Sustainability Practitioners Association
Sustainability arrived as a new agenda in Perth in early 2001 with the election of the Geoff Gallop as State Premier and his quest to establish a State Sustainability Strategy. Sustainable Consulting commenced trading at the same time and experienced first-hand the excitement and uncertainty of being part of something new and significant. During those days, the early-movers bumped into each other regularly and lamented the broader community’s lack of understanding of the sustainability agenda and the opportunities it brought. It was a time when one would not contemplate telling a taxi driver you worked as a sustainability professional!
Consistent with the collaborative and conversation-based approach promoted by Sustainable Consulting, the early sustainability leaders in Perth decided to start meeting on an exploratory basis with a view to establishing a professional association for people working in the sustainability field. Members of the Sustainable Consulting team played a lead role in facilitating those conversations and then enacting the resulting decisions.
This work eventually led to the Sustainability Practitioners Association (SPA) being launched in April 2005 by the then Governor of WA, Lieutenant General John Sanderson at an event attended by 150 people. SPA was established to meet three purposes:
- Share sustainability experience and knowledge
- Mentor future sustainability practitioners
- Raise sustainability awareness and encourage adoption of more sustainable practices.
SPA was the first sustainability association in Australia, and had over 400 different paid-up members during its life.
Regular networking events were held and a range of guest speakers from overseas, interstate, within the local sustainability industry and other related disciplines presented on a wide variety of topics. This helped to lift the thinking of local practitioners and to galvanise a strong sense of community amongst members.
A number of important sustainability-related initiatives in WA have arguably stemmed from relationships which started and developed during SPA’s life.