CitySwitch NSW & ACT Awards 2014

(6.30pm, Tuesday 25 November 2014, The Mint)

Thank you, Adam, [Spencer], good evening, everyone. Welcome to the 2014 Awards.

And a very warm welcome to our CitySwitch signatories and guests - you're the ones helping to bring about change.

Sydney's participation in the C40 Climate Leadership Group of 69 international cities has shown us the unique role cities can play in delivering a meaningful reduction in emissions and improvements in environmental performance.

Buildings - and their occupants - account for 80 per cent of emissions in our local government area, so CitySwitch makes sense for all of us - and even more so now, as the Federal Government is deep in climate change denial. So deep, in fact, that despite the United States and European leaders, Australia as host country refused to put climate change on the agenda for the G20.

So CitySwitch is involving a critical sector that holds the keys to massive improvements in sustainability that also make sound business sense. And it's partly thanks to CitySwitch that Sydney, together with Tokyo, now co-chairs the C40's Energy Efficiency Network for private buildings. This will allow us to work with, and learn from, similar programs around the world, to further benefit owners and tenants.

The program continues to foster collaboration and leadership in the national network of businesses that have signed up and committed themselves to strive for environmental excellence.

All three levels of government - local, state and federal - are also working together to deliver the program.

Local Councils connect and support their local businesses; the State Government lends its support through the NABERS rating framework, and the Federal Government's financial support through Energy Efficiency Information Grants Program has allowed the program to be rolled out nationally.

Our partners include North Sydney, Willoughby, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, as well as the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. Our regional delivery partner, the Net Balance Foundation - now part of Ernst & Young - is helping to expand CitySwitch to suburban and regional locations and smaller organisations.

We are all delighted to have this opportunity to promote your efforts and to celebrate the leadership that's being shown across such a diverse cross-section of industry sectors. These range from financial services, architecture and design, government, legal and property sectors.

The Federal Government's Energy Efficiency Information Grants Program, has enabled us to work with the Net Balance Foundation to deliver an extended program that has enabled companies with a national presence to commit a number of their offices to the program.

In the spirit of partnership, it's only right that we also reflect on your own ventures where innovation and thinking outside the box have led to increased sustainability. We'll be celebrating that later this evening with the 2014 Partnership Award.

All indicators suggest a huge range of activities being undertaken by members, and we'll hear about some of the stand-out initiatives tonight.

But now I think we're all looking forward to hearing Alicia Darvall and her thoughts on the future face of business and why sustainable business is good business. Thank you.