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The Third Wheel podcast series: ESG in Australia

26 May 2022 | Insight
Podcasts – By Timothy Stutt and Melanie Debenham

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 15 – Climate change and ESG litigation trends in the consumer sector with Jojo Fan and Mark Smyth

In this episode, Tim invites our disputes team to share climate change and ESG litigation insights. Jojo Fan from our Hong Kong office and Mark Smyth from the Sydney office discuss the rapidly increasing developments globally including greenwashing, inadequate disclosure and challenges for manufacturing and governments. They share their insights on what the future of climate litigation may hold for the consumer sector.

Episode 14 – Fix the workplace, not the worker with David Burroughs, Westpac

In this episode, our Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety team take the wheel, with Olga Klimczak and Nerida Jessup hosting special guest, David Burroughs, Chief Mental Health Officer at Westpac. It’s an important, and lively, discussion on how organisations are shaping work and workplace culture so that our jobs are ‘good’ for our mental health. David speaks candidly about the issues corporates are grappling with and cautions against feel good programs with high visibility, low impact. For companies getting it right – giving people the opportunity to genuinely thrive - the business case is profound for a strategy that encapsulates performance, productivity and mental health. And in a podcast first, David fact checks our closing remarks – you’ll want to note down ‘psychological agility’!

Episode 13 – Australian Federal Election with Graham Phelan, Frontier Economics

Mel and Tim discuss a key battleground ahead of the election, climate change action, with Graham Phelan, ESG Lead for Frontier Economics. Graham takes a look back at previous election results to predict whether climate change action and the recent natural disasters will influence the 2022 election outcome – and considers if it’s time to put carbon pricing back on the agenda. Graham discusses the importance of ESG for Australia’s international competitiveness and the proactive measures being taken by businesses and financial regulators to protect the economy and environment. Lastly, we touch on the issues impacting voters’ hip pockets – inflation, interest rates, petrol and (of course) beer prices.

Episode 12 – Authenticity with James Palmer

Tim and Mel discuss corporate purpose with HSF’s previous Chair and Senior Partner, James Palmer, one of the UK's leading M&A, capital markets and corporate lawyers, with deep experience in corporate governance and regulation. James explores the overall framing of ESG, and the importance of approaching company strategy with purpose and authenticity. James speaks with passion on navigating the ethical dimension of ESG issues, from “just transition” in the energy sector through to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Episode 11 – #BreakTheBias with Rebecca Maslen-Stannage and Andrew Pike

In this episode, Mel celebrates International Women’s Day 2022 with HSF’s Chair and Senior Partner, Rebecca Maslen-Stannage and Andrew Pike, Executive Partner for Asia and Australia. Rebecca and Andrew share some personal reflections on progress made, and remaining challenges, in achieving lasting change in the legal profession. They discuss the importance of a diverse and inclusive culture to #BreakTheBias (this year’s theme) - including the importance of acknowledging bias still exists and “calling it when you see it”.

Episode 10 –   All eyes on COP27 with Silke Goldberg

In the first episode for 2022, Tim and Mel are joined by Silke Goldberg, HSF’s Global Head of ESG and Climate Change practice lead. Silke embarks on some time travel to tackle the big ESG questions. After a ‘COP of two speeds’ last year, Silke asserts there is everything to play for at COP27 in Egypt this November, including investment opportunities and the final building blocks for a long-awaited global carbon market.

Previous episodes

Listen to our 2021 episodes below. 

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


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


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


Episode 4 – Climate change litigation with Mark Smyth


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


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


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


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


Episode 9 – Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) with Charlee-Sue Frail, Former advisor of Wiyi Yani U Thangani and Dusseldorp Forum board member


Episode 10 – All eyes on COP27 with Silke Goldberg, HSF’s Global Head of ESG and lead for the firm’s Climate Change practice