Take-outs for business from Climate Reality, the massive international conference recently hosted in Brisbane by the QLD Government and featuring former US Vice President Al Gore.

In early June, Angela Heck from CitySmart joined almost 800 people from 36 countries for the Climate Reality training in Brisbane to address global warming and reduce our greenhouse emissions. It was inspiring to hear from Al Gore about the need to change and how we can change our ways.

Fossil fuels – coal, petrol, diesel, gas – are the major cause of global warming. The problem feels overwhelming, but a key takeout is that help from the business community can have a big impact on the direction we should take. We need to stay under 1.5 degrees of global warming for the health of the planet – shooting over that is not viable.

In Australia the extremes of temperature warming are likely to be higher, and we’re already experiencing floods, heat waves and significant coral bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef. For the first time in parts of Queensland the fire danger rating reached ‘catastrophic’ levels last year.

So what can you do to help? Here are four things to get you started at work:

Ask your suppliers for their sustainability policy

Start a conversation in your organisation about sustainable supply chains. Where do your suppliers source their goods from? What are the carbon miles? Is your paper from recycled content or plantation forest sources?

See this example from multinational IKEA, and this one for Brisbane City Council’s Green Heart Fair, managed by CitySmart.

If you don’t have a sustainability policy and are keen to get started, look for examples in your own industry and set clear actions, goals and enablers.

At the office

Make the switch to solar. Queensland-based Planet Ark Power is at the cutting edge of large-scale rooftop solar for businesses and government buildings. They’ll provide a commercial energy analysis to check for inefficient patterns of electricity usage, incorrect tariffs and poor power quality, as well as assessing your business requirements for solar.

Investigate formal certification as a carbon neutral organisation under the Australian Government’s Carbon Neutral Program. Brisbane City Council is certified as carbon neutral which means that Council has no net greenhouse gas emissions.

Conscious investment

Your employer pays your superannuation, but where is it invested? Your choice of fund has an ethical dimension. There are ethical super funds that avoid investing in companies that don’t meet environmental and social standards.

If you are unsure where your own funds are invested, shoot an email to your super fund, as a groundswell of questions on this will help create change. Already many of the big funds are looking at investing in renewable options over fossil fuel projects.

Request a conversation

Feel like you’d like to know more about climate change, why we need to do something and how you can help? Contact CitySmart and one of our Green Heart Business team members will come and do a desktop carbon assessment of your business. Or we’ll put you in touch with someone at Climate Reality who can do a 10-minute ‘Tell you the truth in 10’ at a work lunchtime session.