SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communities

SDG goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. 

And SDG 11 is about sustainable cities and communities.

SDG 11. Sustainable cities and communities

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable


11.1 Ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
11.2 Provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport
11.3 Enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanisation and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
11.4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
11.5 Significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters
11.6 Reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
11.7 Provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces

Sustainable-city development in Malaysia

Country and Sustainable Cities Overview

Accoridng to Deloitte report, In Malaysia, more than 74% of population lives in cities and over 90% of national economic activity is conducted in cities.

During 2010-2015, the total population grew at an annual rate of more than 1.8 % per annum where urban growth was around 2.66 %. It is predicted that urbanization will further outpace population growth so that by 2030 about 82% of the population will live in urban areas.

Challenges in Malaysia

Malaysia are also faced with numerous climate change challenges that threaten the ability of these urban areas to become viable pillars of sustainable development.

The rapid increase in GHG emissions in cities has been further aggravated by:

  • rapid urbanization and industrialization (7% per annum),
  • relatively high carbon intensity dependence on fossil fuels and coal, and
  • poor public transportation system and
  • high demand of mobility caused rapid increase of cars compared to population growth.

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Social innovation – how to begin with this?

shake hand in meeting

Social innovations are new social practices that aim to meet social needs in a better way than the existing solutions, for example improving working conditions, education, community development or health. These ideas are created with the goal of extending and strengthening civil society. Let’s recap on the potential for social innovation for cities, click here.

Sarah A. Soule, Neil Malhotra, Bernadette Clavier (From Stanford GSB)

There are many context when we talk about social innovation, one of it is stakeholder engagement.

However, what are the context for stakeholder engagement to bring forward social innovation?

Stakeholder engagement is the systematic identification, analysis, planning and implementation of actions designed to influence stakeholders. A stakeholder engagement strategy identifies the needs of key groups and the sponsor plays a vital role in ensuring those business needs are met.

Example of stakeholder engagements:

  • Public participation
  • Meaningful participation
  • Civic engagament
  • Civic leadership
  • Stewardship for change
  • Legitimacy
  • Inclusive participation

Stakeholder engagement helps to proactively consider the needs and desires of anyone who has a stake in their organization, which can foster connections, trust, confidence, and buy-in for your organization’s key initiatives.

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Ecological Economics Model

green forest

The shortcomings and the critics of the current model are excessive.

A coherent and viable alternative is sorely needed to sketch a framework for a new model of the economy based on the world-view and principles of ecological economics (Costanza 1991; Costanza et al. 1997; Daly and Farley 2004).

These include the following ideas:

  1. Our material economy is embedded in society which is embedded in our ecological life support system, and that we cannot understand or manage our economy without understanding the whole, interconnected system.
  2. Growth and development are not always linked and that true development must be defined in terms of the improvement of sustainable human well-being, not merely improvement in material consumption.
  3. A balance of four basic types of assets (capital) are necessary for sustainable human wellbeing: built, human, social, and natural capital (financial capital is merely a marker for real capital and must be managed as such).

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Principles in ethical responsibility towards the global commons

green tree in jungle

The Principles in ethical responsibility towards the GLOBAL COMMONS:

  • Understand that it is a paradigm shift
  • Understand that it requires disruptive transformation
  • Understand that Inclusiveness within the local community is the starting point
  • Understand that environmental preservation or biodiversity preservation goes beyond national boundaries as the aim is achieving sustainability
  • (note the issue of overfishing/overdevelopment)
  • Understand that the commons represent the common heritage of mankind… and practicing resilience and behavioral shift is key

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The 5 Global commons, and what are they?

green forest

What is Global commons?

Global commons is a term used to describe international, supranational, and global resource domains in which common-pool resources are found.

Global commons include the earth’s shared natural resources, such as the high oceans, the atmosphere and outer space and the Antarctic in particular. Cyberspace may also meet the definition of a global commons.

The 5 Global commons (earth shared natural resources) and avoiding the Tragedy of the commons:

  • High seas/deep sea bed
  • The Atmosphere
  • Antarctica
  • Outer Space
  • Subsurface (energy resource)

Key challenge of global commons

The key challenge of the global commons is the design of governance structures and management systems capable of addressing the complexity of multiple public and private interests, subject to often unpredictable changes, ranging from the local to the global level.

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How should business thrive post COVID-19?

using ipad and computer screen

Building resiliency to thrive!

COVID-19 has left a severe impact on the business environment, and has changed the landscape totally in Malaysia.

holding card with COVID-19

Many organizations has taken the proactive steps to adapt to the new normal including digital transformation path. However, there are require to manage the inherent risks that comes along.

How can business could thrive post COVID-19?

The new normal include the move to virtual meeting, study and work from home. This is the time where business can  optimize cost by automating and streamlining other processes. But wait, how?

Through strategic cost optimization and process automation, businesses can release resources and focus more on core business activities and address other urgent matters caused by the current economic landscape.

According to Deloitte,  businesses can take these actions to adjust, optimize, respond, and prepare for the shifting new landscape:

  • Implement strategic cost optimization by streamlining and reducing inefficiencies, infrastructure modernization, and restructuring.
  • Implement physical optimization through stacking and computerization.
  • Automate highly manual and resource intensive tasks through the use of digital technology.

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The 5 key drivers to the growth of ESG


First of all, ESG is the acronym for Environmental, Social, and (Corporate) Governance.

The ‘Rethinking ESG in a post COVID-19 world’ publication has identifies the 5 keys for sustainability and how businesses can get ready to meet the sustainability challenges ahead.

The 5 key drivers to the growth of ESG:

  1. Investor expectations – Environmental and social factors are having a greater influence over a company’s future performance and valuation. Returns on socially responsible investment indices are outperforming their conventional index counterparts.
  2. Sustainability reporting – Global investors are now calling for mandatory inclusion of climate risk disclosures in financial accounts for use by companies, banks, and investors in providing information to stakeholders. Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and Securities Commission Malaysia are also pushing for the adoption of reporting standards as recommended by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) among local financial institutions.
  3. Regulations – There has been an increasing need to address scrutiny and adverse public reaction over environmental and social concerns in several sectors, especially when they are subject to more stringent foreign regulations.
  4. Fiscal policies – Incentives to promote responsible business conducts to be sustainable. The Budget 2021 introduced Malaysia’s first sustainable bond, as well as the extension of the successful Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS) to encourage the private sector to participate in green technology.
  5. Customer behaviour – PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey 2020 research revealed a clear embrace of sustainability and a sense of civic duty. 52% of our respondents in Southeast Asia say they expect businesses to be accountable for their environmental impact. 52% of them also say they would avoid the use of plastic whenever possible.

ESGSource: CFA Institute

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Circular Economy: How and where to begin?

girl dancing in nature

The traditional “take and dispose”  or linear economy is reaching the tipping point.

To grasp the scale of circular economy opportunities, we must understand the limits of the current linear economic model.

Circular economy: Where to begin?

  • Integrate life-cycle thinking

Future successful businesses will
maximize the economic value of every unit of
resource used. They will incorporate a circular
mindset into the design of their products and
services, and they will not fail to consider
end-of-life consequences before it’s too late.

The earlier companies integrate circular thinking
and processes into the product or service,
there will be greater opportunity to create the most

  • Collaborate

Also, collaboration is essential to achieve
a circular economy, both externally and
internally. Internally, individuals and teams must
work across departments and geographies
to identify opportunities, implement and scale
across the organization. Externally, companies
must work with value chain partners,
stakeholders and sectors with complementary
goals and objectives.

Regardless in the form of a
joint venture, merger, customer relationship or
a general partnership, collaboration has been
and will continue to be a main characteristic
of successful circular programs

  • Know your flows

One of the most valuable
exercises a company can do as it
begins to think about the circular
economy is to map its resource
flows – including materials, water,
energy and money. In doing
so, companies can establish
benchmarks to measure
progress, at the same time understanding
linear risk and identifying circular

Resource: WBCSD 8 Business Cases for the Circular Economy

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The 4 pillars of sustainability that you need to know

Sustainability pillars

Sustainability is often stops at just a concept that is good to know, but it would also be better if we could apply in our daily life, and not just knowing it.😁

Today we will be introducing the four pillars of sustainability: Human, Social, Economic and Environmental.

Human sustainability

Human sustainability aims to maintain and improve the human capital in society. On top of that, human sustainability is related the development of skills and human capacity.  Human sustainability support the functions and sustainability of the organization and to promote the wellbeing of communities and society.

Thus, investments in the health and education systems, access to services, nutrition, knowledge and skills are the examples of human sustainability.

Social sustainability

Social sustainability aims to preserve social capital by investing and creating services to our society. This concept includes a larger view of the world  which is related to communities, cultures and globalization.

This is to acknowledge what we do can have an impact on future generation, others and on the world. Social sustainability focuses on maintaining and improving social quality with concepts such as cohesion, reciprocity and honesty and the importance of relationships amongst people.

Economic sustainability

Economic sustainability aims to improve the standard of living. This refers to the efficient use of assets to maintain company profitability over time to businesses.

Environmental sustainability

Environmental sustainability aims to improve human welfare through the protection of natural capital.

Sorce: Futurelearn

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Are we there yet for circular economy?

euro coins

What is a circular economy?

A circular economy is an economic system of closed loops in which raw materials, components and products lose their value as little as possible, renewable energy sources are used and systems thinking is at the core.

Looking beyond the current take-make-waste extractive industrial model or linear economy, a circular economy aims to redefine growth, and focus on positive society-wide benefits. Circular economy entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system. The circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital.

In general, circular economy is based on 3 principles:

  • Design out waste and pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerate natural systems

The linear economy has to change!

In a circular economy, economic activity builds and rebuilds the entire system and process. Circular economy recognize the importance of the economy needing to work effectively at all scales.

As opposed to the popular views, transition to circular economy does not aimed at reducing the negative impacts of the linear economy. Rather, circular economy represent a systemic shift.

How circular economy can save the world?

According to National Geographic, in the same half century, environmentalists have been warning of limits to growth.

However, the new “circular economy” movement is different. It’s a collection of strategies—some old, such as reducing, reusing, and recycling, and some new, such as renting rather than owning things—that together are meant to reshape the global economy to eliminate waste. The circular economy doesn’t aim to end growth; it aims to bend how we do things back into harmony with nature, so that growth can continue.