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Schwarzenegger: time for a new breed of action heroes

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The former California Governor heads new initiative to build “Sustainia” – the world’s first realistic model of a sustainable world in 2020 – and identifies the companies and persons who can make it real.

Geneva, Switzerland, March 7, 2012 – As long as we can’t see or feel what a sustainable society is, we will never succeed in convincing decision makers to make the changes necessary. We need a tangible idea of how it will improve quality of life for people and communities around the world.

This is the rationale behind a new, ambitious global collaboration – “Sustainia” – launched today in Geneva, Switzerland. The initiative is headed by former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is joined in a committee by three of the world’s most prominent sustainability leaders:

· European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard

· Chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri

· Special Envoy on Climate Change to the UN, Gro Harlem Brundtland, who founded the global sustainability agenda 20 years ago at the first Rio conference in 1992 on sustainable development

“Sustainia” is a virtual model of the world we could create if we implemented ready and available solutions to our existing cities, homes, energy systems, transportation etc. Developers have started the process of building Sustainia. In the coming months, everyone with an internet access can visit, inhabit and help build the new world on a virtual construction site.

The vision of Sustainia is presented in the book “Guide to Sustainia”, which was developed by Scandinavian think tank Monday Morning in a collaborative effort with 16 global companies (including Microsoft, GE, DNV, Philips Lighting, DONG Energy, Tetra Pak, Cisco and others) and experts. Since the launch in October 2011, a consortium of Scandinavian companies and partners (DONG Energy, Realdania, DNV and Novo Nordisk), UN Global Compact and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new climate initiative R 20 – Regions for Climate Action – has seen the potential of further developing Sustainia into a new global innovation and communication platform.

“Sustainia will demonstrate that sustainability is the better choice for all of us. For communities around the world and for the individual, it offers a multitude of benefits in terms of e.g. better health, more liveable cities and increased productivity. But we need to actually see it to understand it. And this is what we will make possible” says Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Sustainia” will be presented to world leaders in June this year, at the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil, alongside an inspiration catalogue – “Sustainia100” – containing 100 concrete solutions and technologies that will help make “Sustainia” real.

Arnold Schwarzenegger:

“The era of talk is over. It is time for action – and the companies, institutions and persons who represent green solutions are the new breed of action heroes whose efforts we should celebrate and encourage”

Executive director of the UN Global Compact, Georg Kell:

“UN Global Compact fully supports Sustainia – it is a clear articulation of” the future we want” and fits perfectly with the message UN wants to convey during Rio+ 20 and after: we can build a desirable future. We will ensure that Sustainia is given a prominent platform in Rio. It is a new and needed approach to communicating sustainability and involves all key stakeholders.”

EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard:

”Our greatest challenge as leaders is to connect with people and communities around the world. Sustainia is a way to do this. To give people a clear picture of what their lives could be like in a sustainable future – and how it will improve our health, our environment, our economy. Sustainia’s unique approach to communicating what is often complex for people to understand will be a great tool for political leaders”.

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Download still photos from Sustainia here [JPG]. Available to media for free when credited with “Photo: Sustainia”.

Download “Guide to Sustainia” here.

Download detailed project outline here.

Visit our website at www.sustainia.me.

For further information, interviews etc., please contact Esben Alslund-Lanthén, ela@mm.dk, +45 2695 4893, or Per Meilstrup, pm@mm.dk, +45 4047 4413.

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