2013 Climate Alliance National Conference - Summary


Tony Kelly, Managing Director, Yarra Valley Water

Topic: The strength of our economy and the well-being of our community are dependent on the health of the environment. Right?

Mr Tony Kelly, Managing Director of Yarra Valley Water spoke about a number of projects being undertaken by YVW that have had a dramatic impact on energy and water usage. YVW has had considerable success at engaging with its customers and suppliers to reduce water consumption and improve the quality of water being discharged into Melbourne's waterways.

Mr Kelly talked about the observations of a number of knowledgeable people and summed up that part of the presentation with:

The current environment has created us and sustains us. And if we bugger the environment we bugger ourselves. If we want to sustain our standards of living we need to look after the environment. 


Tony, a civil engineer, has spent over 30 years in the water industry with extensive experience in planning, design and construction roles as well as key roles in strategic planning.  As a strategic planner he has been involved in major utility reforms including water authority mergers, corporatisation, pricing, and contracting out.  Since joining Yarra Valley Water Ltd at its inception in 1995, Tony has held four General Manager positions covering engineering, billing, marketing and business strategy.  Tony was appointed Managing Director of Yarra Valley Water in January 2003. Tony is Chair of Savewater Alliance, a not for profit alliance promoting water conservation, and is also a Director of the Smart Water Research & Development Fund.

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Nathan Fabian, Chief Executive of the Investor Group on Climate Change

Topic: Unburnable Carbon - the challenge facing fossil fuel companies

Mr Nathan Fabian, Chief Executive of the Investor Group on Climate Change. Nathan talked about the issue of unburnable carbon and the risk this issue presents to investors in fossil fuel companies.

 Standard & Poor’s has raised concerns about the asset valuations of fossil fuel companies. The assets of coal, oil and gas companies may be overvalued because these companies may not be able to sell their products, said Nathan Fabian, CEO of the Investors Group on Climate Change.

If serious climate change is to be avoided, a large percentage of the fossil fuel reserves will not be available for burning because of their greenhouse gas emissions. This limitation could have a substantial impact on the future valuations of these companies' share prices, Mr Fabian said.

Useful references:


Nathan Fabian is the Chief Executive of the Investor Group on Climate Change Australia/New Zealand, an association of institutional investors managing $900bn in assets. He previously headed Environmental Social and Governance Research for Regnan, an investment research and corporate engagement company. In other former roles he was: Corporate Governance and Responsibility policy advisor to Senator Penny Wong; founding partner of Full Corp Partners, a financial services and IT start-up company advisory firm; an organisational change consultant with Arthur Andersen; and, a market analyst for IT sector. 

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Alison Rowe, Global Executive Director Sustainability, Fujitsu Limited

Topic: The Business Case for Sustainability

Fujitsu has been taking a sustainable approach to business since 1938, Alison Rowe, the group's director of sustainability informed the audience. She said the company has had an excellent track record of helping its customers improve the efficiency of their operations and reduce their carbon footprint. Ms Rowe said the company had a dual focus on growth and efficiency and place particular focus on the entire value chain.


Alison established the sustainability consulting practice for Fujitsu now operating globally, and leads the global team across the entire organisation.  Alison has over twenty years’ experience in a range of industries including technology, transport, telecommunications and government.  Alison has an MBA from Melbourne Business School, a Graduate Diploma in Technology Management from University College Dublin and is an alumnus of the University. 

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David Shelmerdine, Company Director

Topic: The role of the Gold Standard

The Gold Standard has emerged as the standard of choice for many of the investors for projects in the voluntary carbon market. The rigor of the standard has resulted in the carbon price achieving a considerable premium over prices for projects that have been implemented to less stringent standards, according to Mr David Shelmerdine, director of the Geneva based Gold standard.

He said the Gold Standard focuses on outcomes - rather than intentions. Their thorough approach to verifying projects has resulted in many sectors adopting the Gold Standard as their preferred method of verifying the efficacy of projects. The trust that investors have in the Gold Standard is a critical ingredient and one of the main reasons for its success.


Mr Shelmerdine is a director of Geneva based Gold Standard Foundation and past Deputy Chairman of The Myer Family Company Holdings Pty Ltd, a member of its investment committee, remuneration and nominations committee and Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee.  In addition, David is a founding director and deputy chairman of ClimateWorks Australia, a director of Australian Desert Expeditions and is Convenor of the Sustainability and the Environment Funding Program for the Sidney Myer Fund and The Myer Foundation.  He has been involved in several significant philanthropic initiatives with the Foundation and the Fund over the past ten years.

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Simon Holmes a Court, Chairman, Hepburn Wind

Topic: The outlook for community energy in Australia

The successful methods employed by Hepburn Wind will be applied to other renewable energy projects around Australia, Simon Holmes a Court said at the conference. A new entity, Embark, (www.embark.com.au) helps communities navigate the process of getting the permits and creating the business cases for the construction of medium scale renewable energy projects.

Mr Holmes a Court highlighted the opportunities for renewable energy around Australia and was confident that Solar and wind in particular, would be used increasingly to generate power.


Simon has degrees in Cognitive and Computer Science and Applied Finance and Investment. He has a broad range of engineering and commercial experience, ranging from ‘dot com’ businesses in Silicon Valley to remote cattle stations in the Northern Territory and a life-long interest in energy. Simon is the chairman and co-founder of Melbourne based Observant, which designs and manufactures infrastructure management solutions with a focus on water efficiency. He has previously been director of Heytesbury, one of Australia’s largest private companies. In 2007 Simon was elected as the Founding Chairman of Hepburn Wind, where he oversaw the community engagement, capital raising and construction phases of Australia’s first community-owned wind farm.  In 2010 Simon founded Embark, a non-profit organisation that is helping to build the community renewable energy sector in Australia. He is also the inaugural chair of the Advisory Board of the Melbourne Energy Institute.

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