Updated: May 11
Climate sustainability and responsible investment experts shared their thoughts with an engaged, passionate crowd at the second Business & Sustainability Forum, hosted by the Western Australian chapter of the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAAWA) in partnership with DFAT.
Moderated by UNAAWA Vice-President & Chair of the SDG Forum, Dr. Sandy Chong, the Forum attracted a diverse range of stakeholders from to governments, students and beyond. The speakers included Kirsten Rose, Head of Low Emissions Team of BHP; Ross Hamilton, senior adviser to the International Financial Corporation of water projects, Mark Andrich, the founder of Sustainable Platform; and Dr. Steve Lennon, President of the UNAAWA and Director of Fusion Energy Holdings.
Deputy Director of DFAT WA, Amanda Rickman, opened the forum with stories of Australia’s commitment to the Global Goals and the Global Compact Network. The panel opened with Kirsten Rose sharing her team’s goals of operationalising BHP climate change policy and driving internal change; Ross Hamilton discussed his work with corporations ensuring consideration of water supply impacts, and the climate impact of investment.
Mark Andrich discussed the role of Sustainable Platform in driving change through information on authentic sustainability, helping funds like WA Super invest in sustainable futures. He explained the mission of his firm as connecting company performance to meaningful sustainable development metrics, sharing the knowledge so that anyone can find companies or construct investment portfolios that meet financial goals as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Finally, Steve Lennon shared his knowledge as an internationally recognised expert in the energy sector, especially in the developing world. He described the mission of Fusion Energy as “good energy invested in good things” – identifying, developing, constructing, owning, operating and managing all forms of independent energy assets, from wind, solar, hydro, biomass and waste-to-energy.
The panel discussed top challenges in tackling climate change, and the risks of not adapting; bringing up themes such as having the right policies, commitment from the top, greater consideration of adapting to climate change (as distinct from mitigating), and helping decision-makers incorporate data into the business process.
They also discussed quantifying the human element and building a common understanding and business definition of sustainability. The panel then turned to the effects of impact investment on supporting and creating responsible business, the boom in impact investing in Western Australia, and responsible decision-making in the private sector.
The audience also got in on the discussion, asking numerous questions and having fun participating in an interactive game of sustainability quizzes where the top three winners received SDG pins as prizes.