EY names Oceania chief sustainability officer

EY has named Mathew Nelson Oceania chief sustainability officer, a newly created role.

Nelson's new role will become effective 1 July 2021.

"We know that environmental, social and governance (ESG), sustainability and climate change are broad agendas impacting clients across their entire organisations, functions and operations," said CEO elect David Larocca.

"In this new role, Mathew will bring together all activity currently underway across Service Lines, Industry sectors and Markets so that we can go to market with a whole of firm approach. He will also lead EYs own internal Oceania corporate responsibility agenda."

EY has committed to a sustainability agenda that "includes an ambition to be carbon negative in 2021, reducing emissions by 40% and achieving net zero by 2025," the firm said.

Nelson is based in Melbourne and is currently EY global climate change and sustainability services leader, which is a team that covers sustainability, nonfinancial reporting and climate change outcomes measurement and community investment services.

Earlier this year, Nelson spoke with FS Sustainability about the EY's 2021 Capital Confidence Barometer, which found that Australia's C-suite executives worry more about climate change as the top risk to growth, beating out COVID-19. This finding put Australian executives in a unique position over other global executives, which still view the pandemic as the biggest risk to growth.

Nelson noted that Australian executives are also concerned with the uncertainty that climate risk brings, mainly as pertains to climate policy.

"There is a firm acceptance that climate policy is going to get more aggressive in the next three to five years, but the nuance of climate policy matters," Nelson said. "Is it a border tax, a trading scheme, an incentives based scheme? Based on those answers, the nature of the policy and the geography and assets they impact will vary significantly, which will make a huge difference to asset valuation."

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