We are in the midst of a transformational decade and one that will be defined by the world’s ability to transition to a net zero emissions economy.

Climate mandates from governments, voters and consumers are clear – we now live in a world where net zero is the new normal.

Businesses are paying attention and are working to turn climate commitments into climate action.

But integrating climate knowledge and decarbonisation strategies into business plans will require more climate knowledge, and the skills to apply it, at all organisational levels.

At Climateworks Centre, we view this capacity building as an essential part of the broader transition to net zero.

With a better understanding of climate impacts and the solutions that already exist to address them, businesses can make evidence-based decisions related to climate change risks and opportunities.

Capacity building for the finance sector

We are engaging deeply with this work already. For the first half of this year, Climateworks and Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI) worked with Australian bank and financial services provider Westpac, delivering environmental, social and governance (ESG) training to 800 employees.

Westpac, which works across all sectors of the Australian economy, seeks to guide their customers as the economy transitions toward net zero emissions.

Drawing from Climateworks and MSDI analysis and expertise, the training was designed to equip Westpac employees with the language and knowledge to support customers on increasingly prevalent ESG issues.

Demand for ESG training, particularly around climate, is on the rise – in step with expectations from investors, customers and regulators. Climateworks analysis of solutions and pathways for emissions reduction is finding its place within the corporate sector.

Most recently, Climateworks and MSDI are collaborating with KPMG Australia to provide specialist climate and decarbonisation input for the environmental component of ‘KPMG ESG Learning Pathways.’

The solution, announced this week, aims at driving large-scale change that will enable organisations to bring their climate commitments to life.

‘Now is the time for all businesses to have net zero emissions plans,’ said Climateworks Centre CEO Anna Skarbek.

‘This program will provide access to the latest in strategy and implementation advice, and to the climate science that underpins best practice.’

Business executives leading by example

Climateworks also engages directly with other business leaders who are committed to learn about climate change, to understand the risk it poses and to act on solutions.

As a solutions broker between climate research and action, Climateworks is uniquely positioned to provide these leaders with the tools they need to take action backed by the latest science and data.

For the second time, we are collaborating with MSDI on a two-day course at Monash Business School that will provide practical sessions for these forward-thinking leaders and executives wanting to position their companies to avoid climate risks and make the most of climate opportunities.

The course – featuring Climateworks CEO Anna Skarbek, Wei Sue and Holly Dillabough from our Sustainable Corporates team and Dirk Visser from MSDI – teaches senior decision makers how to move beyond short-term pressures, policy uncertainty and organisational barriers to successfully integrate climate change into business strategy.

‘With net zero targets normalising, companies are shifting attention to operationalising these commitments,’ said Holly Dillabough, a project manager on our Sustainable Corporates team and a chief examiner within Monash Business School.

‘This is where programs like ours come in, supporting corporates in strategically integrating climate into business strategy.’

Australian businesses are at the intersection of climate change’s political, environmental, regulatory and economic impacts. So we are equipping today’s leaders with insights that will help them successfully navigate this complex landscape.

We are also providing the next generation the skills they will need to contribute in a marketplace that is aligned to net zero. For these students at Monash Business School, we offer the postgraduate unit Climate change and carbon management strategies.

‘The unit has been in high demand from Monash students since 2016 and offers practical skills for responding to climate change in a corporate context,’ said Holly, the course’s chief examiner.

‘Students learn about the way businesses can and must respond to climate change through risk mitigation and carbon-reduction strategies.’

Driving self-sustaining change towards a net zero future

Climateworks is pursuing systems level change to accelerate the pace at which Australia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific transition to net zero emissions.

Our work educating business executives, leaders, managers and students will create self-sustaining change within the economy, where businesses are empowered to overcome the challenges of transition and drive systemic change.

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