Club of Amsterdam: Sustainable area development needs to tackle the core environmental issues related to – amongst others – mobility, housing, consumption, connectivity.
Douglas Mulhall and Diana den Held for the Academic Chair ‘Cradle to Cradle for Innovation and Quality’ – Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
Club of Amsterdam: Sustainable area development needs to tackle the core environmental issues related to – amongst others – mobility, housing, consumption, connectivity. Reuben Abraham from the Center for Emerging Markets Solutions in India states that by 2050, it is expected that the world will be 80 percent urban. Both India and China are witnessing the greatest migrations in human history as hundreds of millions leave the countryside for urban areas. What are your thoughts on this? Is a global collaboration needed and also realistic?
Douglas Mulhall and Diana den Held: First of all, if we really want to make this, we need to design buildings and area’s that contribute positively to their environment, not just be ‘less bad’.
Sustainability as defined by current regulations and laws, is more part of the problem than the solution.
Eco-efficiency that treats people as ‘human resources’ will not solve area development questions; it will only make them worse. That’s why C2C goes beyond sustainability.
Diana den Held: It has now been shown that it is possible to make buildings that can clean the air, contribute to the biosphere and supply energy and clean water, but further steps are necessary, especially for area development. We really have to help each other speed up. That’s why I feel it is so important to work on and communicate about Cradle to Cradle case studies, as we are doing here at the C2C Chair at the Rotterdam School of Management.
My favourite example of international cooperation is the Cradle to Cradle Islands project, led by the province of Friesland. No other project in the world has so many different cultures working together simultaneously on C2C.
It’s silly when you think about it, but in present days, most islands depend on the mainland for their raw materials. Which makes islands perfect small scale pilots for resource management. And I’m not just talking about materials when I say that. Think of fresh water as well: the demand for water on the islands keeps increasing, mainly due to an increase in tourists and it’s always the highest when the offer is lowest: in summer. Most islands are connected to the mainland by large waterpipes, to ensure there is enough drinking water available.
Recently the Minister of Environmental Protection Administration of Taiwan, Mr. Shu-hung Shen has, after been invited to do so by Prof. Dr. Braungart, announced Taiwan to become a honorary member of the Cradle to Cradle® Island community. Isn’t it fantastic to see how such a project now can grow from small pilot islands like Ameland and Texel, to an island this size and use the first results of the C2C Islands project directly in Taiwan strategies?
Taiwan can take the next step, and together these islands can show others what they have experienced and learned. I think this is a beautiful example of international collaboration on Cradle to Cradle implementation, a.o. in area development. It’s not just possible. It’s being done. Right now.