Growing concern about climate change has led to the appointment of an Australian-first board to help develop new strategies, partnerships and investment for climate action.

The high-profile group will be chaired by internationally-recognised impact investment expert Rosemary Addis AM. It also includes community leaders such as John Hewson AM, Ann Sherry AO, Anthony McAvoy SC, Helen Szoke AO, Sophia Hamblin Wang and Professor Brendan Mackey.

The board will advise Griffith University’s new Climate Ready Initiative (CRI) as it develops a model that can enable the much-needed partnership, investment and collective action required to prepare Australia for future climate risks and opportunities.

Mrs Addis AM says Australia needs a shared agenda for climate readiness that builds on what we’ve learned through COVID-19 to serve people and their communities, the planet and our economy.

“People and organisations across all sectors in Australia are recognising we have a common interest in just and sustainable climate action,’’ she said.

“Connecting stakeholders across sectors will be critical to unlocking the solutions and investment needed to achieve real impact.”

CRI Executive Director Sam Mackay says the initiative will play a convening role in developing blueprints for climate action.

“Our economic, social and environmental systems are facing unprecedented risk and opportunity, but society is not sufficiently prepared to deal with the widespread changes that lie ahead.

“By supporting the development of climate-ready business cases, pilot projects and upscale projects, the CRI will ensure Australia is prepared.”

The CRI will be hosted by the recently established Griffith Climate Action Beacon, led by Director Professor Brendan Mackey, who will serve as CRI Deputy Chair & Climate Change Adviser.

“All sectors of society are calling for climate action to ensure a sustainable, secure and prosperous future, but as yet there’s no clarity or catalyst for achieving this,’’ Professor Mackey said.

“This is why the Griffith Climate Action Beacon is seeking to establish the CRI, to partner with a broad cross section of society and initiate a strategic, coordinated and just transition to a net-zero emission and climate resilient future.

“Universities have a unique convening power to help progress society on the critical issue of climate action. The CRI will be formally launched in early to mid 2021.”

The diverse CRI board sends a clear signal that there is ample opportunity for leadership from all sectors to shape Australia’s climate resilient future. It brings together societal leaders, including government, banking and tourism executives, leaders in innovation and investment, key climate scientists, health and human rights advocates, law and land rights advocates, policy and political experts and leaders in climate action and sustainability.

“Recent history has shown that it is possible to attract significant private investment for climate action within a stable market,” said John Hewson AM, CRI Sustainable Finance Adviser.

“We know from analysis of an Australian transition that a low-carbon economy could potentially generate benefits that outweigh costs 5 to 1.

“A co-ordinated effort to transition towards a net-zero emissions and climate resilient future is not only paramount, but it makes economic sense as well.”

Mrs Addis AM is optimistic that with the right approach, Australia can be a leader in climate action.

“There is definitely an appetite to build resilience and Australia has much to gain from pursuing ambitious goals on climate action that drive a dynamic and informed market and deliver quality outcomes for communities. We believe CRI can make a significant contribution.”

The announced board members and their focus are as follows:

  • Rosemary Addis AM – Chair & Social Impact Adviser
  • Prof Brendan Mackey – Deputy Chair & Climate Change Adviser
  • John Hewson AM – Sustainable Finance Adviser
  • Ann Sherry AO – Corporate Sustainability Adviser
  • Anthony McAvoy SC – Law & Justice Adviser
  • Helen Szoke AO – Equity & Inclusion Adviser
  • Sophia Hamblin Wang – Innovation & Technology Advisor
  • Sam Mackay – Executive Director

Further information on the CRI and board can be found at:

Top Photo: Board Chair Rosemary Addis presenting on investing for impact

Rosemary Addis AM, internationally-recognised impact investment expert and Chair of the Climate Ready Initiative

Sam Mackay, CRI Executive Director

Professor Brendan Mackey, Director of the Griffith Climate Action Beacon and Deputy Chair & Climate Change Adviser for the CRI.

John Hewson AM, CRI Sustainable Finance Adviser