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Business Sustainability Professionals Share Industry Best Practices at National Conference

Business Sustainability Professionals Share Industry Best Practices at National Conference
Written by Jennifer Nini

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.”

Related Post: 14 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Climate Change, Global Warming and the Environment

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.

Australian Sustainability Professionals Agree That Climate Change Ignorance Is No Longer Bliss - Tony Roberts at National Sustainability in Business Conference

Tony Roberts, Deputy Director-General of Environmental Policy and Planning at the 2018 National Sustainability in Business Conference.

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.

What are your thoughts on corporate sustainability policies? Do you feel local, state and federal governments are doing enough to mitigate climate change? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

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.

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About the author

Jennifer Nini

Jennifer Nini is a writer, activist and the founding editor of Eco Warrior Princess. In 2010, after studying Fashion Business, she launched Eco Warrior Princess to explore her interests in fashion, politics, social justice and sustainability. Jennifer is also the founder of The Social Copywriter, a digital agency harnessing the power of copywriting and content marketing to help mindful businesses reach more people. When she's not perfecting a sentence or coaching business clients, you will find her at her certified organic farm reconnecting with nature.


  • Tony Roberts said it all… “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… “ I’m skeptical. More often than not a lot of this is more a marketing ploy than making real change

    And then he goes on to say “We know on the global level, sustainability is not just a nice to have, it’s a must-have.” Mmm… I haven’t seen the Government make too many tough decisions on the environment lately. Coal mines, Great Barrier Reef come to mind.

    Can any of this be taken seriously?

    • Indeed – words are cheap. Let’s judge on action… or inaction in this case.

      For those of us who walk the talk and listen in, the natural default position is skepticism.

      It’s always interesting to listen to people’s career stories and their viewpoints. So many people with good intentions who’ve studied environmental science and other similar branches of study. Making choices about what kind of work to take on and some crossing over to the “dark side” and working for corporations etc (in quotations because someone at the conference actually used that term while we were in conversation ha!) Some people feel they’re able to make positive changes within these systems. It’s hard though – no matter the intentions, decisions don’t rest on one person and money has too loud a say in these important discussions. Plus, the system has a way of spitting people out if it doesn’t toe the party or company line.

      Will be watching with bated breath…

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