Gunter Pauli and the Blue EconomyGunter Pauli and the Blue Economy

Gunter Pauli of the ZERI Foundation and author and founder of the Blue Economy was at Bridge 5 Mill on 21st March 2012 to present his radical ideas for a sustainable future. It turned out to be a very inspirational day with Gunter making many of us rethink how we saw sustainability.

The day started with Gunter explaining how his thinking changed about the green economy whilst he was managing director of ecover. For Gunter a system that encourages and rewards companies for being a bit more green or socially aware was wrong, what he wanted to create was a totally open economic system and a totally closed environmental system. In his words 'That system involves everything we do. The products. The ecological factory where we build the products. How we communicate our message to customers. How we work with each other. Why we spend so much time on fair-trade initiatives in Colombia'. So he set about building the worlds first zero carbon factory and revolutionising the cleaning product industry.

He then took us through a quite remarkable list of projects that he has been involved in around the world since then. These included:

Redesigning building ventilation systems in japan based on the fact that a zebra is capable of reducing its body temperature by 17.5 degrees f with air currents generated by the interplay of its black and white stripes.

The Laggarberg School in sweden that uses design principles based on studies of termite mound architecture.

How his company (ZERI - Zero Emission Research Initiative) established bamboo as a construction material in South America by building the pavilion which is the worlds largest bamboo structure.

A huge and innovative biogas plant in Ulsa, South Korea where Blending slurry and solid organic municipal waste generates 4 x more biogas than a standard organic waste plant.

His current project in South Africa transforming the struggling orange industry by introducing closed loop sustainable systems.

It was a great event and gave all of us a lot to think about, it's well worth getting his book The Blue Economy which goes into detail about these and many other projects.

Also many thanks to chef Jules Bagnoli for producing a delicious low-carbon, seasonal lunch.

Watch a video of the day here made by Tanja Sørensen

Gunter Pauli's Blue Economy