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Dani Matthews03/07/2023 10:14:17 AM4 min read

leveraging indigenous wisdom: a path to a sustainable future

For many of us focussing on the topic of sustainability, it’s our mission to find innovative ways to ensure a healthier and more equitable future for generations to come. At every conscious moment, we can consider how Indigenous knowledge can be woven into the work we do. In doing this—connecting with country—multinational corporations around the world have an opportunity to leverage native cultures of wisdom and traditional practices in pursuit of their sustainability agendas. This blog post explores how multinationals can partner up with Indigenous people and make use of their knowledge systems as part of ongoing environmental initiatives, leading us towards a better tomorrow. 

Here in Australia we have the privilege of hearing the first-hand voice of the First Nations peoples of Australia, the world’s oldest surviving culture. I believe there is so much we can learn from listening to their wisdom of how to care for Mother Nature.  


What kind of Australia do we want? Simon Clarke, CEO UNWomen Australia


wisdom from an aunty 

During the celebration of the International Day of Yoga, hosted by The Yoga Foundation (Australia) at the serene Billabong Retreat Sydney, I had the pleasure of meeting Aunty Jacqui Jarrett. Aunty Jacqui, a proud First Nations woman of Australia, teaches yoga primarily on her ancestral lands. It was a humbling experience to hear her emphasise the significance of staying connected to the land and how yoga can assist in the healing journey of vulnerable individuals. You can follow her inspiring work at Nura Yoga

yarn with the people 

At our monthly Abundium CEO Roundtable we heard from Isaiah Dawe, CEO and Founder of ID Know Yourself who prompted us to be aware of the intergenerational trauma affecting many indigenous youths and to be open to learn, have a yarn and have hope for the future.

saving indigenous thinking  

I’m currently reading Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World written by Tyson Yunkaporta exploring Indigenous Australian perspectives on knowledge, sustainability, and our interconnectedness with nature. It’s highlighting to me that we have so much still to learn from our First Nations friends on helping create a sustainable future. 

AI’s thoughts 

At Abundium we’re interested in the junction between people, planet and tech. Asking the right questions will become even more important as we leverage technology for good. So, I asked my friend ChatGPT how indigenous thinking can be applied to multinationals and here's what it had to say... 

emphasising interconnectedness 

Indigenous thinking recognises the interconnectedness of all living beings and ecosystems. Multinational corporations can adopt this perspective by considering the broader social and environmental impacts of their operations. They can prioritise sustainable practices that benefit not only their bottom line but also the well-being of communities and the environment they operate in. 

respecting traditional knowledge

Indigenous cultures often hold valuable traditional knowledge about land, resources, and sustainable practices. Multinational corporations can collaborate with indigenous communities and respect their knowledge and rights when conducting business in their territories. In doing so, they can learn from these communities' wisdom and integrate sustainable practices into their operations. 

long-term vision

Indigenous cultures often have a long-term perspective on decision-making, focusing on the well-being of future generations. Multinationals should consider adopting similar long-term visions in their strategies, acknowledging their responsibilities toward the environment and society for the benefit of future generations, rather than merely prioritizing short-term profits. 

holistic thinking

Indigenous thinking often involves a holistic approach, considering the interconnectedness of social, environmental, and economic factors. Multinationals can benefit from adopting such holistic thinking in their decision-making processes. This means evaluating the impact of their actions on various stakeholders and the environment before making significant choices. 

cultural respect & inclusion

Multinational corporations should embrace cultural diversity and respect the customs and traditions of the communities they operate in. They can foster an inclusive work environment that acknowledges and values the contributions of employees from diverse backgrounds. 

sustainability practices

Indigenous cultures often have sustainable practices that have sustained their communities for generations. Multinationals can learn from these practices and integrate them into their operations to reduce their ecological footprint and promote environmental stewardship. 

responsible resource management

When dealing with natural resources, multinational corporations should adopt responsible management practices, ensuring that they are not overexploiting resources and causing irreversible damage to the environment. 

engaging with indigenous communities

Multinational corporations should engage in meaningful dialogue with indigenous communities and involve them in decision-making processes that affect their lands and livelihoods. This approach promotes mutual understanding and leads to more sustainable and equitable business practices. 


Wow so much to learn!

Join us as we celebrate NAIDOC week and take a moment to reflect on the opportunities before us. Let's all strive to #bethechange. Inspired by Isaiah, let's come together for a meaningful conversation, where we can listen, learn, and hold onto hope for a better future. 

If you're a multinational company embracing these ideals and seeking to make a positive impact, we want to hear from you. Join us in the #giveforward movement and help create a ripple effect of goodness. 

In the words of Simone Clarke, CEO of UN Women Australia, let's ask ourselves: "What kind of Australia do we want?" And let's broaden the scope: "What kind of world do we want for future generations?" It's time to envision a better tomorrow. 


Dani Matthews

Dani Matthews, Co-Founder & Chief Impact Officer at Abundium, leads our impact initiatives with and for our multinational and not-for-profit community to tenfold leadership impact for an abundant world. Driven, compassionate and socially minded, Dani is on a mission to ‘be the change’ and help inspire positive impact including the transition to net zero in this critical decade of action. She recently completed a Cambridge University Business and Climate Change: Towards Net Zero Emissions short course and leads a cross-industry ‘Climate Warriors’ community amongst many other initiatives. Dani was recently honoured as an Adjunct Associate Professor (Industry) @ UTS Business School and is excited for our "Leading Strategic Action on Climate and Sustainability" Short Course collaboration.