Impact X Summit Sydney being held during COP26

Monday, 01 November, 2021

Impact X Summit Sydney being held during COP26

The Impact X Summit Sydney, to be held from 2–3 November, brings together Australian and international leaders from government, NGOs, Indigenous organisations and industry sectors to discuss technology, investment and collaborative pathways to net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.

As the world grapples with the need for urgent and genuine action to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and a 50% reduction by 2030, Australians have consistently stated that they believe the Australian Government should be doing more to address climate change, with one of the most recent polls conducted by the Australian Conservation Foundation showing that 67% of voters overall shared this view, which was held in all 151 national seats.

“Under the Paris Agreement, Australia committed to reduce emissions by 26–28% below 2005 levels by 2030, a level which is well below that of other OECD nations. While a more ambitious target is expected soon, Australian business and industry will then need an unprecedented level of innovation, transformation and investment to deliver on our commitments. Technology will be key to this,” said Tony Gourlay, CEO of Blue Impacts, the organisation behind the summit.

Matt Kean, NSW Treasurer and Minister for Energy & Environment, who has been leading the charge for net zero emissions with a series of bold policy commitments, will also be speaking at the summit.

The summit will ensure that a voice is given to Indigenous Australians, who have largely been left out of the conversation on climate change. The Gaimaragal Group founder and Director Susan Moylan-Coombs, who will be speaking at the summit, said, “All Indigenous peoples globally are the caretakers of the planet. We only took what we needed, not what we greeded. The perseverance of all Indigenous people in the face of global extractive economic practices and climate change speaks to the endurance of spirit and our ecological stewardship.”

The event will feature Australians who are committed to making a difference, including Atlassian co-founder and Co-Chief Executive Mike Cannon-Brookes; Fortescue Metals Group Chair and founder Andrew Forrest; NSW Treasurer and Minister for Energy & the Environment Matt Kean; Australian Ethical Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director John McMurdo; President of the Business Council of Australia Tim Reed; and Investment NSW Chief Executive Officer Amy Brown, to name but a few.

Australia’s international partners are working hard to ensure that Australia steps up to meet the challenge. Key international speakers include Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group and Co-Chair of The B Team; Maria Mendiluce, Chief Executive Officer, We Mean Business Coalition; Jonathan Foley, Executive Director, Project Drawdown; Andrew Steer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bezos Earth Fund; and Keith Tufley, Global Co-Head Sustainability and Corporate Transitions Group, Citi.

Specialist presenters in each sector will dissect the challenges in their particular sector and examine how it can reach net zero. Not only will they look at pathways for their own sector, they will also look at the opportunities. In the built environment, it is not just access to renewable energy and energy-efficient products that is important; finding solutions to embodied carbon in buildings, which can be as high as 62% for some buildings, is also essential.

Agriculture is another sector where cutting emissions is critical, with the sector accounting for 15% of Australia’s total emissions in 2019 — 75% of which was due to methane emanating from livestock. The sector has already been hard hit by the effects of climate change including droughts, bushfires and floods. Technology is key to reducing emissions, with innovation in renewables such as bioenergy, scientific research to reduce methane emissions from livestock by changing feed or selective breeding, and the implementation of sustainable land management practices all under consideration.

The summit will also look at the energy-intensive industry and manufacturing sectors. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of iron ore and metallurgical coal, with the iron and steel sector accounting for 7% of global emissions. With the sector being Australia’s largest contributor to GDP, transition out of coal will be a challenge without investment in new technologies and policy changes.

The transport sector discussions will also shine a light on the third-largest source of emissions in Australia, with transport accounting for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. Given Australia’s low vehicle emission standards and the lack of infrastructure for electric vehicles, the sector is facing some very big challenges which require policy development and commitments from government.

Details of the program and the list of speakers can be found here:

Image credit: ©

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