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with eBay you could hence add Cloud Computing,Social Production and Microcredit to the unsunggreen heroes. Sustainability is not a technical matterto be fixed with a different kind of energy. It is givingdue weight to today's needs and tomorrow's;especially poverty, according to the Bruntland reportdefinition. How can such weighty problems be tackledeffectively? Many of the best ideas we have seen overthe last five years have a simple answer: co-operation.The winner of the Grand Prix in the 2006 GreenAwards was a simple scheme (the O2 DoorstepChallenge) where people were asked to keep their oldNokia charger for use with their new Nokia phone. Ifthey did so, the packaging could be made smallenough to fit through a letter box, which could also beused to post back their old phone for recycling. For thecustomer, it meant they no longer had to visit the storeto pick up their new phone. For the company it saved valuable resources andcosts. For the environment, it tackled electrical waste.It was an engaging innovative scheme that improvedthe customer experience, underlined O2's differenceas a brand (in a market where"one is red and one isgreen") and made everyone feel good in the process.Finding a helpful coincidence, where people, planetand profit all win, is a common feature of many of thegreat ideas we have seen in awards entries. One entryin this year's awards that stood out was Marks &042SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENTBelow: John Grant

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT043Spencer's innovative promotion whereby - if you takeyour old M&S clothes to the Oxfam shop - you get anM&S voucher for new clothes in return. This generatedmillions in extra profit for Marks and Spencer as well as tackling the key issue in UK landfill of clothing waste. This is another point we always lookfor when judging these awards: What is the broadersignificance? What do we learn as a society in general?How does it create a more receptive culture? Abeautiful example of cultural impact was the GrandPrix winner of 2010. The campaign created adifferent public attitude to walking in China (ratherthan driving) by creating an artistic spectacle. Largecloths were laid out at road crossings printed withpictures of bare trees. The "leaves" were added tothese trees through the pedestrians' footprints (padsof water-based green ink at the edge of the road).Without any words, the campaign imparted a sense ofwonder at how human beings can create a nicer, morenatural environment by walking. It was (literally) rolledout across China with impressive scale and reach.Not all of the green heroes we celebrate in the awardsare as showy as these examples. One of my personalfavourite entries was from Interface Flor. Its CEO, RayAndersen (who, sadly, died this year), was one of thefirst business leaders I heard speak eloquently andpersuasively about creating a better world with our dayjobs - in his case a carpet company - rather thanrushing off to work for Greenpeace. Several decadeslater and his message seems to have got through.Unilever was a notable entry this year, whosecommitment to the true (net effect) green is stunning:aiming to double their business in size, while reducingtheir environmental impact. It will take manybreakthrough innovations for this to be achieved and Iexpect the same factors of creativity and co-operationto be key. One idea I discussed with Unilever someyears ago is: why do we not all go back to usinglaunderettes? The challenge is then to make thesemore fun to visit than bars, gyms or clothes shops.Nothing can be ruled out, if it meets the same need(clean clothes) in new ways.When I was drafting my recent book on these themes(Co-opportunity, 2010), I applied the same co-operative principles myself, posting draft chapters forcomment online at One rather famousrespondent who commented during this process wasVinod Khosla, the venture capitalist. Khosla's pointwas that it was in some ways premature to write aboutall this; in that we need bigger, more startlingsuccesses to guide us. Khosla himself has invested in technologies such ascarbon sequestering concrete (Calcera). He certainlyputs his money where his mouth is and I see Khosla'spoint but I do not entirely agree. Few of our effortstoday may look substantial compared with tomorrow'sinnovations, but they are a start, and worthrecognising as such. After all, only if we have inspiringexamples of what a better world looks like, can westart to excite people, organisations and governmentsabout moving towards it. I look forward to seeing evenmore groundbreaking entries in 2012. Congratulations to this year's winners for their efforts todate. Their names will be announced on Thursday 24November at the Natural History Museum in London.See for more details. n