Australians should take inspiration from examples in the business world and in some local and state governments to adopt more sustainable approaches in their own lives to help prevent worst-case climate scenarios, the latest RSA Webinar was told.
In his RSA Webinar presentation on Wednesday, Brendan Liveris (pictured), a sustainability manager with expertise in industry, pointed to Australian examples to show how a number of societal actors are stepping up their efforts to combat climate change.
Against the backdrop of bleak assessments in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, Liveris said it was important to note the positive changes taking place in investment markets, in major companies and in some city and state governments.
He also urged individuals to do more to adjust their habits and consumer choices.
Liveris outlined a number of market mechanisms that are driving positive action in publicly listed companies and increasing transparency for stakeholders and investors.
Under the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), companies are setting science-based Co2 emissions targets and introducing action plans to reach them.
Under the CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, organisations are disclosing their impact on the climate and introducing action plans.
As some major economies are moving to mandate that companies report on climate-based risks, Australian firms are starting to report against these under the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Liveris said Woolworths was a ‘standout’ example of an Australian business taking action on these fronts, having set SBTi targets, achieved an A-list CDP rating and aligned its reporting according to the TCFD.
He said individuals needed to start taking more responsibility for their impact on the climate.
“There’s a lot we can all do as individuals. [But we need to] stop pointing the finger at someone else,” he said.
“What I mean by that is: we can complain about governments all day and we can complain about corporations all day, but we need to look at what we’re doing in our own backyards, in our own homes and in our own lives to make good decisions. And this stuff is what drives the behaviour of governments and businesses.”
Liveris is also treasurer of the RSA.
Si Gladman is Campaigns & Communications Coordinator at the Rationalist Society of Australia. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @si_gladman