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Media Release

November 14 2008

Forget the global financial crisis - The biggest business killer will be a failure to act on climate change

Dr Geoff WellsAustralian business is lagging behind the world on climate change and is already suffering the economic consequences, according to UniSA sustainable business expert, Dr Geoff Wells.

Academic director of the graduate certificate in sustainable business, Dr Wells, together with entrepreneur and UniSA PhD candidate Nick Palousis, will argue the business and social cases for strong and swift industry action in the seminar Climate change: will it push your business to extinction?

The seminar is the last in the University’s free Gift of Knowledge 2008 public lecture series and will be held at the Allan Scott Auditorium, Hawke Building, City West campus next Monday November 17 from 5.45pm.

Dr Wells says far too many Australian businesses are avoiding the issue of climate change and in pleading for concessions are only delaying the inevitable.

”There are far too many Australian companies denying the science of climate change and holding back on action,” Dr Wells says.

”It’s very retrograde thinking - the kind of thinking we don’t need in Australia. What we need is strong action, now.

“A low carbon economy is inevitable and businesses that refuse to act will almost certainly struggle to survive”.

Dr Wells says the recent decline of the Australian dollar and stock market volatility are clear signs the world is passing judgment on our lack of progress toward a sustainable economic structure.

”The fact is that Australian business is behind and the business community’s response to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) plainly shows that,” he says.

”Companies in the United States are moving fast - incorporating new technologies and engaging with the new markets necessary to put business in a position of leadership.

“Most current investment in Silicon Valley is moving towards renewable energy and it is likely this process will move even faster once President-elect Obama takes office.”

Dr Wells says the social case for action on climate change is just as compelling as the business case.

”The community is actually ahead of government on this. People won’t tolerate businesses that continue to pollute. And as slow as government is on the issue, it is still ahead of business.

”Industry cannot afford to resist these changes. They have had a license to operate for many years, trading on environmental resources with little accountability. Business must accept the science, the reality of climate change, and get on with it.”

Dr Wells says that while restructuring will not be easy, there is every reason to move forward as quickly as possible.

”We have the means - the tools and the technology. Australian business must also have the courage to assume leadership. There are great opportunities and global first mover advantages available to those who want to take them up.”

Dr Wells will also address the current status of climate change science and offer strategic modelling and frameworks for sustainable business.

He will be followed by Nick Palousis who will examine the business case of climate change, and discuss how industry can strategically position itself to achieve competitive advantage through sustainable business practices.

For more information go to: www.unisa.edu.au/giftofknowledge

What: Gift of Knowledge lecture - Climate change: will it push your business to extinction?
When: 5.45pm – 7.45pm, Monday November 17
Where: Allan Scott Auditorium, Hawke Building, UniSA City West campus

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