Make sustainability sexy

Sydney's inaugural Climate Action Week kicked off with a flurry of events across the city, including a panel with Planet Ark founder Jon Dee, and Green Building Council of Australia CEO Davina Rooney.

The key message? 'Make sustainability sexy.'

From Dee recounting a highly successful climate campaign launch that involved the unconventional move of hiring male performance artists (use your imagination on that one), to Rooney espousing the virtues of electrification and green building design, attendees were invited to think outside the box when it comes to climate action.

It probably doesn't sound so sexy to say it like it is: sustainability requires implementing long-term thinking into corporate and investment strategies.

"It's all about institutionalising some of that long-term thinking," Rooney said.

The regulation that Canberra is rolling out is the next step in a long line of frameworks and roadmaps that stretch back to the (recent) inception of climate as a recognised concept.

"Government is taking frameworks that make sense, and making them regulation," Rooney said. "We've seen that happening in New Zealand, we see that happening in Australia.

"What I would say to business leaders is that these frameworks make sense... Government is grasping for solutions, and getting competent advice.

"What does that mean? It means that there's going to be a first-mover advantage. So, if a business is looking at international frameworks, that's going to make more and more financial sense."

In the next five years the private sector is likely to see ramping up of legislation, Rooney said.

Sprinting in step, businesses are beginning to notice how climate inaction will impact the bottom line, and financiers are carefully evaluating the long-term costs to their portfolios.

Read more: Davina RooneyJon DeePlanet ArkGBCA