Hundreds of leaders from the business, government and sustainability sectors converged in Melbourne last week for the 2nd Australian Sustainability Conference.
Keynote speaker, the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, reconfirmed his commitment to scraping the carbon tax, a chief element of the Coalition’s Clean Air policy.
Notably the Environment Minister would not discuss whether the Government would call a double dissolution election if it does not receive support to repeal the carbon tax.
Hunt also said the Government’s plan centres around how to “maintain standards, but simplify action.” He said if action can be simplified, business is encouraged to invest as well as a culture of action.
The conference coincided with the launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report – the first update in seven years on the science of global warming.
The report is considered a critical piece of research for policy makers, yet many are looking to the role that business can take in understanding and disseminating the information.
“It is as important for business as it is for policy makers to separate the shrill and often inaccurate information that is being circulated regarding this report from the facts that are actually in there,” Rupert Posner, CEO of Good Environmental Choice Australia said.
Posner commented that business should seek expert advice to gather insights from the report to develop a credible and long-term strategy for their business. “This report should be seen by business leaders as credible evidence for why they need to understand how sustainability issues impact on their business and an unformed business is a business with risk.”
Matthew Shorten, Managing Director for Balance Carbon says the first step is to understand the carbon footprint of your business. Reducing emissions is as much about reducing operating costs, as much as positively influencing social and environmental outcomes, he said.
“The biggest challenge facing businesses in relation to their environmental impact will be waking up one morning, realising its all about making good business decisions and a failure to act sooner has jeopardised your competitiveness,” Shorten said.