CEO Memo: Time for real action on the transition to net zero

For the next two weeks, the world's attention will be firmly focused on the Scottish city of Glasgow where the leaders of more than 120 countries  plus their groups of ministers, bureaucrats, scientists, policy makers and climate change experts – have gathered to discuss the national and global roadmaps to net zero. 

The discussions will take place alongside business leaders and climate change activists from across the globe, all gathered for the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference. 

And while this is the 26th meeting of the forum, this year’s gathering has never been more imperative given the immediate need for concerted action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1.5 degrees by 2030 and net zero by the middle of the century. 
 
In Australia, the months leading up to this event have been full of discussions and debates on what the path and plan to achieving these goals might be.  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's decision to attend the conference and the Coalition commitment to net zero is a consequence of the pressure that community, businesses and international partners and leaders are bringing to bear in their eagerness to see Australia’s commitment to the targets set in Paris at COP21.  

While the science is clear, and the social and economic imperatives are stark, the success of the transition depends on the commitment of a broad range of stakeholders.  

At the forefront is business, across all sectors and industries, whose actions, governance, and strategies will deliver much of the action on the transition to net zero.  

In recent weeks many of Australia's biggest corporate and conglomerates have set forth ambitious targets. Others have signalled clear intent as they work on their strategies.  

This is not surprisinggiven the risks and opportunities that climate change presents 

As the leading national body for governance and risk management, climate change is front and centre of Governance Institute of Australia’s agenda. 

Having developed a Climate Change Risk Disclosure Guidancewe continue to work to support our community to clarify — and act upon — the governance and risk management task. And this task will be substantial. 

We will also be launching a piece of thought leadership in early 2022 to assist our members as they consider the path for the transition to net zero. 

Next week we will convene a group of Governance Institute members to discuss how we as a professional membership body can support our members and the broader community to engage effectively and meaningfully on climate change and inform governance and risk management strategies on the journey to net zero. We will look at both the risks — and opportunities — currently at play. 

We have also been invited by a group of leading professional bodies to commit to a charter for climate action.  

The need for firm, real action on climate change has never been more urgent and Governance Institute of Australia is committed to being at the forefront of this transition. We look forward to you joining us on this journey. 

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