Environment Victoria (EV) and Sustainable Business Australia (SBA) will announce a new and unique collaboration of progressive business leaders called ‘The Future Economy Group’ today at the 2nd Australian Sustainability Conference which is being held in Melbourne.
The Future Economy Group will consist of a team of progressive businesses leaders from key industry sectors who will speak with a shared voice on the importance of a healthy environment to the future of business. Three businesses have become founding members of the group – bankmecu, VicSuper and Pacific Hydro – and more businesses will be invited to join.
The purpose of The Future Economy Group is to quantify the vulnerability of Victoria’s economy to climate change and resource scarcity and to develop and advocate the policies and actions necessary to transition to a strong and sustainable economy which restores natural assets. While the economic analysis will focus on Victoria’s economy, EV and SBA consider the actions will be applicable Australia-wide.
The new group will release its seminal and groundbreaking research and future economy policies in February 2014. The group aims to influence economic policy positively across Victoria and Australia over the next 12months.
Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said it was time to focus on sustainable uses of limited natural assets.
“Every business and every job depends on nature, but for decades we’ve used natural assets unsustainably and pumped too much waste into the atmosphere, culminating in the mega-trends of climate change and resource scarcity,” she said.
“These are typically viewed as environmental problems but they pose a significant economic liability and uncertainty for business and jobs.
“Fixing nature’s decaying infrastructure is essential for any kind of long-term future for businesses and our economy.”
Sustainable Business Australia CEO Andrew Petersen said that now was the time for businesses to develop commercially viable solutions to ensure business sustainability into the future.
“Changes to our environment pose both great risk and great opportunity to business in Australia. Now is the time to develop the blueprint to move from lagging to being a leader with the world’s most resource efficient, enterprising and low-carbon intensive economy.
“Climate change and resource scarcity are key business drivers of the 21st century. The economies that develop and commercialise solutions to these problems and align environmental and economic outcomes will be rewarded by investors, business and communities throughout the 21st century,” Mr Petersen said.
The leaders of participating businesses VicSuper, bankmecu and Pacific Hydro say it is necessary to work together on new strategies that will produce essential outcomes for a new business agenda.
VicSuper CEO Michael Dundon said “Our industries and businesses are vulnerable to economic disruption if we don’t take care of our natural assets. Luckily it’s not a choice we have to make because good environmental management will produce economic rewards for businesses and employees”.
bankmecu Managing Director Damien Walsh said “As a customer owned bank we see it as our responsibility to our customers to run a highly sustainable business as well as to show leadership in driving the transformation of our economy.”
Pacific Hydro General Manager Australia Lane Crockett said “Sustainable business practices make sound economic sense and are the only choice for any business seeking relevance and longevity. Undertaking an economic analysis of the current state of Victoria’s environment will provide meaningful insights into how we can best leverage and protect the resources available to us.”
Kelly O’Shanassy saw a potentially positive development in economic thinking through the establishment of The Future Economy Group.
“By bringing together a leadership team of responsible, forward-thinking businesses, we can help create a paradigm shift in economic thinking and transform one of the globe’s more environmentally damaging economies to one that restores nature and returns value to businesses and Australians,” she said.
The Future Economy Group’s work is funded by participating businesses, the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation and the Reichstein Foundation, with support from The Nous Group.
For further information or comment
Kelly O’Shanassy CEO Environment Victoria 0421 054 402
Andrew Petersen CEO Sustainable Business Australia 0412 545 994