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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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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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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Emerging economies leapfrogging on sustainability

Emerging economies leapfrogging on sustainability

In Australia, sustainability is still perceived by many as an unnecessary bottom line expense tagged to good corporate citizenship and responsibility rather than offering business a strategic competitive advantage. Therefore, it may come as a surprise to Australians (and for that matter most developed countries) that emerging economies are indeed gearing up to leapfrog their developed counterparts on innovation through sustainability.

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Beginning with B

Beginning with B

Recently, Sir Richard Branson launched the ‘B Team’ (bteam.org). Note, not the ‘A Team’. The B Team is a plan with a single purpose: to make business work better. How? By shifting the focus from just financial gains, towards environmental and social gains as well. The B Team will achieve this vision by dividing their agenda into specific ‘grand challenges’ that they act on. Each Challenge, led by a B Team business leader, will empower and enable business people around the world to transform how business is done. The B Team is made up of the ‘A list’ of thought and business leaders including Sir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin Group, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Ariana Huffington, Chair of The Huffington Post.

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Reporting and Supply Chains – You’ve told us, now tell everyone.

Reporting and Supply Chains – You’ve told us, now tell everyone.

It is no longer breaking news for companies to get a handle on their value chains and increase their expectations of suppliers when it comes to sustainability performance. According to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), as much as 86% of a company’s carbon footprint is with its suppliers. Catastrophes in the textile manufacturing sector and NGO protests associated with palm oil production have increased the attention and scrutiny placed on how companies manage these impacts.

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What are insurance companies saying about climate risk?

What are insurance companies saying about climate risk?

With the bushfires blazing in the Blue Mountains, insurance costs are  becoming a hot issue. One report in the Newcastle Herald estimated the total  cost of damage at $138 million. Insurance is an important risk management  measure for households and businesses. The availability and cost of insurance  are being affected by the recent events like the Queensland floods and Victorian  bushfires, which are linked to climate change.

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Winners of the 2013 Banksia awards

Winners of the 2013 Banksia awards

Net Balance was thrilled to be part of this milestone event as finalists from across Australia gathered in Melbourne last week to learn who would take home the honours in a range of categories ranging from land and biodiversity management through to the indigenous award for caring for country.

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A Conversation with the Future

A Conversation with the Future

The National Sustainability Council was established by the Australian Government in October 2012 to provide independent advice on sustainability issues to the government. The council’s remit includes reporting against the sustainability indicators every two years and highlighting key trends and emerging issues for policy and decision makers and communities in Australia. Chaired by Prof. John Thwaites, the Council’s first report, released in May this year is titled ‘Conversations with the Future’.

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