Building towards sustainability with Pôle Sem Sud

Pôle Sem Sud is a privately and publicly owned organisation managing over 6,000 flats and offices in Marseille and its surroundings. Early 2007, the manager decided that the organisation of about 200 employees needed to formally move towards sustainability, going further than the independent and irregular good ideas and actions. At the end of 2007, the cooperation with TNS France started with highlighting 3 main processes describing their activities: (1) planning, building and using sustainable buildings; (2) eliminate their contribution to un-sustainable societies as soon as possible; and (3) walking the talk with a vision and actions to transform their daily routines. The project manager then invited the staff to participate in three working groups, one per theme. Within weeks, and without a second invitation, diverse groups of 11 were formed from all services and all levels of hierarchy. The groups worked through the ABCD process in one day, and met again half a day to finalise their work. The following and last step was a full day of work with all the directors and one representative per group to put together a systemic and strategic action plan that will create momentum and move the organisation and its actions towards sustainability. The action plan is in implementation phase since mid-2008 and as an element of it an external and part time sustainability coordinator has been hired to keep the momentum going … and it...

Valtellina: a “Learning Valley” Towards Sustainability, Italy

Valtellina, one of the most important tourist destinations in Northern Italy, is home to about 175,000 people in a valley of the Italian Alps near the Swiss border.  After one and a half years of intensive capacity building, Valtellina is moving towards sustainability using The Natural Step Framework as a compass. Work began in 2007 with leaders in the small town of Morbegno. So far, thousands of people, including schoolteachers, community leaders, entrepreneurs, cooperatives, and municipality officers, have been involved in intensive learning programs on sustainability. Building on this experience, a new independent non-profit organisation, simply called “2020” was founded this February with the goal of making Valtellina a “Learning Valley towards Sustainability” helping the community build on its diversified economic texture, which includes light industry, agriculture, hospitality, financial and other services.  This new project will be led by TNS Italy and “2020”, working in a close partnership, with the support of the CARIPLO foundation and the local Economic Development Agency. Ken Melamed, mayor of Whistler, BC, Canada, is currently visiting the region, sharing his learning and insight with local leaders and citizens about the opportunities and challenges of pursuing sustainability.  He is helping to spread the Valtellina experience across Italy through presentations and initial engagements in Milan, the host city of the EXPO 2015, and Bari in Southern Italy, one of the 10 largest Italian...

Rohm and Haas, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

This case study outlines The Natural Step’s collaboration with Rohm and Haas prior to its acquisition by the Dow Chemical company in March 2009. More about The Natural Step’s collaboration with Dow is included in the Press Release: The Natural Step and Dow Chemical Announce Strategic Alignment Rohm and Haas is an international organisation, producing innovative technologies and solutions for the specialty materials industry. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the company’s technologies are found in a wide range of markets including building and construction, electronics, food and personal care. In 2008, Rohm and Haas had revenues of approximately $9.6 billion USD. Rohm and Haas was introduced to The Natural Step in 2005 through one of its customers, polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-manufacturer Hydro Polymers (now INEOS). As part of Hydro Polymers’ commitment to sustainability, the company challenged its top suppliers in Europe to collaborate across the value chain to develop sustainable PVC solutions using The Natural Step Framework. The Rohm and Haas Packaging and Building Materials business began working with The Natural Step in 2007, prototyping a Sustainability Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA) tool on heat stabilizers for PVC. The tool provides a strategic overview of the social and ecological sustainability of products throughout their life cycles. The SLCA begins with initial resource extraction and extends all the way to the products’ end of life, including production, transportation and use. In August 2007, Rohm and Haas received the 2007 Hydro Sustainability Award for its SLCA project on heat stabilizers for PVC. The award was presented at a conference organized by Hydro Polymers for its top ten global suppliers, and Rohm and Haas was...

City of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

As part of its commitment to sustainability, the City of Saskatoon has identified the need for a decision-making culture that embraces sustainability principles and considers both long and short term impacts. In 2008, Saskatoon asked The Natural Step to review its internal decision-making and governance practices as well as the best practices of leading municipalities. Based on these reviews, The Natural Step plans to provide a report that includes a summary of key best practices with relevant supporting examples. Excerpts from the report will be available here in the coming weeks. For more information on Integrated Community Sustainability Planning, read The Natural Step introduction to ICSPs here. For more details on best practices scans or other services offered by The Natural Step, contact info@naturalstep.ca. A generic version of this best practise scan is available for download...

One Million Acts of Green: The Okotoks-Airdrie Challenge

The City of Airdrie, Alberta, recently completed a community-wide visioning process as part of its municipal sustainability planning process, which is supported by The Natural Step. Since late 2008, Airdrie has been engaged in a good natured competition with the neighbouring Town of Okotoks to see which community can commit to more ‘acts of green’ as part of the CBC’s One Million Acts of Green challenge. CBC’s The Hour host George Stroumboulopoulos has called the Airdrie/Okotoks battle “the new battle of Alberta, never mind the Oilers and the Flames.” With only a couple of days remaining, Airdrie has the lead in all four categories, but the results are still too close to call for certain. Together, the communities have completed nearly 54,000 acts of green and saved an estimated 4,860,000 kg of green house gases. Track the communities’ progress...