Realising Sustainable Futures with global innovator tour

Published:01 October 2019

Prof Jay Friedlander is visiting CQUni communities across Australia as part of Sustainable Futures: Real Strategies for People, Planet, Profit

People, planet and profit – preserving one shouldn’t have to come at the expense of another.

That’s according to a leading American sustainability innovator Professor Jay Friedlander – and he says a positive outlook is a big part of achieving the change.

Prof Friedlander is the Sharpe-McNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business at College of the Atlantic, and he’s set to share his expertise across Australia, as CQUniversity’s Office of Social Innovation presents Sustainable Futures: Real Strategies for People, Planet, Profit, from 4 – 11 November 2019.

The tour, supported by a range of local stakeholders, supports CQUniversity’s role as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, and its strategic commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

With a series of workshops and events across Melbourne, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Mackay, Prof Friedlander will guide leaders from business, social enterprise and community to embed United Nations Sustainable Development Goals across their operations.

The OSI is also hosting two academic sessions for CQUniversity staff, on Monday 4 November (in Brisbane and via Zoom) and Friday 8 November (in Rockhampton and via Zoom).

Prof Friedlander, whose own university is also an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, said there’s growing reason for optimism as global businesses pursue true sustainability.

“So much of academia is about figuring out what is wrong in society, and teaching students to be critics,” he said.

“However, that’s only half of the story and it leaves our students frustrated, overwhelmed and feeling powerless.

“Yes, students need to understand the deep-rooted causes of these challenges, but they also need to know how people are working around those challenges and creating solutions. They need to learn that they can affect change.”

Prof Friedlander has worked internationally to equip organisations for strategic sustainability, and has shared his successes on stages including TEDx and the International Social Innovation Research Conference 2019.

“Too often the sustainability focuses on trade-offs and sacrifice; applying the Abundance Cycle, business and social enterprise can turn that conversation on its head and sparks innovation and new industries,” Prof Friedlander explained.

“This fresh approach can build a virtuous cycle delivering abundance for shareholders, the planet and society – and at the same time, do away with the squishiness of sustainability that so often confounds leaders, by seamlessly connecting sustainability to strategy.”

Tour partners include the Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS), Queensland Social Enterprise Council, Victorian Local Government Association, Social Traders, SmartHub Rockhampton and Unconference, the Greater Whitsunday Alliance, and Just Gold Digital Agency.

For full details of the Sustainable Futures tour, visit