Annual Sustainability Oration

Professor Auty and Christena Singh at Oration 2012

The Commissioner’s Sustainability Oration is an annual breakfast event that brings together leaders from the fields of business, government and science to highlight recent developments in the sustainability field, particular as it relates to industry and commerce.

Annual Sustainability Orations 2010 - 2012

  • 2012 Sustainability Oration, 'Fiscal Sustainability - Be Green, Stay Black', was held on Tuesday 5 June 2012.
  • 2011 Sustainability Oration, "Unleashing sustainability – the business case", was held on Thursday 2 June 2011.
  • 2010 Inaugural Sustainability Oration, “The Dilemma of Sustainability”was held on Wednesday 22 September 2010.

2012 Sustainability Oration, 'Fiscal Sustainability - Be Green, Stay Black'

Different stories and examples of what business and government were shared at the Commissioner's Sustainability Oration, held on Tuesday 5 June 2012 at Zinc, Federation Square, Melbourne.

The 2012 Sustainability Oration brought together Professor Kate Auty and leading figures from a mulitude of sectors to talk 'Fiscal Sustainability'. Guests included state and local government, environmental management systems specialists, accountants and academics, insurers and lawyers, construction and energy experts, non-government organisations and judicial officers.

Presentations by:

  • Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin (Welcome to Country)
  • Sarah Barker, Special Counsel Minter Ellison Lawyers (MC)
  • Matt Wicking, Sustainability Consultant
  • Professor Kate Auty, Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Victoria
  • David McInnes, Group Manager Sustainability, Linfox
  • Ben Waters, Director, ecoimagination, GE Australia & New Zealand
  • Christena Singh, Author, Sensis Business Index

Oration panel member Ben WatersVideos from the 2012 Oration

Oration Highlights (opens into a new window on YouTube Channel CfESVictoria)

Transcript: Highlights of the Sustainability Oration 2012 [MS Word Document - 585.0 KB]

Address by Matt Wicking, Sustainability Consultant (opens in new window on YouTube Channel CfESVictoria)

Transcript: address by Matt Wicking [MS Word Document - 578.4 KB] 

Address by Kate Auty, Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability (opens in new window on YouTube Channel CfESVictoria)

Transcript: address by Professor Kate Auty [MS Word Document - 578.9 KB]

Commissioner's Oration Speech 2012 [PDF File - 447.6 KB]

Address by David McInnes, Group Manager Sustainability, Linfox (opens in new window on YouTube Channel CfESVictoria)

Transcript: address by David McInnes [MS Word Document - 578.7 KB]

Address by Ben Waters, ecoimagination, GE Australia & New Zealand

Transcript - address by Ben Waters [MS Word Document - 579.3 KB]

Address by Christena Singh, Author, Sensis Business Index (opens in new window on YouTube Channel CfESVictoria)

Transcript: address by Christena Singh [MS Word Document - 578.4 KB]

More videos from the Orations can be found on the Commissioner's YouTube Channel CfESVictoria.

Transcripts are available above and in the CfES Audio/ Visual Library. Should you require these in a different format please contact the office.

2011 Sustainability Oration, Unleashing Sustainability: the Business Case

As the modern world seeks to come to terms with carbon constraints, and recent figures indicating that Australia’s carbon emissions were 5% higher in 2010 than 2009, understanding and promoting the longer-term business case for sustainability is more important than ever.

The 2011 Sustainability Oration held on 2 June 2011, focussed on the business case for sustainability, drawing together speakers and an audience from across business structures and cultures.

Guests included carbon sequestrators, engineers and architects, insurers and lawyers, environmental management systems specialists, state and local government, accountants and academics, construction experts and non-government organisations, heads of a number of commissions and judicial officers, and representatives from the Japanese Consulate and the British Council.

Professor Auty described the mix as “a deliberately broad and diverse church, representing the complexity of the issues with which we are struggling”.

With a focus on the environmental, economic, social and cultural co-benefits that can and will drive sustainability and emissions reductions practices in highly effective and clearly mutually reinforcing ways, the Commissioner’s 2011 Oration outlined national and international examples of the early adopters and fast movers.

Managing risks such as storms, cyclones, flooding and a rapidly changing climate, along with broad scale innovation are highly significant business issues.

“A sustainable choice can represent an economically rational business decision, or as the medical and climate scientists will tell us, a healthy transport choice is also good for reducing carbon emissions,” the Commissioner said.

“A sustainable community takes advantage of electronic technology to reduce isolation as well as carbon miles.”

Presentations by Paul Allen: General Manager - Packaging Division, Australian Paper Mills; Dr Tony Wilkins: Manager - Environment & Climate Change, News Limited; Matthew Sundberg: Senior Researcher & Strategist - Picture the Future Productivity, Siemens Communications Ltd; and Andrew Wisdom: Principal of ARUP demonstrated that there is business leadership driving change.

Examples of public commitment, business buy-in and leadership in a changing economic milieu illustrated the importance and necessity of being nimble and proactive in thinking about the co-benefits and business case for sustainable practices.

Putting forward the business case, Professor Auty said that sustainability is now regarded as core business, particularly in light of the co-benefits.

“I regularly hear this from business leaders, but they also say that they want – and need - high level but grounded advice,” she said.

“As we respond to what communities recognise as the mega challenge of the century, business has a real and important role in generating a low carbon economy.”

Acknowledging that some businesses will see opportunities whilst others see only impediments in developing sustainable organisations. Some of these impediments will be real and pressing, but in response to very many difficulties there would often appear to be an equal and opposite opportunity.

Interestingly, having met with upwards of 1000 people in large regional tours since February 2011,and conducted smaller discussions in the 18 months prior to that, I have only met with 2 people who expressed the view that the climate change science was not tenable.

Only the press, of all stripes, have persistently asked me about “climate change controversies”. The community want to hear about solutions and responses, they are concerned about risk and vulnerability, they watch and reflect on extreme events, energy prices and water difficulties, and worry about the future for their children and grandchildren and their businesses and communities.

See webcasts and transcripts of the oration.

Video-casts and transcripts of the presentations are available from the CfES Audio & Visual Library

2010 Inaugural Environmental Sustainability Oration to Victorian Leaders

Titled “The Dilemma of Sustainability” Prof Auty explores the ongoing conversation of climate change, sustainability and of the need to better communicate and engage with Victorians at all levels to affect practice and behaviour change fundamental to sustainability.

The Oration was introduced by Professor David de Kretser, AC, Governor of Victoria, with concluding remarks from Professor Barry O Jones, AO.

CES Oration 22/09/10 Video Transcript [PDF File - 197.0 KB]

Key Messages from Prof Auty’s Oration

  • To respond to climate change and broad scale sustainability concerns we need multilateral leadership and action, across all sectors
  • We must find ways to encourage and provide incentives for big and little interventions – for engineering, business and social and cultural interventions
  • Every level of government and form of business, has a role to play, as does every member of the community
  • The pressure is to act now not later, in a planned and structured way
For transcripts and webcasts from the Sustainability Orations, see content below and CES Audio/Visual Presentations.