Dr Matthew Bell, who has more than 10 years’ experience advising on a range of climate change and sustainability issues, has been appointed to the role.
He will now lead a team of close to 100 people in Australia advising clients on key sustainability strategies, including around climate change, reporting and assurance, carbon, social impact, health, safety and environment opportunities.
Dr Bell noted there is mainstream interest in sustainability issues, with Australian organisations now making a concerted effort to include appropriate strategies within their business models.
“There is definitely a renewed drive from investors to understand and value non-financial risks, but increasingly customers and business partners are expecting it too”, he said.
Dr Bell made particular note of changes to the ASX Corporate Governance Principles regarding disclosures concerning environmental, social and sustainability risks.
“The real leaders in this space understand there is a capacity to create value from this in the long term, which is really what investors need to know”, he added.
Dr Bell noted that businesses need to future proof themselves in order to effectively tackle these issues, stating that EY’s Climate Change and Sustainability practice will focus on the impacts of climate change and related legislation in the coming year, with an emphasis on health, safety and the environment, human rights and social impacts.
“Organisations need to be thinking about how their business will be disrupted or will need to change in the future. They need to consider what it will look like in 10 or more years’ time, and understand the impacts on their ability to provide returns to shareholders,” he said.