The Switch Report chats with Geoff Gourley

April 30th, 2013

Geoff Gourley’s “day job” is Director – Sustainability Integration at NuGreen Solutions.  He is also the Founder and Executive Director of the not-for-profit company Shape Our Future, and a board member of the United Nations Association of Australia – Victorian Division. Somehow, Geoff managed to find the time to talk to The Switch Report.

To start at the beginning, where does your green streak come from?

I grew up in country Victoria, in Traralgon, and spent a lot of time out in the country or down at our beach house. I was also into Scouts so I’ve always had a natural affinity for the environment. I also remember a school trip to the Hazelwood and Yallourn power stations, and seeing a diorama that showed whole towns like Traralgon being moved so they could get at the brown coal underneath them. To me it was a horrifying prospect.

More recently, doing the Centre for Sustainability Leadership Fellowship program in 2008 was a transformative experience. This brought me into contact with sustainability advocates from outside of the built environment sector that I’m most familiar with, people from the law, the arts and social sectors, and that had a lot to do with me starting Shape Our Future.

In amongst your non-profit activities, you’ve also held senior positions with large companies for many years. How do these two areas relate to your personal goals?

Everything I do is linked to a mission to influence either business or the community to becoming more sustainable – to produce a more positive outcome. It involves visioning, funding and supporting dreamers and doers and thought leaders. There’s a business side to it, and a community side, with different drivers and different conversations. I like the diversity of friends I’ve made through these different activities, and on the business side I get to influence the big decision makers who hold the purse strings.

You talk about sustainability leadership, and how it will lead business and the community into a sustainable future. If someone with the profile of Al Gore has had difficulty in motivating the world into action, is it possible to lead people to sustainability?

With leadership it’s important to take a position, but then you need to show the benefits. This works with business where you can show that becoming more sustainable improves the bottom line and adds to future business value. We can make a change within a business and then use that as a case study to show others businesses that they can improve staff retention, make more profit and gain other benefits. Then we’ve created a new norm. Sustainability leadership is about both business and the community, but it’s my personal belief that it will be business that leads us down the sustainability path.

In 2009 you said “We face a global climate crisis, more than ever before. We need innovative and immediate change in paradigms to unlock sustainability as a pathway for future generations.” Has progress been made in this area or are we becoming less sustainable?

Sustainability as a term has been done to death. That said, there has been a significant improvement in sustainability, especially overseas. A lot of leaders are stepping up, making commitments and undertaking ethical investments. Climate skeptics are getting less exposure, and there is more public recognition of the problems we face and the need to do something. We’re on the right pathway, although things are not happening as quickly as we would hope.

As a not-for-profit, how does Shape Our Future get on for funding?

Shape Our Future relies on the voluntary efforts of 12 to 14 people. Any paid roles are outsourced, but money is hard to get and we don’t traditionally apply for grants. We have run fundraising events, we do seek donations, and I have also provided financial support.

It’s no different with the United Nations Association of Australia. Even with the UN brand behind it, it’s hard to attract financial support.

It was announced this month that Shape Our Future had acquired Sustainability Drinks. Tell us about your plans.

Sustainability Drinks never had a formal structure. It was simply a group of people who made it happen, although it remained fairly dependent on Dan Atkins’ involvement. Bringing it under the Shape Our Future umbrella will give it more structure, and while I will be putting in some of my own money to help things along, it will remain not-for-profit.

Our first priority is to ensure that the current events program rolls on. We want to quickly expand the Sustainability Drinks events in Sydney and Brisbane, then around the other state and territory capitals. The 2014 calendar will be put together early in the piece, and we will be looking for international speakers, too. Our aim is to simply make it THE sustainability networking event across Australia. I think we’ll also need to attract some sponsorship to put Sustainability Drinks itself onto a more sustainable footing.

Other plans are to run events in addition to the monthly meetings, including forums that bring sustainability professionals together. And although it’s early days, I’m hoping we can organise the world’s biggest Green Drinks event to coincide with the next Sustainable Living Festival.

When do you sleep?

Oh, I’m pretty organised. I’m good at being in the moment and focusing all my attention on whatever I’m doing at the time. I’m not a nine to five person, and I’ve used my most recent holidays to look at eco-resorts. And nothing feels like work.

nugreen.com.au

studio-green.org

Original article A Chat With Geoff Gourley written by
Alistair McCaskill – Editor - The Switch Report
By Assemblo
web:
theswitchreport.com.au
assemblo.com 
twitter: @theswitchreport
facebook.com/theswitchreport

 

5th Annual Shape Our Future Charity Polo Event

5th Annual Shape Our Future Charity Polo Event

Founder & Executive Director of Shape Our Future; Geoffrey Gourley is pleased to invite you and your friends to the Exclusive Paspaley Polo in the City 2012.

Saturday, 1st December 2012 – Albert Park Lake – Melbourne from 11am – 6pm

Paspaley Polo in the City is established as one of the largest polo events in Australia with over 4,000 people expected in 2012 and it’s always a sell out.

The event offers the perfect transition from the excitement of the Spring Racing Carnival to the buzz of the summer social season, and as always the atmosphere will be charged and the focus will be on entertainment, fashion and celebrations with friends.

Two limited corporate branding packages are also available for each marquee for the day. Please contact Geoff for further details and cost.

What’s included in the ticket fee?

You and your friends will spend the afternoon relaxing in our exclusive corporate VIP marquees, full food and beverage service, by Blakes Feast Catering, throughout the day with prime viewing position right beside the Polo field. Multiple polo matches, entertainment, divot stomp and mens and ladies dash.

Tickets are $270 ea (inc GST) Fully Inclusive

Please confirm ticket quantity and guests names via RSVP email and pay early to avoid disappointment. EFT details on are on the invitation.

Only tickets ‘paid for in full’ at least 14 days prior to event will be allocated and issued. First in – First secured basis, Limited tickets available.

Westpac Bank
Account: Shape Our Future – Public Fund
BSB: 033 100
Account No: 287345
Ref: Surname/ No Tickets

Dress code and Access

We suggest sophisticated and tailored daywear for all guests. Ladies should avoid wearing high-heeled shoes, as these are not suited to the Polo Ground.  No jackets or ties for the blokes

Access to the polo field will be from Armstrong St Middle Park or Taxi drop off from Aughtie Drive (Pit Lane)

Donations

If you are unable to make the event and wish to make a donation please refer to the deposit method at the bottom of the invitation and use the ref code ‘Donor’ or visit the website www.shapeourfuture.org.au

Westpac Bank
Account: Shape Our Future – Public Fund
BSB: 033 100
Account No: 287345
Ref: Donor / Surname

Enquiries can be directed to Geoffrey Gourley 0428 317 387 or geoffgourley@bigpond.com

Download your Exclusive 2012 Polo Invitation

Shape Our Future – An Introduction

What is Shape Our Future?

In 2008 our founder, Geoffrey Gourley, Social Entrepreneur and Environmentalist from a young age, was selected to undertake a fellowship in sustainability leadership. Realising long ago the planet is not an infinite natural resource; Geoff understands the urgency needed to address climate change, environmental and ecological issues if we are to sustain humanity.

Shape Our Future was conceptualised and launched in 2008 with a vision to lead, develop and influence business and community to a sustainable future.

 “we invite you, to join with us, in shaping our future, making a contribution to preserving our beautiful planet and create a pathway for all future generations to live sustainably”. Geoffrey Gourley – Founder.

Our Vision

Lead, develop and influence business and community to a sustainable future through visioning, fostering and funding ecological, environmental and sustainable initiatives.

Our Objectives

• Develop ecological, environmental and sustainability projects in general with an emphasis on climate change and offsetting the deleterious effects of burning fossil fuels and global warming.

• Advise on, fund and influence business and the wider community to develop ecological, environmental and sustainability projects.

• Respond to the climate change crisis and its impact including developing a vision for a sustainable future that is feasible and able to be implemented by business and the community.

• Address and re-evaluate traditional thinking by looking differently at social, economic and environmental issues.

• Foster the creation of regions for the growth and protection of flora and fauna by the community in general or various sub-sets of the community where people can contribute, learn and assist with restoring our ecology and biodiversity.

• Foster effective management of land and reserves including the control of pests and the minimisation of damage caused by climate change.

• Offer services to business, community, government and other organisations including future and visionary thinking, consultancy, assessment, leadership, innovation, marketing, planning and strategy in relation to the objects set out above and related issues.

Our Values

Respect – Integrity – Courtesy – Honesty – Ethics – Support

Our Green Credo

As a social organisation we lead by example, it is not enough to simply undertake a few good sustainable practices and call yourself ‘Green’. We here at Shape Our Future take our reputation and our environment seriously.

You won’t see us partaking in unsustainable activities. We walk the talk and have the evidence to back it up. Below you will find details on our actual ‘Green Credo’ and Environmental policy. We have put in place a voluntary reporting and monitoring process along with a set of guiding principles to ensure everything we do is as sustainable as it can be.

Environmental Principles and Aspirations

Shape Our Future accepts that it has a moral obligation to ensure that its current and future projects, developments and operations work towards the goal of restoring balance to the ecosystems and global community’s sustainability – rather than just sustaining a degraded world.

We will respond to the climate change crisis and its impact including developing a vision for a sustainable future that is feasible and able to be implemented by business and the community.

“Restoration is a more productive, imaginative, and innovative path forward.” Paul Hawken

As Shape Our Future Executive Director, Geoffrey Gourley, said in
July 2009:

“We face a global climate crisis, more than ever before, we need innovative and immediate change in paradigms to unlock sustainability as a pathway for future generations. Global and local communities need leaders to outline and vision a future, we need to consider and value our environment as an integral part of any sustainable society”.
Under the Sustainability Policy ratified by the Board in July 2009, Shape Our Future has set principles and aspirations including:

  • Our aim to lead, develop and influence environmental and social management through sustainable business principles and practices to minimise our impact on the environment and increase contributions we make to the community.
  • Shape Our Future encourages the use of environmentally-friendly transport options, and limits the amount of interstate and overseas travel our management, staff and volunteers make in fulfilling their work duties.
  • Shape Our Future has committed to improving energy efficiency across all our projects and developments, eliminating the use of unsustainable forms of energy, ensuring energy is purchased through green power accredited sources and that energy use is CO2 neutral or off set where required.
  • Our aim to achieve a zero-waste target by reducing, reusing and recycling materials, minimising the purchase and use of consumables, and when purchasing goods we choose environmentally friendly options that produce the least amount of waste and are efficient in their consumption of energy and resources.
  • Shape Our Future aims to exceed the minimum requirements, for Commonwealth, State and Local environmental regulations, policies, legislation and voluntary initiatives.
  • We encourage and support our employees in volunteering activities for other organisations, acknowledging the contribution volunteering makes to the community.
  • We support our employees in balancing personal and work commitments in recognition this contributes to employee health, satisfaction and well being. All Shape Our Future management, employees and volunteers are encouraged to allow sufficient time for each aspect.
  • We choose our partners, service providers, consultants and stakeholders which are aligned to our vision, values, principles, aspirations and objectives and demonstrate environmental leadership in their sector.
  • All our company tenancies are carbon neutral (greenhouse gas emissions which have been reduced through efficiencies are offset via carbon trading).
  • Environmental considerations inform all our investment decisions.
  • All business operations are zero net carbon, water & waste as a minimum.
  • All projects we develop and/or operate are independently rated as achieving good environmental status.

Policy

Summary

Through our commitment to the principles of ecologically sustainable development we will contribute to creating a sustainable future and lead, develop and influence improvements in environmental performance. This undertaking is an obligation of the board and management team and the responsibility of every staff member and volunteer.

Detail

Shape Our Future is committed to providing a high quality environment in the Not-for-Profit Environmental and Sustainability sector, which meet the requirements and expectations of Clients, Statutory Authorities, Employees and Community Groups.

Shape Our Future affirms its commitment to applying sustainable business and development principles to all facets of our organisations processes and to continually improve our performance in minimising the impact on, and pollution of, the environment.

In achieving this Shape Our Future is committed to the implementation, maintenance and improvement of a Management System meeting the requirements of Australian and International Standard AS/NZS ISO 14001.

The Board of Directors will review environmental objectives and set performance targets each year. Managers through their line management structure are accountable for ensuring all employees and volunteers achieve these objectives and targets.

The Company’s Environmental performance will be monitored against established performance targets and the results reported to the Board of Directors on a regular basis.

Shape Our Future affirm that they have a legal obligation to comply with relevant environmental legislation, standards and codes of practice as the minimum level of performance and a professional obligation to acknowledge the views of Environmental and Community Groups.

Shape Our Future acknowledge that environmental excellence can only be achieved and maintained by a clear unequivocal direction of all levels of management, stimulating a participative atmosphere and sense of pride in our environmental achievements by all employees and volunteers, and through recognition by concerned groups in obtaining this.

Why we do it.

Seeing firsthand the earth’s changing climate, humanities impact on the natural environment and depleting resources this generation is at or past a tipping point which could affect all future generations’ ability to inhabit the earth as we know it.

The environment is central to developed and developing countries and a communities continuance, without a balanced and sustainable environment we, as a race, will not be able to survive the future.

Our generation will be judged on the decisions we make at this time, as Al Gore once said to me ‘this is a time of turning, we don’t want future generations to say, ‘what were you thinking, didn’t you care enough to change’, we want them to ask, ‘how did you find the moral courage to rise to the challenge’.

Shape Our Future was formed as an organisation that leads, develops and influences others to make changes, we encourage, educate, and support people from all walks of life to find that moral courage needed to ensure sustainable prosperity for all.

We do it because we care, we are a group of passionate people with a common goal, and a desire to make a real and lasting difference, the greatest legacy we can leave is a healthy planet and a sustainable pathway for future generations.

Introducing Studio Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Studio Green in 2012.

Powered by Shape our Future, Studio Green (beta phase) is under development and aims to be an interactive reference and information site for all things ‘cool and green’.

Phase one sees the collection, collation and publishing of many years research, investigation, knowledge and experiences combined into a digital magazine style format.

Over time we will be adding new and relevant information and content, delivered via easy to navigate pages, blogs and searchable categories.

Phase two will see four digital editions released in year one, and circulated to a wide and global audience. The digital editions will be optimised for mobile reading (ie. Ipad, Android, Tablets and all browsers) placing interactive and enhanced content at the readers fingertips.

As part of the initial phase we are also seeking high quality ‘fresh and green’ content that is in line with the sites core categories and are inviting select brand funded media partners, advertisers and sponsors.

Submissions and Advertisers are invited and a ‘Submission and Advertising Guideline’ is available by emailing your interest to our founder, Geoff Gourley via geoffgourley@bigpond.com

Studio Green looks forward to providing an interesting site full of rich, relevant, unique, cool and green content aligned to our readers interests that addresses environmental, social and cultural aspects of life.

Studio Green – Cool and Green

Help save our environment

We urgently need you to help Shape Our Future…

Shape Our Future is currently preparing proposals for an exciting sustainability based project partnering with Local Councils to enhance environmental sustainability and adapt to climate change.

The Victorian Local Sustainability Accord is offering councils $A6.7 million in grants to partner with organisations.

Due to an increase in opportunity Shape Our Future urgently needs assistance from 2-3 motivated volunteers to help complete our submissions by 21st December 2010.

If you would like to help this worthwhile cause and be involved in an exciting sustainability project please contact Executive Director and Founder – Geoff Gourley on 0428 317 387 or email geoffgourley@bigpond.com http://www.shapeourfuture.org.au