Climate Alliance Leadership Awards 2015

For the fifth year, Climate Alliance has recognised Australian business executives and companies that have demonstrated leadership in the area of managing the opportunities and risks presented by climate change. There are many business leaders in Australia that are taking effective action and Climate Alliance believes it is very important to recognise their efforts.

The awards highlight the work of those companies and individuals who go above and beyond the ‘business as usual’ approach by putting effort into new approaches and demonstrating real leadership.  Previous winners are the board of the National Australia Bank, AGL, Fujitsu and many other leading companies in Australia.  

Ms Tara Allsop, Chair of the Board of Advisors, announced the winners of the Leadership Awards at the annual Climate Alliance National Conference, held in Melbourne on 3 September, 2015.

Climate Alliance received many excellent nominations. The Board of Advisors had considerable difficulty deciding on the winners.

Climate Alliance announced that the Board Leadership of the Year Award was won by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The award is sponsored by AGL.

The board of this start-up financial corporation could best be described as having an ‘active’ board – meeting 23 times in their first 12 months of operation! In its 3 years of operation, CEFC has helped accelerate $3.5 billion in total investment towards a competitive clean energy economy. It is worth noting that direct investments by the CEFC catalyses further investment. With every $1.00 CEFC invests, the private sector matches it with $1.80. In the past 12 months, the CEFC has invested over $500m in new initiatives – roughly half of this in renewable energy and the other half in energy efficiency.

Ms Anna Skarbek, a director of the CEFC, accepted the award from Cameron Reid of AGL.

The winner of the Company Secretary of the Year award went to Alan Evans, Company Secretary of Hydro Tasmania. The award is sponsored by the National Australia Bank.

Alan is a 10-year contributor to Hydro Tasmania’s 100 years of renewable energy and passionate about driving practical actions to address climate change. Alan also serves as the Chairman of Hydro’s South-African JV, Kakamas Hydro Electric Power. He has been active and instrumental in developing Hydro Tasmania’s King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project, which was a pilot to reduce reliance on diesel generation in remote areas by combining wind, solar and storage. This initiative won the 2014 Innovation Award from the Energy Supply Association of Australia.

Ms Michaela Healey, Group Executive People Communications & Governance at National Australia Bank presented the award on behalf of the bank. 

The winner of this year's Innovator of the Year Award was Ergon Energy. AJ Bush & Sons sponsored the award.

Ergon is a major electricity supplier in the Queensland market. By continually developing innovative services and being a market leader, Ergon epitomises the essence of leadership. It has undertaken a number of projects to test new and innovative technologies to prepare the company for the anticipated technological changes coming to the electricity supply industry.

The award was received by Julie Heath, Community Strategy Advisor for Ergon Energy.

Due to the high quality nominations for the Business Leader category, Climate Alliance specially recognised two individuals for their work.

A Special Recognition award went to Simon Corbell, Deputy Chief Minister of the ACT. By taking aggressive action to reduce the emissions of the ACT and to set a 90% renewable energy target (by 2020), Mr Corbell has demonstrated that ambitious targets are achievable and financially viable.

The award was sponsored by Karstens Conference Centres and Dr John Hewson presented the award to Mr Simon Corbell.

The second Special Recognition Award went to Mr James Thier. Mr Thier has a long history of starting initiatives that address environmental, social and ethical investment issues. He founded Australian Ethical Investment and more recently helped establish Future Super. Mr Thier provided expert advice and support to the ANU Council when they decided to divest from fossil fuel company shares in October 2014.

The award was sponsored by Ashurst and Ben Scheltus presented the award to Mr Thier.

The winner of the Business Leader of the Year award was Mr Paul Edwards, Group General Manager, Sustainability & HSE at Mirvac.

Mirvac operates in a market that already achieves very high sustainability standards. To perform above this already high standard demonstrates exceptional leadership skills. In 2014, Paul launched a next generation sustainability plan entitled “This Changes Everything” with bold and courageous goals, including commitments for Mirvac to be ‘Net Positive’ in energy and water by 2030.

Since its launch, the new strategy has had considerable success, including alignment of executive performance metrics to sustainability KPI’s. Most notable, Mirvac, with Paul’s championing, is the first company to achieve 5.1 NABERS average for its existing office portfolio.

The award was sponsored by Ashurst and Ben Scheltus presented the award to Mr Edwards.

Press contact: Mr Hendrik Karsten, Chairman, Climate Alliance Limited on 0420 245 680, for further information.