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“Do good and do well”: US expert inspires CQUni communities

Published:12 November 2019

Prof Jay Friedlander presents on the Sustainable Futures tour, and pictured with the Office of Social Innovation team.

“Destroying the planet is a really bad business decision.”

But making your operations sustainable, whether you’re running a café or writing a curriculum, can be the difference for happier people, a healthier planet and even heftier profits.

That’s the message that Professor Jay Friedlander has shared with communities across the CQUniversity footprint, as the Office of Social Innovation presented his Sustainable Futures tour.

The US sustainable business expert is the Sharpe-McNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business at College of the Atlantic, and presented lectures and workshops across Melbourne, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Mackay across 3 – 11 November 2019.

More than 200 people attended the events, where Prof Friedlander shared strategies for growing enterprise and income, while supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Prof Friedlander has taught these strategies across 15 countries, and said the global economy was on a precipice, meaning only sustainable organisations would thrive into the future.

“The new economy is a ‘solutions economy’, and if you’re not solving something with your business model, you won’t make it through this current era of global chaos,” Prof Friedlander explained.

With examples from Whole Foods Market in the US, to the Liter of Light recycling initiative in the slums of the Philippines, Prof Friedlander highlighted innovative approaches that used the UNSDGs as guideposts.

CQUni Social Innovation Director Lara Carton said that the inspiring events were presented with local partners, and reached a diverse audience.

“Partners like the Queensland Social Enterprise Council, Queensland Council of Social Service, Yeppoon Unconference coordinators, Social Traders and the Victorian Local Governance Association in Melbourne, and a whole raft of Mackay community and industry organisations, were really passionate about helping share Jay’s message,” Ms Carton said.

“It was so exciting to see their members and their communities get inspired to think differently about a sustainable future.”

The events included two sessions for CQUni staff, held in Brisbane and Rockhampton, streamed over Zoom, and available now for CQUni staff in Totara (getting link).

Social Innovation Associate Director Dr Tobias Andreasson said participants had great questions about making the UNSDGs relevant to students, and applying them to learning and teaching practice.

“As we work towards embedding social innovation across CQUni’s curriculum, it’s really encouraging to see how passionate staff are about the practicalities, and what’s possible for growing our social innovation practice and impact,” Dr Andreasson said.

The 12-event tour was coordinated by Social Innovation Program Manager Steve Williams alongside Dr Andreasson. Mr Williams said Prof Friedlander’s visit created a buzz across business and social enterprise communities, and grew CQUni’s reputation as a changemaker.

“The tour was a great opportunity to make new connections with a whole range of changemakers – from big organisations and government bodies, to our social enterprise caterers, to students and graduates who are determined their careers can make a difference,” Mr Williams said.

The tour reinforced CQUniversity’s role as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, and highlighted its strategic commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainable Futures was made possible by CQUniversity’s relationship with the College of the Atlantic, which is also an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus.

Other tour partners included the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS), SmartHub Rockhampton, Mackay Regional Council, Regional Development Australia – Mackay, Issac and Whitsunday, the Greater Whitsunday Alliance, Regional Industry Network, and Just Gold Digital Agency.