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The Third Wheel podcast series: ESG in Australia

08 December 2021 | Insight

We explore the topical Environment, Social and Governance issues of the day in Australia. 

Each episode, Partners Timothy Stutt and Melanie Debenham are joined by an expert third wheel guest to explore the issues from their unique perspectives.

Mel is an expert on business-critical environment, planning, heritage and native title regulation in Australia. Tim specialises in ESG from a corporate governance perspective, including market disclosure, risk management and shareholder engagement/activism.

We wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands Mel and Tim are recording from, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation in Perth and the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation in Sydney. We wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this country.


Episode 8 –  Enough is enough with Olga Klimczak, Executive Counsel, Employment, IR and Safety for Herbert Smith Freehills 

In this episode, Mel and Tim are joined by expert third wheel guest, Olga Klimczak, Executive Counsel, Employment, IR and Safety for Herbert Smith Freehills. Olga discusses the various parliamentary inquiries underway including sexual harassment and bullying in Australia’s parliament, sexual harassment against women in WA’s FIFO mining industry and the underpayment and job security inquiries – issues that are sure to come into sharp focus ahead of the federal election. Olga highlights the key areas to watch, and in particular any potential flow on impact for company policies and procedures. Mel also discusses the significant changes to Aboriginal Cultural Heritage management and some critical next steps.

Episode 7 –  It’s not about the money, money, money with Lewis McDonald, Global Head of Energy for Herbert Smith Freehills

In this episode, Tim and Mel are joined by expert third wheel guest, Lewis McDonald, Global Head of Energy for Herbert Smith Freehills. Fresh from presenting at the 12th Annual Sustainable Innovation Forum (SIF) which took place alongside COP26 in Glasgow, Lewis observes the number of zeros committed to net zero, at least $133 trillion as announced by Mark Carney’s Glasgow Financial Alliance. He asserts that the real challenge is creating enough investable net zero projects for the money – through a public / private blend of government support to achieve scale and efficiencies, and the legal mechanisms to make novel projects work.

Episode 6 – Asking the right questions with Brooke Massender, Global Head of Pro Bono for Herbert Smith Freehills

In this episode, Mel and Tim are joined by expert third wheel guest, Brooke Massender, Global Head of Pro Bono for Herbert Smith Freehills. Brooke discusses how ESG could be the roadmap that makes corporate purpose more meaningful - and why ESG is different this time around. Recorded on the cusp of the Australian Reconciliation Convention, she shares her optimism around cultural competency in organisations, and the need for increased representation of First Nations voices where decisions are being made anywhere and everywhere in Australia. Brooke closes with some practical tips for those prepared to move ‘from safe to brave’ – and the importance of asking uncomfortable questions.

Episode 5 – The future is now! Renewable energy in Australia with Dr Cameron Kelly, Australian Renewable Energy Agency

In this episode, Tim and Mel are joined by expert third wheel guest, Dr Cameron Kelly, head of the Legal, Governance and Secretariat team at the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Dr Kelly discusses Australia’s role in the global hydrogen economy, renewable technologies of the not too distant future and the role of micro-grids in delivering not only environmental, but social benefits for regional communities.

Episode 4 – Climate change litigation with Mark Smyth

In this episode, Mel and Tim are joined by expert third wheel guest, Mark Smyth, a partner in our litigation practice advising companies in relation to environmental, climate change and ESG issues, including responding to shareholder activism and defending ESG litigation. Mark shares the litigation themes he is seeing regionally and globally, including regulatory movements on greenwashing and the latest activity in the Federal Court regarding Environment Minister v Sharma case.

Episode 3 – Innovation in Modern Slavery with Human Rights Resources and Energy Collaborative's Shaeron Yapp and Gemma Wilford 

In this episode, Tim and Mel are joined by two representatives from the Human Rights Resources and Energy Collaborative, Shaeron Yapp (South32) and Gemma Wilford (Fortescue Metals), who talk about practical approaches to implementing human rights diligence and remediation in significant global businesses.

Episode 2 – Mandatory ESG due diligence developments in the EU with Herbert Smith Freehills Head of Global Business and Human Rights practice Antony Crockett

In the second episode of our podcast series, Mel and Tim are joined by their expert third wheel guest, Antony Crockett, partner in our Hong Kong office. He leads HSF’s global Business and Human Rights practice and is a member of the firm's ESG leadership group. Antony shares with our hosts what ESG means to him, mandatory ESG due diligence developments in the EU and Human Rights due diligence, along with some practical tips.

Episode 1 – Inaugural episode with ESG insights from Herbert Smith Freehills CEO Justin D’Agostino

In this first episode of our Australian ESG podcast Tim and Mel are joined by their inaugural third wheel, Herbert Smith Freehills CEO, Justin D’Agostino. Justin discusses what ESG means to him, how the firm approaches ESG as well as what he sees in the broader business community.

Key Contacts