sustainAUS, Q4 2017, News and views from SBA, its global network and members.


Focus – COP23


The Paris spirit is still alive and kicking. Just over two years ago, we were celebrating the culmination of years of work in Paris, with the adoption of a historic climate agreement. Not only does the Paris Agreement see all countries taking action to combat climate change, it also recognises the important role of non-state actors (business, cities, civil society) in driving climate action and, specifically, of the private sector in mobilising much-needed climate finance.

COP23 was held in Bonn, Germany this year, and was generally regarded as a success but the UN issued a warning to countries that they significantly need to ‘up their game’ in terms of commitments to emissions reduction and carbon reduction ahead on next year’s conference in Bonn. Over the coming months, there needs to be signs given that the different elements of the Paris Agreement and its rules are being joined up by policymakers, so business can make long-term decisions with some clarity on the framework.

SBA CEO Andrew Petersen wraps up this year’s COP in this podcast with a look at what happened and the implications for business and the sustainable development agenda.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) said the key takeaway from this round of negotiations is that companies are now formally invited to provide input into the climate negotiations through reports, dialogue and analyses. WBCSD member companies look forward to actively engaging in this process through regional, solutions-focused multi-stakeholder meetings over the course of 2018 and through to COP24.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) issued an ominous warning at the start of COP23 saying that while political, industrial and civil leaders are strengthening and implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the current state pledges cover no more than a third of the emission reductions needed, creating a dangerous gap, which even growing momentum from non-state actors cannot close. A report from UNEP highlighted the dangers of that gap, the issues behind it and the means at the world’s disposal to close it.

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2017 Review of Climate Change Polices, we ask: “Where’s the policy to spur ambition?

The Australian Government has released its 2017 Review of Climate Change Policies. We believe it is another missed opportunity, with little ambition for an enabling framework that emphasises sustainable, responsible and climate-smart development for Australia.

The report crystallises the weaknesses of the existing policy approach as we continue to mark time on climate action in Australia. The final page of the report, contains a recommendation that Australia get “a long-term climate change strategy”. In essence, one the biggest initiatives to come from the review of policies is to develop another strategy, starting next year and being completed by 2020. SBA will engage with Australia’s policymakers on this climate strategy, just as it has done for the last 27 years.

The key thing business in Australia has been calling out for is a long-term energy and climate policy that ensures certainty and yet here we are, again, being told there will be another strategy due in three years from now.

You can read our complete statement and download our submission at our website.


Leadership in Action

GlobeScan recently hosted a seminar on results from the latest edition of the GlobeScan/SustainAbility Survey, which focused on climate change and progress made on the Paris Agreement. GSS is one the longest-running expert surveys on sustainability-related topics of its kind. In our latest report, it analyzes viewpoints of about 400 global sustainability experts on a range of questions. You can watch the Asia Pacific webinar and slide deck here.


Climate disclosure gaining momentum across Australia, but more needs to be done.

The 12th of December 2017 marked the two year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, the global convention – now signed by 197 countries – to mitigate climate change and adapt to its effects. n the run up to this significant event, CDP, in collaboration with Sustainable Business Australia, hosted the Australian Climate, Water and Forests Leadership Forum in November.  Taking place in Sydney, the forum marked the release of CDP´s Australia and New Zealand Report 2017 and celebrated environmental leadership in the region. You can read the key findings on our web site.



NSW ‘Draft future transport strategy 2056’

The Draft Future Transport 2056 Strategy is a vision for how transport can support growth and the economy of New South Wales over the next 40 years. The final strategy will be released in “early 2018”.

SBA submitted that future mobility coupled with an effective mass transit system has the potential to improve the lives and livelihoods of people across NSW – their quality of life, their health, their environment. Autonomous vehicles (AVs), electric vehicles (EVs) and shared mobility models can reduce emissions, and other airborne particulates, remove cars and/or journeys from the road, significantly improve safety and accessibility, especially for those in areas poorly served by mass transit and people with limited existing accessibility such as the elderly and disabled.

However, undirected, future mobility may also exacerbate existing social and environmental impacts. A mobility system dominated by private autonomous travel could increase journeys and vehicles on the road. Private autonomous vehicles could subsume public transport routes, increasing mobility inequality. Without widespread adoption of EVs, emissions will increase.

You can read our full submission on our web site.

Member news

Energetics: Insights on how the energy landscape shifted in the wake of the announcement of the National Energy Guarantee which seeks to address reliability and achieve emissions reductions.  With implications for energy procurement strategies, market engagement and climate change response, Energetics’ energy markets and policy experts examine the emerging issues.

Jacobs: Jacobs has picked up the Sustainable Projects Award from the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) for its work on the remediation of Cox Peninsula in the Northern Territory. Jacobs was appointed as the independent Project Manager to oversee the remediation works and to ensure minimal impacts to the land and surrounding communities.

Jacobs: Jacobs has an exciting opportunity for an experienced and driven person to lead the Enavironmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) team in the Southern region. The role exists in the Built Environment team in the Melbourne office.

Jacobs: Jacobs and the National Rugby League (NRL) have joined forces to promote Indigenous youth employment in Australia. The two have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide greater employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) youth across Australia.

: “NAB boss named 2017 Shared Value Champion. Dr Ken Henry AC, Chair, National Australia Bank, has been named the 2017 Shared Value Champion at the 2017 Shared Value Awards ceremony held in Sydney on Tuesday evening while Bendigo and Adelaide Bank were named as the winning corporate organisation leading through shared value”. (Third Sector)

NAB: National Australia Bank says it will halt all lending for new thermal coal mining projects, becoming the first major Australian bank to phase out support of thermal coal mining.

NRMA: The NRMA has announced that it will establish Australia’s largest electric vehicle fast-charging network, suitable for a range of electric vehicles and free for NRMA Members. More than 95 per cent of NRMA Member road trips will be covered by the network. The $10 million investment will deliver at least 40 chargers, more than double the size of the current network of chargers in NSW and the ACT.

NRMA: More than fifty Federal and state laws will need to be amended and the nation’s motoring insurance and traffic fine network overhauled to prepare Australia for autonomous vehicles, according a report by NRMA, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Keolis Downer.


World Economic Forum – Annual Meeting, 23-26 January, Davos
UN – Investor Summit on Climate Risk, 31 January, New York

SBA & GPSC – International Stewardship Forum – 4 – 6 April, Sydney
SBA – April – Fiona Wain Oration 2018
WBCSD – Liaison Delegate Meeting, 16 – 19 April, Montreux
World Bank / IMF Spring Meetings, 20-22 April, Washington D.C.
UN Global Compact – Making Global Goals Local Business, May, , Buenos Aires
UNFCCC – May – COP Session–continuation of the Talanoa Dialogue
SBA and partners – May / June – Green Glow Conference w/ Banksia, EU Delegation, WWF

UN – High-Level Political Forum & SDG Business Forum 9-20 July, New York
Global Climate Action Summit 12-14 September, San Francisco
PRI in Person, 12-14 September, San Francisco
UN – General Assembly Week, Week of 18 September, New York
UN – Private Sector Forum & UN Global Compact Leaders Summit, Week of 18 September, New York

• WBCSD – Council Meeting, 22 – 25 October, Singapore
• UNFCCC – COP24/CMP14, 3-14 December, Katowice, Poland


One more thing….

Like you, we’re having a break. The office closes at the middle of the day on Friday 22 December 2017 and we will be back on Monday 8 January 2018.

From all at SBA, we wish you, your family and colleagues a safe and happy festive period and very much look forward to working with you in 2018.

Updated: 22 December 2017


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