By Leon Gettler >>

MORE COMPANIES are now looking to embrace renewable energy as governments around the world move to net zero emissions.  But they lack the expertise and experience to do it.

Enter Work For Climate, a new platform set up by former Atlassian JIRA general manager Bryan Rollins. JIRA is the tracking and project software developed by Atlassian.

The aim of Work For Climate is to help businesses achieve their climate and sustainability goals faster, by providing key employees with the tools to drive these initiatives.

Work For Climate is designed to help professionals drive climate initiatives within their organisation. These professionals are committed to climate action but need the tools to help them bring the companies they work for with them and move the needle a lot quicker.

DEVELOPING CLIMATE PLAYBOOKS

Work for Climate provides these professionals with playbooks and follow-the-steps guides to get the company to shift. 

Lucy Piper, a director of Work for Climate said the organisation had created the playbooks by talking to professionals inside corporations who have already driven these changes successfully.

“We’ve tried essentially to codify it into a playbook because I think one of the things that happens with any business that goes out on a limb and tries to make these progressive changes is that it’s like the first time it’s ever been done,” Ms Piper told Talking Business.

“There’s not really yet a great deal of sharing between different industries and different corporations on how to achieve these different climate goals. So we’re trying to help employees learn from other employees who have successfully led these changes,” Ms Piper said.

“What we’re trying to do is find one or two really motivated energised professionals inside an organisation and help them find out the data they need to build the business case – who will be the appropriate sponsor for the business case at the C-suite level – and getting a couple of people working with them on it.

“It’s not necessarily about building large numbers, it’s about being very strategic and purposeful in how you build a business case to drive an initiative.”

GUIDE TO FOSSIL FUELS TRANSITION

Work For Climate’s mission is to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels by guiding employees and businesses to commit to climate goals across four categories: energy, emissions, money and lobbying.

Ms Piper said lobbying has a special place.

“Lobbying can be as simple as an employee or several employees approaching their corporation with their business case or their pitch for example and saying: ‘We need to use our name and our brand and we need to be making a public pledge, or we need to be using our memberships of councils and organisations to be able to really lobby for progressive climate policy where possible,” she said.

The ultimate goal is to create momentum for corporations to become more climate friendly.

“The more organisations get on board, it becomes a competitive piece. If your competitors are coming out and making big statements and advocating for progressive climate policy, then you’re going to be a laggard if you’re not going to be meeting that standard.”

Ms Piper said businesses will have to get on board.

“Every business needs to move to a zero emissions renewable economy,” she said. “It is happening. It will become regulated and legislated at a certain point in time so if businesses aren’t moving now, they are going to find themselves playing catch up down the track.

“What we’re trying to do at Work For Climate is help businesses move faster, using employee action and employee engagement as the vehicle and as the way to facilitate that change.”

Ms Piper said a lot of businesses were making commitments to net zero emissions but had no idea how they were going to achieve that, when there actually were a lot of people inside those organisations that could help them figure it out.

www.workforclimate.org

www.leongettler.com 

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness

 

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THE Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement that they will ban single-use plastics, heralding it as "good news for the seabirds, turtles and whales that are being killed by ocean plastic".

Under the NSW plan, lightweight plastic shopping bags will be banned within six months of laws passing. Currently, NSW is the only state without a ban on plastic bags, considered one of the most lethal plastics for ocean wildlife.

After 12 months, plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, expanded polystyrene food service items, plastic cotton bud sticks, and microbeads in cosmetics will also be banned in NSW. With laws expected to pass this year, the full ban would be in effect by the end of 2022.

AMCS plastics campaign manager Shane Cucow said while the NSW ban did not match Queensland in banning disposable plastic plates and bowls, the NSW Government has flagged these for later consideration alongside heavyweight bags, fruit and vegetable barrier bags, plastic cups, PVC fruit stickers, and oxo-degradable plastics. 

Alongside the ban, the NSW Government announced $10 million to help manufacturers and retailers move to more sustainable alternatives, $5 million towards pilot projects reducing hard to address plastics such as medical waste, and $2 million for research.

Mr Cucow welcomed the commitments as a circuit breaker in national efforts to save wildlife from plastic pollution.

“As the state with the largest plastic footprint, today’s commitments would deliver a massive reduction in the flow of dangerous plastics into Australia’s oceans, “ Mr Cucow said. 

“We congratulate the NSW Government for listening to ocean lovers across the state who have been demanding action to save threatened seabirds, whales and turtles. With safe, earth friendly alternatives available, it is time to put our wildlife first.

“Soft plastic bags and plastic straws are some of the most notorious killers of wildlife, causing life threatening blockages or internal injuries when eaten. By including cotton buds and microbeads, the NSW government has raised the bar for other states and territories in Australia.

“Together with vital funding for manufacturers and businesses to transition away from plastic, and critical funding for research into the threat of microplastics, this is one of the most comprehensive plans to fight plastic in Australia.”

Mr Cucow said eyes were now on Tasmania and the Northern Territory, the only states and territories without a plan to ban problem single-use plastics.

“Every day we wait, we lose more animals to the scourge of plastic pollution,” Mr Cucow said. 

“With every other state moving to ban notorious plastics like straws, cutlery and polystyrene, it’s time for Tasmania and the Northern Territory to act.”

Comparison of state and territory commitments

Statistics provided by AMCS

Beaches like Dee Why and Watsons Bay in NSW are known as plastic pollution hotspots with levels of plastic as high as 1,000 microplastics per square metre. Source: AUSMAP Hotspot Map

Estimates suggest half of all seabirds and turtles have plastic in their stomachs. (Source: University of Queensland International Study)

New South Wales was responsible for consumption of 321,000 tonnes of plastic packaging in 2018-19, 32.1% of the Australian total. Only 19% was recovered. (Source: APCO

National commitments

Australia’s National Packaging Targets set a goal to phase out problematic single-use plastics by 2025. 

At a meeting of Federal, State and Territory Environment Ministers on April 15, 2021, Ministers identified eight ‘problematic and unnecessary’ plastic product types for industry to phase out nationally by 2025 (or sooner in some cases) under the National Waste Policy Action Plan, although this is understood to be a voluntary target. These are lightweight plastic bags; plastic products misleadingly termed as ‘degradable’; plastic straws; plastic utensils and stirrers; expanded polystyrene (EPS) consumer food containers (e.g. cups and clamshells); EPS consumer goods packaging (loose fill and moulded); and microbeads in personal health care products. Details here.

Laws passed in SA, QLD and the ACT

South Australia’s ban on single-use plastics commenced on March 1, 2021, banning plastic cutlery, straws and drink stirrers. Polystyrene food and beverage containers will be banned from March 1, 2022. Details here.

The Australian Capital Territory’s ban on single-use plastics will commence on July 1, 2021. Their ban will outlaw single-use plastic cutlery, drink stirrers and polystyrene food and beverage containers. The government has indicated plastic straws and plastic fruit and vegetable barrier bags will be added to the ban from July 1, 2022. Details here.

Queensland’s ban will commence on September 1, 2021. The ban will outlaw plastic straws, drink stirrers, cutlery, polystyrene food and beverage containers, and single-use plastic plates and bowls. Details here.

Other state commitments (not yet legislated)

The WA Government has committed to phase out single-use plastic plates, straws, cutlery, drink stirrers, heavyweight plastic bags, polystyrene food containers and helium balloon releases by 2023. Details here.

The Victorian Government recently announced it would move to ban single use plastics by February 2023, including single-use plastic straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, polystyrene food and drink containers, and plastic cotton bud sticks. 

Tasmania and the Northern Territory have made no commitments, yet, to ban single-use plastics.

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WILDLIFE QUEENSLAND is running a series of free events until June 20 aimed at engaging and educating Logan residents and the broader community about the vulnerable greater glider.

The series, which is being delivered by Logan City Council and hosted by Wildlife Queensland’s Queensland Glider Network, includes three workshops and two nocturnal animal spotlighting events in the Logan region. A greater glider Zoom webinar will also be held on June 16.

Greater gliders are Australia’s largest gliding mammals and are among Logan’s most secretive and little-seen native species. These fluffy-eared, hollow-dwelling marsupials resemble their ringtail possum relatives but have a membrane, called a patagium, stretching from the wrist to the elbow, enabling them to glide up to 100m between trees.

The greater glider's size, slow movement, need for large tree hollows, and specialised diet of gum leaves, places these nationally vulnerable marsupials at risk from habitat loss, climate change and bushfires.

Wildlife Queensland projects manager Matt Cecil said the greater glider event series would provide a fascinating insight into this vulnerable gliding marsupial and the main risks to greater gliders in Logan. 

“We encourage all Logan residents with an interest in local wildlife to come along to these fantastic free events and learn about this amazing mammal and how you can help protect and conserve them,” Mr Cecil said.

“Wildlife Queensland and the Queensland Glider Network are proud to be shining a light on greater glider conservation and awareness in the Logan area. This animal needs all the help we can provide to ensure its survival in the long term.”

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Event / LinkDate / TimeLocation
Greater Glider Workshop Saturday, 29 May 3pm– 5pm                                  Underwood Park Hall, Priestdale, QLD
Nocturnal Animal Spotlighting with Wildlife Queensland (SOLD OUT) Friday, 11 June
6pm– 9pm
                                 City of Logan, QLD
                                 Location information will be sent on registration.
Greater Glider Workshop Saturday, 12 June
3pm–5pm
                                 Chambers Flat Community Hall, Chambers Flat and Logan                                          Reserve, 49-65 Kenny Road, Chambers Flat, QLD
Greater Gliders Webinar Wed, 16 June
10:30-11:30am
                                 Online – Zoom
Nocturnal Animal Spotlighting with Wildlife Queensland (SOLD OUT) Friday, 18 June
6pm-9pm
                                City of Logan, QLD
                                Location information will be sent on registration.

 

Greater Glider and Nest Box Building Workshop

Sat, 19 June
12pm –5pm
                                Greenbank Community Centre, Greenbank, QLD

THREATENED species will benefit from a new national strategy released by Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley today, if backed by further resources and a strong package of legislative reform, according to the Humane Society International (HSI).

Welcoming the 10-year strategy, conservation organisation HSI qualified its response by warning the Threatened Species Strategy would only succeed if it was accompanied by “robust laws to support its goals”.

“The strategy is a good road map to improve the recovery trajectory for threatened species and the places they live in,” HIS head of campaigns, Nicola Beynon said. 

“HSI welcomes the broadening of the strategy to focus beyond a small number of species to include their habitats and importantly also the drivers of their decline.

“While the strategy itself is a definite improvement, addressing Australia’s growing extinction crisis is going to require a substantial increase in investment in species recovery and a stronger set of laws to get the job done.

“We are very pleased to see the addition of a broader range of taxonomic groups to the new strategy, including marine species, and agree with the criteria that will be used to prioritise species.”

HSI is responsible for nominating 74 threatened fauna species listed in Australia with more nominations pending assessment.

HSI is also heavily involved in the reform of Australia’s national laws which protect threatened species and ecological communities. 

“It is concerning that amendments to our national environment legislation before parliament will undermine this strategy if states and territories are given too much leeway to approve impacts on threatened species,” Ms Beynon said.

“These bills must be rejected in favour of stronger laws and standards that would bolster and support the government’s ambition and goals in the Threatened Species Strategy.”

www.hsi.org

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THE Joint Standing Committee on Treaties yesterday tabled Report 194, which considers amendments to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The amendments considered in the report include ten Australian native species and four non-native species Australia trades in.

"The committee supports the amendments," committee chair Dave Sharma MP said. "But the time frame in which amendments come into force means there is usually insufficient or no time for the committee to undertake an inquiry."

Report 194 recommends the Federal Government change its process for referring CITES amendments to the committee to ensure the committee can complete an inquiry before the amendments come into force. 

Report 194 also includes the committee’s views on an agreement to amend the one between Australia and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway on 'mutual recognition' in relation to Conformity Assessment, Certificates and Markings.

Mutual recognition agreements of this type allow importers to rely on assessments of products made by appropriate bodies in the country of origin for import purposes. The agreement will align the mutual recognition arrangements with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway with Australia’s existing agreement with the EU.

The committee has recommended the ratification of the agreement amending the Mutual Recognition Agreement with Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

CITES protects endangered species by regulating international trade in those species and the products derived from them. Amendments to the list of protected species covered by CITES are regularly proposed and adopted.

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