Brisbane, Australia: Australian industry professionals from a wide range of sectors and disciplines converged in Brisbane for the 2018 National Sustainability in Business Conference, a two-day event filled with informative talks by thought leaders and experts covering the latest industry trends, policies and best sustainable practices.
The sustainability event kicked-off with an opening address from Tony Roberts, Deputy Director-General of Environmental Policy and Planning in the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. “In the business world, sustainability is increasingly viewed as a positive opportunity with a potential to realise new markets and increase profits through competitive advantage and increasingly, purchasing choices of consumers are influenced by sustainability considerations,” he declared. “We know on the global level, sustainability is not just a nice to have, it’s a must-have.”
Since the historic Paris Agreement ratified by 196 countries committing to limit global warming to between 1.5 and two degrees Celsius, the pace of positive momentum has increased as the private and public sectors begin to mobilise in the sustainable direction. Last year, when financial services regulator Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) made it explicitly clear to company directors that climate risks present an immediate threat to financial profitability, it confirmed what most of us already knew: sustainability and climate change are inextricably linked, and it’s these two forces that are increasingly shaping global markets, economic trends and consumer behaviours. It’s a truly foolish business to dismiss climate risks in this day and age.
Over a hundred of Australia’s sustainability thought leaders attended the conference, providing insights on how they’re helping to steer their organisations towards a sustainable path. Local and state governments such as the Byron Shire Council, Victorian and Queensland State Governments shared their plans for mobilising their economies to zero net emissions and multinational companies such as Veolia and IKEA revealed how their businesses are incorporating recycled materials into their products and services.
“Each year approximately one hundred billion PET bottles are consumed worldwide and this number only reflects bottled water. Add soft drinks to the picture and the number is much higher. And what happens to all those bottles? Approximately 30 percent are recycled as materials for new products while 70 billion bottles become waste or discarded directly into the sea or even in the landfills we have around the world.” – Dr Kate Ringvall, Sustainability Manager IKEA Australia in her talk, “Living ‘Lagom’ – A Simple and Considered Approach to Sustainability.”
Listening to conference speakers covering an array of relevant topics, from sustainable packaging through to fostering organisational citizenship behaviour, carbon neutrality through to transitioning to a circular economy, there’s cause for much optimism. But we also know talk is relatively cheap and well-intentioned sustainability consultants will still need to do the arduous work of convincing others within their organisations to implement sustainability action. So to talk is one thing; to take meaningful action is quite another. We at Eco Warrior Princess will be watching closely to see how many of them walk their talk.
We will be publishing a series of in-depth informative articles about the topics covered at the National Sustainability in Business conference. To be notified, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter here.
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Disclosure: Eco Warrior Princess proudly partnered with the Association of Sustainability in Business to cover this event. All opinions are that of the writer’s. All opinions are honest and free of commercial bias or influence. For more information, click here.