New Zealand Sustainable Business Network conference

The Sustainable Business Network in New Zealand is holding their conference next month – Project NZ. At Project NZ, international experts and New Zealand business leaders will share their insights into the latest thinking in innovation and sustainability so you can apply them to your own business.

Leading Wellington and New Zealand businesses Z Energy, Kiwibank and Colmar Brunton will share their stories of change. Grassroots organisations such as Loomio and Yellow Brick Road will show that small businesses with innovative models can also bring about transformative change.

Highlights include:

·         Being a part of the New Zealand launch of The Big Shift, a new approach to business innovation already successfully adopted by leading global brands such as Nike, Unilever and Marks & Spencer

·         Finding out how to apply the Big Shift framework to your organisation

·         Connecting with other innovators and sustainability leaders

·         Learning from more than 20 global experts and Kiwi pioneers so you can apply their insights to your own organisation

·         Delving deeper into topics of your choice – smart transport, the circular economy, social value and restoring food systems

·         Dining with leading foodies and social innovators at the Good Food Feast, which includes food for thought on the tricky challenges in our food system.

More info: www.projectnz.co.nz

Net Balance is joining EY

In exciting news, Net Balance is pleased to announce that it is joining EY’s climate change and sustainability services group.

The result will see the combined team become the biggest sustainability practice in Australia working with clients across the public, private and not for profit sectors.

EY Asia-Pacific Climate Change and Sustainability Leader Mathew Nelson said the addition of Net Balance, including the company’s founder and Director Terence Jeyaretnam, to EY’s Assurance practice is an exciting development.

“This will see EY Australia’s national dedicated Climate Change and Sustainability Services team grow to more than 90 people and become Australia’s leading advisors in the areas of sustainability strategy, reporting and assurance, social impact, carbon, energy, health, safety and environment.

“The combined technical and strategic capability of Net Balance and EY teams will provide clients with unique expertise to help them meet their sustainability challenges.

“This acquisition will further strengthen EY’s ability to service our clients across all areas of sustainability and climate change, particularly social, supply chain, energy and sustainability advisory services,” Mr Nelson said.
Mr Jeyaretnam said Net Balance was looking forward to joining EY.

“The dual EY and Net Balance team will clearly be the largest sustainability service provider in Australia with deep technical expertise and experience.

“Joining our colleagues at EY is very exciting as it will present both our clients and our staff with significant opportunities especially as we look to expand into new markets and broaden the range of services, projects and initiatives we can offer,” Mr Jeyaretnam said.

The Net Balance Foundation will remain as will many key Foundation projects such as CitySwitch.

ECO-Buy will also continue to provide services to its national membership base.

Net Balance’s current clients will see little if any impact as a result of the move which will position the combined team for future growth in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

The acquisition is intended to be completed in late September 2014, at which time, it is expected that Net Balance will be fully integrated with EY, including relocating staff to EY offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Adaptation Videos

Adaptation Videos

I am lucky enough to span both the consulting and academic fields in the climate change and sustainability space. This means I can undertake exploratory research with RMIT University, with a group of really fantastic international researchers half the week, and the other half of the week I try to practically apply what I learn with clients through consulting. These worlds often intersect, and for a dynamic and iterative field such as climate change adaptation, I feel that this is a great thing. We have historically (insert link here to Adaptation Toolkit), and are currently undertaking several really exciting State funded projects as a partnership between Net Balance and RMIT University, with some fantastic preliminary findings.

This year, I was asked to develop a science communication video series for the Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research (VCCCAR), as part of my role as a research scientist at RMIT. Over the past two years I have been working on VCCCAR funded adaptation projects, until sadly at the end of this past financial year, funding from the State Government ceased.  However, in their wonderful ongoing efforts to better communicate climate change adaptation to the general public, we put together some ideas for adaptation videos.

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Environmental Upgrade Agreements

Environmental Upgrade Agreements

It’s been a bit of a bleak few months in the energy efficiency space. The repeal of the carbon price removed a price signal that clearly favoured energy efficient investment; the defunding of the Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program relieved companies of the need to go out and seek opportunities to reduce their energy consumption; and the Victorian Government’s commitment to repeal the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme if re-elected has introduced further uncertainty into an area that already has its fair share of doubt.

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Business and Human Rights

Business and Human Rights

What are human rights? Human rights are about promoting and protecting the values of respect, dignity and equality for every person, irrespective of race, sex, religion, political opinion, disability, sexuality, social status, age or any other characteristic.  Human rights standards are part of international law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the best known of these standards. But there are many other human rights treaties dealing with a wide range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

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Can Hunt sell the Senate a half-baked Direct Action?

Can Hunt sell the Senate a half-baked Direct Action?

In the wake of the Carbon Pricing Mechanism’s repeal, the government is tasked with a short-term challenge. Having reaffirmed its commitment to achieving Australia’s current Kyoto Protocol target (unconditionally reducing our 2020 emissions by 5 per cent compared with 2000 levels) the government, somewhat awkwardly, does not have an active policy mechanism to achieve this.

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Audit and assurance – the gap between sustainability and financial reports

Audit and assurance – the gap between sustainability and financial reports

With changes to the ASX Governance Principles and Recommendations now in play, the focus will be on how companies elect to respond. In particular how they report on Recommendation 7.4, which asks them to disclose their material exposure to economic, environmental and social sustainability risks and how they are managing those risks.

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Robust decision making - a requirement for embedding adaptation

Robust decision making - a requirement for embedding adaptation

I just presented at the IPWEA Sustainability in Public Works 2014 conference. My job was to outline the innovative methods that the City of Greater Geelong and Net Balance have implemented to respond to climate change.

Geelong has taken an interesting route, being one of the leaders in understanding and realising the benefits of embedding climate change considerations into their council operations early on in 2010. The key message of my presentation was the importance of embedding new ways of thinking and new ways of decision making to deal with climate change and the uncertainty associated with it, rather than just focusing on understanding climate and its impacts.

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Creating Shared Value Investment Framework

Creating Shared Value Investment Framework

Measuring shared value may not have been a key focus of the Creating Shared Value (CSV) Leadership Summit in New York, but it was by the far the hottest topic on everyone’s agenda.

A survey of conference participants ranked measuring CSV as the area of greatest interest, along with how you create and implement CSV programs in practice. These topics also dominated networking sessions between practitioners from the not-for-profit, government and corporate sectors.

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Adaptation in Australia – can we remain hopeful?

Adaptation in Australia – can we remain hopeful?

Since returning from the biennial International Adaptation Futures conference, hosted in Fortaleza, Brazil in mid-May of this year, I have been reflecting on the state of play of climate change adaptation internationally.

Amongst the Australian delegates at the conference, we lamented our nation’s state of play, with the Australian Government budget, released during the conference, contrasting with the release of the US National Climate Assessment and the recent EU Climate Change policy mandating national adaptation plans. While there is much progressive action going on at an international scale, the ‘tennis match’ politicisation of climate change action, with nations moving forward (and backward) in conjunction with the associated funding, is ever apparent.  This led us to ponder where our national efforts sit in the adaptation cycle, and if we are, in fact, taking many steps backwards.

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Doughnut Economics

Doughnut Economics

The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek οἰκονομία (oikonomia, "management of a household, administration") fromοἶκος (oikos, "house") and νόμος (nomos, "custom" or "law"), hence "rules of the house(hold for good management)".  The Economist's Dictionary of Economics defines economics as "the study of the production, distribution and consumption of wealth in human society."  Economics has also been described as a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.  Scarcity in this context typically relates to inputs to production such as human and financial capital.

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What do Kit Kats have to do with corporate sustainability?

What do Kit Kats have to do with corporate sustainability?

It’s hard to imagine chocolate posing any significant threat to corporate sustainability.  But that’s exactly what happened when Nestle was brought to its knees by an aggressive Greenpeace campaign highlighting the destruction of native orang-utan habitat in Borneo as a result of the company’s sourcing of palm oil.

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Lessons from Bhopal

Lessons from Bhopal

December 2nd this year will mark the 30th year anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, the world’s worst industrial disaster, the scale of which was unprecedented.  Around 4,000 people perished, around 4,000 more were severely or permanently disabled, around 40,000 were temporarily partially injured and over half a million were injured.  The stillbirth rate increased by up to 300% and neonatal rate by around 200%.

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Clearing the Air

Clearing the Air

In Australia, we take clean air for granted. But, globally clean air is becoming a scarce commodity due to the continued growth in the uptake of polluting forms of energy. Last year, Chinese multimillionaire Chen Guangbiao made headlines across the world when he sold 10 million ‘cans of fresh air’ in the 10 days for $0.80c each as pollution levels climbed to record highs. His effort was tongue-in-cheek, to advocate for better air quality, with proceeds going to poor regions.

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Sustainability Reporting – Waiting for Codes or Guidelines?

Sustainability Reporting – Waiting for Codes or Guidelines?

According to the film The Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl the Pirate Code, in practice, “is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules”. Captain Barbossa’s interpretation of the Pirate Code is consistently used throughout the story to renege on promises, dampen expectations and betray colleagues. As efforts to mainstream non-financial reporting ramp up, we expect the frameworks used to be less subject to Captain Barbossa’s style of interpretation. He is a pirate after all.

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Benchmarking reveals hot topics on corporate responsibility agenda

Benchmarking reveals hot topics on corporate responsibility agenda

When Business in the Community (BITC) decided to raise the bar in its annual corporate responsibility rating, none of the 98 participants could meet the top five star ranking. But the recently released 2014 Corporate Responsibility Index did reveal six key trends among those companies leading the way in corporate responsibility.

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The ASX increases focus on sustainability disclosure

The ASX increases focus on sustainability disclosure

The 3rd Edition of the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations, released last month by the ASX Corporate Governance Council, formally recognises that economic, environmental and social sustainability issues form a crucial part of the risk landscape for publicly listed companies

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