Our Ideas

A NEW-ECO-VILLAGE IS BORN – THE COMMONS IS COMPLETE

Just over 2 years ago, Small Giants embarked on the ambitious task of building one of the most sustainable residential developments in Australia. Today, Small Giants has handed over the eco-apartments to the new residents – ready for the new owners to build upon the foundations of this inner-city, vertical eco-village. The Commons is home to just 24 apartments, along with two artist studios, a cafe and retail space. All of the apartments were sold prior to the completion of construction and all purchasers were eager to settle and move in before Christmas. The café space is currently being fit-out and is expected to open in early 2014.

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This striking building, with its copper and ironbark clad façade, was designed by local Brunswick architects Breathe Architecture. The Commons was meticulously built by Kubic Constructions who appreciated and responded positively to the bespoke nature of the job. Their attention to detail and willingness to explore alternative construction methods and finishes shines through in many aspects of the building.

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The proximity of The Commons to public transport is critical to the overall sustainability of the development. Uniquely, there are no car spaces allocated to the residences of The Commons – residents share the 65 bike spaces located in a secure garage and share the GoGet car parked directly out the front of the building in Florence Street. Being only 6km from the CBD and a short walk to the Sydney Road shops, the luxury of a personal car space is not critical to enjoying the lifestyle that The Commons presents.

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The sustainability features do not end with the various transport options. Other ESD features include:

  1. Double-glazed, and thermally broken windows and balcony doors throughout – including locally made timber sliding doors by Binq;
  2. Recycled timber flooring and feature wall salvaged from demolished houses and schools around Victoria specifically sourced by Small Giants during the course of construction;
  3. Exposed concrete ceilings and structural columns to provide thermal mass to the apartments. This thermal mass, along with extra insulation and ceiling fans, ensures that no air-conditioning is required in the apartments;
  4. Raw and toxic free finishes to tapware, door handles and joinery ensuring that the indoor air quality is as optimal as possible for residents.

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However, the highlight of The Commons is the extensive green roof with sweeping CBD views. The productive garden has 46 raised vegetable boxes – locally manufactured in Brunswick by Future Environment Garden Builders. These boxes provide ample space for residents to grow and share their own produce. The green roof also features an “intensive green roof” featuring hardy native plants that filter stormwater run-off from the building and act as an insulating blanket on the apartments below. This area also provides for a sensational entertaining deck.

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Small Giants is proud to have delivered this landmark project and to have raised the sustainable living benchmark in Australia. It is now the blueprint for future inner-city residential developments, including Oxford & Peel – a Small Giants project currently being marketed in Collingwood (www.oxfordandpeel.com.au)

Small Giants launches the Impact Investment Group

Co-Founded by Small Giants CEO Danny Almagor and Chris Lock, the Impact Investment Group (IIG) has recently been launched. IIG is a private investment and advisory firm committed to harnessing capital markets to drive change. Danny and Chris saw the benefit in offering a blended value proposition through their sustainable and ethical investment opportunities. Drawing on progress in the USA and Europe they developed an Australian impact investment house.

IIG supports investments which generate blended value. This means that investments generate social or environmental returns alongside competitive financial returns. IIG believes that aligned investment can be profitable, sustainable and ethical.

IIG’s purpose is to shift capital from the unconscious to conscious spaces to ultimately improve our shared world.  This purpose is supported by IIG’s Theory of Change: that global behaviour will change for the better when capital is shifted from the traditional commercial investment sector into the impact investment sector. IIG is creating a new investment paradigm in the Australian investment landscape to help change our world for the better.

IIG is also a certified B Corporation.

For more information, please visit http://www.impact-group.com.au/ or contact Will Richardson at [email protected].

B Lab comes to Australia!

B Lab, the not-for-profit behind B Corporations (B Corps), has crossed the Pacific Ocean and landed safely on Australian territory. As Australia’s first B Corporation, Small Giants is proud to announce the establishment of B Lab Australia & New Zealand, based in Melbourne, Australia.

B Corporation certification is to sustainable business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or Organic certification is to food and food products. Certified B Corporations are leading a global movement to redefine success in business. By voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance, Certified B Corps are distinguishing themselves in a cluttered marketplace by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business.

Global B Corps are certified by the not-for-profit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance. Companies in Australia and New Zealand can now obtain their B Corporation certification from B Lab Australia and New Zealand with continued support provided by B Lab.

B Lab Australia and New Zealand will be officially launched at industry events in Melbourne and Sydney in early 2014.

Small Giants and its family of businesses are certified B Corporations.

For more information, please visit www.bcorporation.net/ or contact Mele-Ane Havea at [email protected]

Small Giants renews its commitment to the UN Global Compact

The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate citizenship and sustainability initiative. Since its official launch on 26 July 2000, the initiative has grown to more than 10,000 participants, including over 7,000 businesses in 145 countries around the world.

In 2012, we (Small Giants) became a participant in the UN Global Compact initiative. As part of our ongoing involvement in the initiative, our CEO Danny recently submitted our annual Communication On Progress to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Ban Ki-moon.

In this letter, we expressed our continued support for the Global Compact and renewed our ongoing commitment to the ten principles in the four issue areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. We also provided a sample of practical actions that the Small Giants family of businesses have undertaken over the past year. These actions sit across a number of areas, including: strategy and internal governance, transparency, employee and stakeholder relationships, community engagement and social and environmental impact.

Finally, we took the opportunity to express our renewed support for the broader development goals of the United Nations, particularly the Millennium Development Goals.

You can find more info on the Global Compact here, we think it’s pretty awesome: http://www.unglobalcompact.org.au/about-us/un-global-compact/

 

Romy, and the Small Giants team

The UK PM: Social investment can be a great force for social change

Last week the team at SG were incredibly inspired to read the text of a recent speech by the UK PM on social investment and social change. Below are the first couple of paragraphs and a link to the full text. The main question we were asking in our office was “how long will it be before an Australian PM gives a similar speech?”

 

It’s great to welcome so many of the world’s top social entrepreneurs and investors to London. As Prime Minister I am frequently asked to speak at conferences. But this is a conference I actually asked to speak at. In fact, I asked to set the whole thing up. Today I want to tell you why.

We’ve got a great idea here that can transform our societies, by using the power of finance to tackle the most difficult social problems. Problems that have frustrated government after government, country after country, generation after generation. Issues like drug abuse, youth unemployment, homelessness and even global poverty. The potential for social investmentis that big. So I want to make it a success in Britain and I want to sell it all over the world.

To read further: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-speech-at-the-social-impact-investment-conference

Pots n Pans Turns 1!

2 years ago Small Giants ventured into Vietnam and began a partnership with KOTO, a wonderful organisation providing hospitality training to disadvantaged young people. KOTO has been around for more than 12 years and has now got cafes and training centres in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Our journey with KOTO led to the opening of the Modern Dining restaurant Pots n Pans in Hanoi in March 2012. Pots n Pans employs KOTO graduates and provides a “post-graduate” training experience for these inspiring individuals. Excitingly we’re about to turn one year old, and we’re celebrating with a feast befitting such an important milestone!

See below for full details:

 

Celebrating One Year of Culinary Excellence

Hanoi’s own Pots ‘n Pans, is excited to announce its first Anniversary on the Friday 29th March, 2013.

Opened since March 2012 as a partnership between KOTO (who works with street and disadvantaged youth), Small Giants (an Australian Impact Investment Group) and a dedicated group of KOTO alumni, we have truly enjoyed creating wonderful dining moments for the last 12 months. It’s time to celebrate in style!

This year Pots ‘n Pans have the great honour to host the internationally acclaimed, Michelin Star Chef Felix Eppisser accompanied by Chef Marco Mehr. The two inspiring chefs will present a four-course gala dinner paring with wines at Pots ‘n Pans to mark an important milestone to the unique Pots ‘n Pans Culinary Experience.

 

Chef Felix Eppisser’s biography

The renowned Michelin Star Chef Eppisser, with his wife Lucia operate the most prestigious restaurant in Myanmar, Le Planteur. After a brilliant career in the Fine Dining business, the highly decorated chef has set the bar in modern European and Indochine Fine Dining in Myanmar and globally. Their property in Zürich, the hotel & restaurant Rigiblick belonged to the top addresses of Switzerland and was internationally renowned.

 

Chef Marco Mehr’s biography

Marco has joined Felix at Le Planteur to further develop his skills he has earned as the private Chef of the German World Cup Ski team. Since working with Felix at Rigiblick in Zürich, Marco has a wealth of experience including the Stamford in Singapore, Burj al arab and Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. Marco has already been awarded a number of competition titles including the All-over winner at the Culinary World Cup (world championship) in Luxembourg.

 

For more information, please contact Amy Ngoc at [email protected] or +84 162 6370 882

Small Giants is looking for a Bookkeeper!

As we grow and take on new projects, we are finding ourselves in need of a bookkeeper to help make our dreams happen! If the thought of trawling through excel spreadsheets and bank reconciliations still has you keen to join our team, then keep reading!

 

Contract: 2 days/week or equivalent (0.4)

Wage: $50,000 pa (pro rata $20,000) + super

Start: Immediately

The Job:

Small Giants requires a bookkeeper based out of our St Kilda headquarters to support the CFO in accounts processing and administration across several Small Giants companies. The key responsibilities of this role include:

  • Accounts Payable/Receivable (weekly)
  • Bank Reconciliations (ongoing and monthly)
  • Accounts maintenance and filing (ongoing)
  • BAS preparation and lodgement (monthly and quarterly)
  • Payroll management and processing (monthly)
  • Staff expense reimbursements

 

This role will also work closely with the CFO on tasks such as cash flow management, budgeting and Month/Year End Reporting. Small Giants uses Xero to manage its accounts, so experience with Xero, or another cloud based accounting system, or a willingness to try new things is a must!

Our dream bookkeeper will be:

  • Determined to be the best in their field
  • Detail oriented
  • Mature minded
  • A skilled multi-tasker
  • Comfortable with new technologies
  • In love with Excel
  • A clear communicator with a high EQ

 

Please send applications to [email protected] with ‘Job Application’ in the subject line.

Baking for Nepal (and Snow Leopards)

This holiday season one of our friends here at the White House (Stu from DesignFlow) is heading to Nepal with his family. This weekend he and his kids will be holding a bake sale, raising money to buy some English books for a primary school in Langtang Valley and to donate to a World Wildlife fund for the protection of Snow Leopards in Nepal!

We feel that this is not only a brilliant cause, but a fantastic way for Stu to make a tangible connection between fundraising and it’s real effects in the developing world! And I am yet to pass up an opportunity to bake!

So if you feel like getting into the kitchen, baked goods are welcomed, and if you are in Hawthorn this Sunday pop down to show your support for Nepal and your sweet tooth!

Details:

WHEN: Sunday 25th November, 10am to 12pm

WHERE: Stu’s lane way, off Roche St, Hawthorn (see map below)

Download the flyer here


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Announcing The School of Life in Melbourne

We’re so proud to be launching The School of Life in Collingwood, Melbourne on Friday 25 January 2013. This will be the first international School to open its doors.

Dedicated to distilling the best ideas from the ages to enrich everyday life, The School of Life is the brainchild of writer Alain de Botton.  Since its London launch in 2008, more than 50,000 people have taken part in its programs, and its innovative approach to lifelong learning is now globally renowned.

In January 2013 the School of Life Australia is launching Summer Term: a 10-week project offering a selection of the UK’s most popular programs, led by Australia’s innovative thinkers, and held in a purpose-built space in inner-city Collingwood.

“We are thrilled to launch The School of Life in Australia. There couldn’t be a better country in which to open up, Australians being exceptionally intellectually curious and adventurous. We can’t wait to start receiving our first guests,” says Alain de Botton.

Summer Term will include a diverse range of classes, workshops and other special events held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 25 January and 31 March.  The Conversation Café onsite will serve up a daily conversation menu, light food and, of course, delicious coffee.

In addition, The School of Life will host a series of ‘secular sermons’ in surprising spaces around the city.

“There has been a growing need amongst Australians to reconnect with the big issues in life, topics like love, work, creativity, money, nature and death.  The School of Life Australia will provide a space for us to explore these subjects, and meet other intellectually and socially curious people in the process,” says Sara Tiefenbrun, Project Director of The School of Life Australia.

Program details for The School of Life Australia’s Summer Term will be announced in December 2012.  For more information sign up to our mailing list at:www.theschooloflife.com/world/australia. Updates will also be shared regularly on Twitter @theschooloflife and Facebookwww.facebook.com/TheSchoolofLifeAustralia

 

Dumbo Feather Issue #33 Launch Party