The last two weeks have been that of development, growth and change for me professionally. I had my last day at Climate Friendly, a firm I spent 2 years and 8 months and enjoyed overall. After a short holiday to Bali, I commenced a new role with the Sustainability Advantage program of the New South Wales State Government. This short article closes off my Climate Friendly experience with a summary of what I am proud of achieving with the team. It also gives a glimpse of my next challenge: Sustainability Advantage.
I joined Climate Friendly at an interesting time. The company was in the midst of significant diversification and change: no longer just the GreenPower, carbon offsets and carbon neutrality, but also Australian carbon project development, international renewable energy solutions and on-site energy and efficiency. It has enjoyed good success since I joined and is positioning itself very well for sustainable growth. Growth for Climate Friendly is important to clarify: as a profit for purpose business it is as much about the number of tonnes prevented as it is the revenue through the door.
I am proud of the role I had to play in that. I have already written about my achievements from my first year, and had intended to write another. So a quick summary of my overall achievements. Focused on managing clients in carbon and energy, my work with over 100 clients prevented over 340,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas equivalent emissions from entering the atmosphere. Highlights included expanding and revitalising the Hilton Worldwide Clean Air Program, expanding Challenger Financial’s commitment to carbon to complete neutrality across the international business, working with Fuji Xerox Australia on growing sales through low/no carbon products and solutions, the Super Animals Collectables campaign with Taronga Conservation Society of Australia and Woolworths, and a carbon neutral Vivid Live 2015. I developed expertise in the finance, insurance and banking sectors; travel, tourism, hospitality and events, social environmental sector (both for- and not-for- profit organisations).
The Climate Friendly perspective on carbon offsetting is that carbon is a currency for broader sustainable development, because the projects from which offsets are produced have significant benefits beyond carbon. This was covered in a detailed research piece last year by Imperial College London, which I blogged about here. In my carbon offset work, I secured significant investment for the Hyundai Cogeneration Project in South Korea, Honiton Wind Farm in China and Australia’s Tasmanian Native Forest Protection Project.
Within Climate Friendly I ran two offside strategy sessions for the company to really challenge the business towards process improvements and efficiencies, and ponder the transformational game-changing opportunities. One of the latter was a mobile app which I pitched to management and received budget to develop. I will not talk further about, but it has the potential to change the way people buy carbon offsets around the world. I cannot wait for it to come out! I was able to advance thought leadership by publishing articles on the Renewable Energy Target, investment carbon risks, and hopefully another coming out soon on GreenPower. I presented at events/conferences on healthy liveable cities, responsible travel and tertiary sector investment carbon risks. I also led the company’s internal sustainability committee and had it certified as a B-Corporation, which landed us in the top 10 in Australia.
A massive thank you to current and former colleagues (in alphabetical order): Alex, Alexander, Ally, Ana, Angel, Aude, Carola, Claire, Elsa, Fabian, Freddy, Freia, Geoff, James, Jeffrey, Joel, Josh, Justin, Lina, Liz, Luke, Marty, Nigel, Rebecca, Rob, Ron, Sally, Sara and Wayne. I found the culture of the company to be positive, welcoming, driven and fun. A culture held together by like-minded people passionate about taking responsibility for the global climate change issue. I appreciated that work was kept focused and people were respectful of each others time. The celebration of success was motivating and frequent, from the CEO pep-talks to the maracas shaken for every big win. And the parties. I introduced Climate Friendly to karaoke and can easily say it left great memories for all that attended. Lunch conversations about our personal lives, histories and even our challenges enabled me to build relationships beyond the professional. I love the company’s culture.
I am absolutely delighted to move to the Sustainability Advantage team of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. My role is essentially to help organisations which have sustainability projects in mind but need capacity building and support to make that happen. It’s kind of a dream job! Capacity building means access to experts, financial support, coaching and advisory, networking and learning opportunities, and benchmarking via a recognition program. I already know that I will focus on the legal and property/infrastructure sectors with two super projects I will share in due course. I look forward to talking with you all about it!