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Real Business : Winter 2008
26 +#8; REAL BUSINESS+#8;ISSUE+#8;2,+#8;2008 M2 was the first to buy carbon on the Australian Climate Exchange (ACX), and part of Inns’ role is to identify and opera- tionalise opportunities for the company to be greener – whether that’s looking at the type of paper that is used, recycling practices or energy management. Adams believes finance professionals can help businesses to develop data collection systems and internal reporting formats to assist in decision making, as well as performance management systems that take into account social and environmen- tal impacts. They can build links between internal and external reporting and perform internal auditing and external assurance functions. “There’s a skills shortage in this area at the moment because everyone’s needing to do it fast,” says Adams. Dr Mary Stewart is principal consultant, sustainability, with Energetics, an integrated provider of energy, greenhouse and sustaina- ble solutions. “There will be significant growth in the amount of reporting required by com- panies as a result of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007,” says Stewart. “At the moment, only 40 per cent of those com- panies required to report have been collecting the data, so there is a massive challenge to help businesses comply with the new legisl- ation, which becomes effective on 1 July 2008.” The draft regulations make specific reference to the role that financial auditors will play. “There are opportunities for accountants on two levels – firstly, in constructing the reports and helping businesses understand what is required by the legislation, and secondly, in the auditing and verification of those reports.” She cautions that finance professionals need to appreciate the multi-dimensionality of environmental information. “Money only works in one dimension, and often a finan- cial audit is a static snapshot of a point in time. With carbon audits, it’s really about a flow.” The evolutionary nature of the green sector presents unique opportunities for graduates. Kelleher says, “If you are looking to enter the sustainability sector, you are exercising great judgement about your career path. It’s not only going to be some- thing that you feel good about – you’re doing something that will drive economic growth and be environmentally beneficial as well. It will be the greatest growth area for business in the future.” n M ark Kelleher CPA has experienced the full impact of changing political winds regarding climate change. After initially establishing a mandatory renewable energy target (MRET) of 2 per cent in the early 2000s, the Howard government decided not to accept a recommend ation to expand the program in 2004. At the time, Kelleher was managing business development at Hydro Tasmania, which had piloted a number of wind turbine projects. “That decision really stopped Australia’s embryonic wind industry in its tracks,” he says. Rather than shut up shop, Kelleher took the next plane to Beijing to attend a renewable energy conference. He realised that overseas demand for renewable energy was high. Shortly afterwards, Roaring 40s was formed, with China Light and Power on board as a 50 per cent shareholder. Kelleher now spends his time crisscrossing the globe and visiting the company’s offices in Hobart, Melbourne, Beijing, Hong Kong and Mumbai. “My role is to ensure the governance processes are working effectively, continue to nurture our partnerships, which are so crucial to our business model, and ensure we’ve got the right people who are capable of operating as effectively as they can.” The company now has major joint venture projects in China, and is about to break into the renewable energy market in India. “With climate change being the most important issue for the planet, we’re in a business that’s directly contributing to the solution,” he says. “That feels pretty good to be a part of – to be actually delivering projects that reduce carbon emissions.” managing director, roaring 40s mark kelleher cPa net gains Want to offset our internet searches? Log onto www.ecocho.com Check out the vodcast with Corinne Proske at www.cpacareers.com.au/links/multimedia
Issue 3 2008