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A vision for a liveable future

Environmental technology concept.

In today’s ever-changing society, people and businesses face a wide range of climate-related issues. A panel discussion titled Vision for a Liveable Future, sponsored by Diligent, presented ideas that tackle these challenges.

Energy infrastructure, transition, geopolitics as well as the role the private sector plays in shifting us to a sustainable world were topics discussed by the panel during Governance Institute of Australia’s 39th National Conference, chaired by United Nations Global Compact Network Australia (UNGCNA) Executive Director, Kylie Porter.

UK Cities Climate Investment Commission (UK CCIC) Advisory Board Chair, Professor Greg Clark said it made sense that detailing the current state of our cities was essential to planning and any innovations on sustainable infrastructure must be developed there first.

“Our cities are the biggest polluters while also being the biggest victims of climate change,” Mr Clark said.

Orizontas Partner, Patrick Gibbons, who spoke on behalf of Diligent, supplied local insight into Australia’s electrical grid and detailed problems the energy sector face in reducing emissions.

“Our cities are very dense, and so land use has come into question. The problem we are facing is how to transition in a way that isn’t expensive and is accepted by the local community,” Mr Gibbons said.

Chair of Building4.0 and Director of Standard Communications (GME) and ERB Systems Inc., Doctor Bronwyn Evans revealed that a change in waste reduction, digitisation and social mindsets were required to undertake a global urban transition.

Multiple speakers at the Melbourne-based event reiterated the need for private financing to complete an effective transition to renewables.

Professor Clark and Mr Gibbons discussed the need for ‘bankable’ projects to generate an increase in private funding and commented on social constraints like the current state of geopolitics, European politics and how existential needs potentially slow public and private investment alike.

“The energy transition doesn’t happen quickly in the current settings. Europe is facing an existential issue with this upcoming winter, so we are very likely to consume more fossil fuels,” Professor Clark said.

“The ‘just transition’ issue depends on who you ask. A lot of the electrical sector sees themselves as power workers, not coal workers. You’ve got to take the people who have lost out and their concerns into consideration,” Mr Gibbons said.

Dr Evans said a practical approach to the conversation revolved around engineering solutions that can be implemented today and included recovering rare minerals from electrical waste and understanding how we can best utilise our existing infrastructure.

“In Europe they have already started initiatives to strip down used batteries for rare minerals”

All panellists agreed there needed to be a joint approach from governments and broader society.

Mr Gibbons said Australia’s energy policy is established and discussion now revolved around setting achievable targets and steps to get there.

“Australia’s policy is effectively set, the argument that exists now is over the target and the time it takes to get there; how will these projects be funded and how do you get the private sector on board without large government subsidies”

Acquiring private funding without government subsidies and community buy-in was another key point raised Mr Gibbons.

Professor Clark said the need for place-led governance was essential for a city to thrive in the future.

“City scape planners of the future need to consider alternative forms of housing, transport, waste management and social thinking in general.”

National Conference attendees can offset a day’s worth of their carbon emissions

55kg is the average carbon footprint of a single person in Australia each day.

With greenhouse gas emissions being a major driver of anthropogenic climate change, Diligent have partnered with C2Zero to offset 55kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO₂e) for each person who attended the Governance Institute of Australia’s 39th National Conference. The offer covers in-person and virtual attendees.

Click here to offset your carbon or scan the below QR code.

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Further information:

Diligent is Platinum Sponsor of Governance Institute of Australia’s National Conference 2022.

Resources to accelerate your success as a leader:

Find resources and insights covering everything from governance best practices to ESG to strategic risk, compliance and audit management. Please go to Diligent’s resources section to learn more.

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