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Real Business : Winter 2008
REAL BUSINESSISSUE2,2008 25 eA mon gA ll A gher I’m a frustrated park ranger!” jokes 35-year-old Corinne Proske CPA, who cites her love of the outdoors and study of environmental economics at university as motivators for a career in sustainability. After five-year stints with Ernst & Young and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Proske helped to develop practical ways of measuring social performance while on a 12-month contract with the Department of Family and Community Services. Recently, she was on a two-month secondment at the United Nations in Geneva to assess what was happening in climate change within Europe’s financial services sector. Proske heads up community finance and development at National Australia Bank. About 70 per cent of her role is concerned with mircofinance, helping those on low incomes access personal low-interest loans. Her role also involves educating mainstream businesses about the non-financial impacts of what they do. “We advise them on issues about responsible lending, collections and various climate-change strategies,” she says. “It’s about looking at what is the impact on the community of these things.” Proske emerged from university in the early 90s when the economy was shrugging off a recession. “Corporates were just turning their minds to the environmental stuff – what does it mean, is it important?” Starting out, many told her that it was all destined to be a fad. “Corporate social responsibility (CSR) doesn’t look the same as it did back then,” she says. “But I’m still dealing with the same issues. It’s all about managing your non-financial risk – the reputational side of things.” Her advice about working in the green sector? “Feeling good is not enough. I get a lot of personal satisfaction because this is an area that interests me, but I’m also very commercial about it.” Community finanCe anD Development manaGer, national australia Bank Corinne proske Cpa
Issue 3 2008