Business acting on climate change

Despite action this week from the US and China - the world's top carbon emitters - the Australian Government refuses to take serious action on climate change. But leading businesses that understand the risks we face are getting on with the job and the City is helping them do it.

This week I spoke at two events highlighting the work business is doing to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

On Monday I opened SD2014, a business-focused sustainability event organised by the Banksia Foundation and Sustainable Business Australia, which included the national Banksia Sustainability Awards.

The Banksia Awards brought together 52 finalists in 13 categories from large to small business, local government, the Indigenous community, innovators, educators and product developers.

Congratulations to the very deserving Award winners. There is huge power in sharing the best ideas to protect our environment, and the Banksia Awards are a great opportunity to do just that.

We know that one of the best ways to reduce carbon emissions is improving energy efficiency. That's why the City is working with Sydney's businesses through programs like City Switch, the Better Buildings Partnership and Smart Green Business.

The Better Buildings Partnership involves property owners of nearly 60 per cent of Sydney's commercial office space. Between them, they have reduced their emissions by 31 per cent since 2006, and saved $25 million in the last year alone.

On Tuesday I met with the CEOs of these businesses to congratulate them on their success and discuss the challenges ahead for delivering the remaining reduction in emissions collectively committed to under our Sydney 2030 goals.

Action to protect our environment has never been more vital. As each IPCC report underlines with growing urgency, the ecological, social and economic systems that support us are at risk of collapse without action.

The scale of the challenge we face is too large to hold back and hope for the best. I'm proud to lead a Council that is taking serious action on climate change.

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