Progress on the Blue Economy, new economics and learning for sustainability

Gunter Pauli

Co-presented with the Centre for Policy Development

3 April, 2012

Gunter Pauli is a successful global entrepreneur who saw the need for a network to bring together the many inventors and innovators working independently on sustainable solutions to global problems of pollution and waste. He founded The Global ZERI Network to share creative solutions and then the Blue Economy to put ZERI’s philosophy into action by connecting start-up businesses with entrepreneurs.

Gunter Pauli founded the ‘Zero Emissions Research and Initiative’ (ZERI) at the United Nations University in Tokyo. He subsequently established The Global ZERI Network, redesigning production and consumption into clusters of industries inspired by natural systems, based on open source research and experimentation with a worldwide team of eminent scientists and design thinkers.

The culmination is The Blue Economy published as a Report to The Club of Rome in 2010, now published in 35 languages. It is a new way of designing business: using the resources available in cascading systems, where the waste of one product becomes the input to create a new cash flow – jobs are created, social capital is built and income rises – while the environment that provides the basis for our lives is no longer strained and polluted. Thus, we can evolve from an economy where the good is expensive, and the bad is cheap, to a system where the good and innovative is affordable.

At a time when Australia is agonising over the hollowing-out of manufacturing industry in the face of the mining boom, this is a different way of looking at the world. It offers an exciting path through the 'gloom of the boom', toward the revitalisation of competitive and sustainable manufacturing and agriculture in this country.

As an entrepreneur Pauli knows that business innovation is essential. But he also knows new economic concepts are urgently needed to make global sustainability a reality. Learning for sustainability is equally important, particularly in schools. Gunter is heavily involved on both fronts; in economics as advisor to the Bhutanese and other governments; in education with a major project introducing sustainability concepts in schools across Asia.

Gunter will outline progress with all these initiatives around the world since his last visit, and will explore their relevance for Australia.

Gunter Pauli

Gunter Pauli was born in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1956. He graduated in Economics from the University of Antwerp and obtained an MBA from INSEAD. His entrepreneurial activities span business, culture, science, politics and the environment. He has founded and managed many companies that focus on delivering environmentally friendly services and products, including PPA Holding, the European Service Industries Forum (ESIF) and Ecover.

He has been visiting lecturer and professor at universities around the world, and a board member of NGOs and private companies in Asia, USA and Latin America. Since 2009 he has taken responsibility for the design of an economic development concept based on GNH (Gross National Happiness) principles and values as part of his advisory role in designing an economic development strategy for Bhutan.

Gunter is a Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences (San Francisco, USA), a Member of the Club of Budapest (Hungary) and of the Club of Rome. He has published 19 books and many fables for children teaching them science and eco-literacy.

Centre for Policy Development logo

Co-presented with the Centre for Policy Development, a public interest think tank dedicated to seeking out creative, viable ideas and innovative research to inject into Australia’s policy debates.