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 31 – Climate Governance Forum 2023 – a call to action
Melanie Debenham and Timothy Stutt wrap up their reflections on this year’s Climate Governance Forum, hosted by the AICD and the Climate Governance Initiative Australia. Kicking off with a keynote from Mike Cannon-Brookes and followed by sessions on mandatory reporting, transition planning, greenwashing risks and an address by Senator Jenny McAllister (Assistant Minister for Climate Change), the day was rounded out with discussions on understanding stakeholder expectations and the role for boards in addressing biodiversity and nature. Speakers underlined not only the urgency of the issues but in seizing the opportunities in making climate action core business strategy.
For more, read our latest legal briefing on Australia’s proposed mandatory climate reporting regime and short podcast series Reporting for Duties.
Episode 30– Is the Australian Modern Slavery Act moving into a new phase?
Tim Stutt and Aoife Xuereb are joined by Jacqueline Wootton and Olga Klimczak for a Talking Shop X The Third Wheel podcast collaboration episode. Following the statutory review of the Modern Slavery Act and its report being tabled in parliament, the Government is yet to confirm its position in relation to the reform recommendations, many of which seek to align with overseas regulatory trends for enhanced human rights due diligence, supply chain transparency and penalties to support corporate accountability. Our team discuss the importance of monitoring developments, applying a continuous improvement approach to supply chain risk identification and management (which can be particularly complex in the consumer sector) and working to ensure your business has in place robust payroll compliance governance processes. For more, read our recent legal briefing on the Modern Slavery Act review or visit our Business and Human Rights hub.
Episode 29 – It’s an onion! Australia’s carbon market
Kathryn Pacey, environment and planning partner is joined by Isabella Kelly, ESG senior associate and Jaya Prasad, solicitor in our energy and resources team to discuss the role of carbon and biodiversity offsets in meeting net zero and nature positive goals. They peel back the layers of government targets and regulatory reforms including the review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, Safeguard Mechanism, Australian Carbon Credit Units - and the new Nature Repair Bill. Amidst the increasing use of carbon credits to offset emissions in reaching climate targets, yet more layers are revealed including greenwashing, activist attention and disclosure considerations under the upcoming mandatory climate reporting regime and ISSB standards. Further complexities arise from multi-stakeholder carbon abatement projects, contracting arrangements and financial services requirements.
Episode 28 – Black letter law goes blurry
In this episode, Tim Stutt speaks with partner Bryony Adams and senior associate Stephanie Crosbie for a discussion about financial crime and the governance and reputational risk exposures from regulatory non-compliance. The heat is on for boards, with the scale and penalties for money laundering being one of the fastest growing ESG areas. Our team unpack regulator expectations and what this means for directors in terms of getting across the risks, implementing a compliant and risk-based Anti-Money Laundering program and associated training, and importantly – setting a risk culture or “tone from the top”.
Episode 27 – Bankability versus Sustainability
Finance partners Andrew McLean, Jon Evans and Elizabeth Charlesworth take the wheel this episode to discuss the evolution of green and sustainability linked loans, from federal government funders and other agencies to increasing interest from commercial banks, institutional investors and private capital. They discuss the key issues across mining, energy and infrastructure sectors, along with recent regulatory and industry developments addressing greenwashing and social targets (or “pinkwashing”).
Episode 26 – International Women’s Day with Stella
In celebration of International Women’s Day, partners Nerida Jessup and Natalie Gaspar from our employment, IR and safety practice speak with Jaclyn Booton, Executive Director of the Stella Prize, a major literary award celebrating Australian women’s writing. They reflect on 10 years of Stella and its significant influence on a more vibrant and equitable literary culture. An approach of “You lead, we’ll support” has been key to this success and will resonate with organisations seeking better diversity and inclusion outcomes. Visit stella.org.au - your book club will thank you!
Special: Unlocking ESG Investment in Australia Report
|EP22: Unlocking ESG Investment in Australia||EP23: Keeping the focus on “S”|
|EP24: Start at the source||EP25: Risk and return under every rock|