YES we can! – What can we learn from youth?

Yes we can! Obama was not the first to use this empowering sentence. Roger Baud founder of ACTIS, a spin off of ETHZ, already used it in 2000 to promote the first Youth Encounter on Sustainability (YES) course. Bring 35 young people from all around the world together for 17 days. Hold interactive classes on sustainability from 8 am to 8 pm.

The Bio-Economy Guide


At the beginning, I would like to ask you a simple question: What is economics? What would you answer? Would you tell me that economics is a science that describes production, consumption and distribution? Correct! Yet, there is another answer that I would like to hear: economics is a science that describes the life in the world of unlimited needs and limited (natural) resources.

Resource Policy: The Musical Chairs Game

Together, Let’s imagine the Resources Policy Game. The game, which started almost twenty years ago in Rio at the First Earth Summit, is played by a group of 6 people. Arranged in a circle, 5 chairs face each other, while the players are all standing outside the circle. A non-playing individual plays the music, in this case, the “Sustainability Song”. Governments, NGOs, international institutions, academia, civil society and businesses are all outside the circle: walking, dancing, running or not moving at all.

The favourite scapegoat

Free market economy is often blamed to be the scapegoat these days, especially  in discussions on sustainability and resources efficiency. Enterprises are accused for using resources irresponsibly. Some experts demand for stronger regulations, others claim that adapted economic models and even command economy are needed to solve the resources problem. In my opinion, the  implementation of measures that go against free market economy does not make any sense. Why?