27 May 2020
Australia’s business voice on sustainable development unifies to contribute to national policy
As the business world grapples with consumer and investor expectations that products and profit don’t come at the expense of people and environment, the voice of for-purpose business is set to get louder. In a sector that has had multiple advocacy voices, the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia (BCSD Australia) is set to strengthen its position with the research and advocacy work of the Future Business Council (FBC). The FBC is closing and BCSD Australia will become home to the FBC alumni network and contacts. FBC is transferring its intellectual property to BCSD Australia. The Chair of FBC will also join the BCSD Australia Board. “FBC’s decision seeks to unify the voices for progressive, forward-looking business in Australia, which is best achieved by supporting BCSD Australia’s mission: to accelerate the transition to a sustainable Australia by making more sustainable companies successful. FBC’s considerable collateral will be carried forward by BCSD Australia,” said outgoing FBC Chair, Toby Kent. “BCSD Australia shares our commitment to driving business engagement and action for a better Australia. Its expansive member-led activities across the climate change and energy, biodiversity, people and cities and mobility agendas come at a pivotal moment for policy development, economic transformation, and public expectations of the role of business in Australia,” said Mr Kent. “We are delighted that we can pass on our legacy to an organisation with such a strong focus on societal, environmental, governance and economic leadership.” Dr John Hewson, Chair of the BCSD Australia, said FBC had been instrumental in “making climate change a central focus in boardrooms across the nation with the fiduciary duties and climate change legal opinion, as well as providing a representative voice for Australia’s future-focussed business leaders”. “This aligns with BCSD Australia’s business-leading Climate Action Statement in 2019 where its members committed to drive the necessary structural transformation needed to ensure emissions reach net zero in a timeframe supporting achievement of the Paris Agreement goals of limiting temperature rise to well below 2°C and preferably below 1.5°C,” said Dr Hewson. “As we emerge from this COVID-19 environment, the time is ripe to amplify the voice of for-purpose business and develop a policy, regulatory and fiscal environment that meets the changing expectations of our investor and the broader Australian community,” Dr Hewson said. “BCSD Australia will use this opportunity to set up a new dedicated program that drives the FBC work previously done under the Next Boom Agenda and the climate related financial disclosures.” Tom Quinn, Founder and inaugural Chair of FBC, made special thanks to the supporters who contributed to FBC work over its six-year life. “We founded the FBC to provide a voice for companies leading the transformation to a smarter, zero carbon future in Australia. That voice is needed more than ever today and I’m confident that the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia is well positioned to take FBC’s legacy and our members interests forward. I would thank all - our members, our donors, our partners, our Board and our staff, past and present - who contributed to our work in so many different ways over the past six years. We are proud of our impact and our legacy.” BCSD Australia will take custodianship of the FBC intellectual property, including its website and social media platforms by 1 July 2020. FBC Members are able to contact CEO of BCSD Australia, Andrew Petersen, to discuss new membership arrangements, if interested.