EY Oceania has today announced the launch of its Net Zero Centre, designed to assist and accelerate the transition of Australian and New Zealand companies to net-zero by 2050.
The Net Zero Centre is led by EY PJP Partner, Blair Comley, formerly the head of the Federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency with the support of EY CSO, Mathew Nelson
Mathew Nelson explains the Centre brings together the most respected climate change leaders and strategists in the region. “For the past two decades EY has been the largest and strongest Oceania advisor on climate change and sustainability strategy. The Net Zero Centre is a key initiative within EY’s sustainability strategy and aims to build our legacy further, bringing the best of our deep expertise in climate change and energy transition with the firm’s strength in organisational strategy to help Australian companies transition and improve their capacity to create long-term value.”
“Decarbonisation is the innovation opportunity of a lifetime. It will transform our economy and either directly or indirectly impact the future of every company. It will disrupt existing business models, amplifying complexity and uncertainty, while presenting opportunities to unlock economic potential,” said Net Zero Centre lead, Blair Comley.
The Net Zero Centre provides an end-to-end offering as well as cutting edge insight and thought leadership to demystify and build understanding on all topics relating to net-zero explains Comley. “From gap analysis and scenario planning to strategy planning, execution and market engagement, our team provides the capabilities and commercial and sector understanding to help companies on their journey”.
The Net Zero Centre has been developed in response to growing market demand. According to EY's latest CEO Imperative Study, 80% of CEOs believe it’s likely “companies will take significant new steps to take responsibility for the social and environmental impacts of their operations” over the next five years.
Action is also being heavily driven by the investor community. According to EY’s Institutional Investor Survey,74% of institutional investors now more likely to “divest” based on poor environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance, than before the COVID-19 pandemic. This sentiment was recently reinforced by BlackRock Chairman CEO, Larry Fink in his annual open letter.
“It’s been two years since I wrote that climate risk is investment risk. And in that short period, we have seen a tectonic shift of capital. Sustainable investments have now reached $4 trillion. Actions and ambitions towards decarbonization have also increased. This is just the beginning – the tectonic shift towards sustainable investing is still accelerating.”
Comley’s senior bench for the Net Zero Centre includes Emma Herd, the former CEO of the Investor Group on Climate Change, Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds, who led the economic modelling for the Australian Government’s net zero strategy in the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER, 2021) and advised G7 leaders on decoupling economic growth from environmental damage and Pip Best, who has been highly involved in the development of the green bond market globally and led the secretariat of New Zealand’s Sustainable Finance Forum, the New Zealand equivalent of the EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance.
EY is a recognised leader in decarbonisation and sustainability. In January 2022, EY was announced as the leader in strategy, climate change and sustainability in the Global Verdantix report and also achieved 28th place in the top 100 companies by Sustainability Magazine. EY achieved carbon negative status for the 2021 financial year and is set to achieve a net-zero target, approved by the Science Based Target initiative, by 2025.
Notes to Editors
About Blair Comley
Blair is an economist who has worked extensively on market design issues including leading the design of carbon prices, the GST and Commonwealth competitive neutrality policy and other aspects of competition policy. Blair has been responsible for nationally significant policy reform including the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Green and White papers and the review of the Commonwealth Government Securities Market, which led to the establishment of the Commonwealth Future Fund. Blair joined EY Port Jackson Partners in January 2018 following a distinguished public sector career. Blair has undertaken numerous consulting projects in the climate and energy area. Regarded as one of Australia’s foremost senior public servants, Blair joined the Commonwealth Treasury in 1994. Blair was most recently Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet in the NSW Government. In this role, Blair had extensive engagement with Commonwealth State relations, including reform of the Federation. Blair played a critical role as a member of COAG Senior Officials in all aspects of policy.
About Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds
Steve is one of Australia’s leading experts on sustainability and public policy, with three decades of experience at the intersection of research and public policy. Steve brings deep expertise and experience in the design and assessment of climate policy, from designing and co-leading the private sector Business Case for Early Action in 2006 through to leading the economic modelling of the Government’s net zero strategy in 2021 and contributing to the modelling and assessment of every Australian Government policy assessment over this period (including 2007,2008, 2011, 2015 and 2021). His international experience includes being commissioned to provide advice to G7 leaders by the United Nations and leading the scenario modelling and assessment for the UNEP Global Resource Outlook.
About Emma Herd
Emma has 20 years’ experience in climate change and sustainability practice. She is a well-known figure in the Australian and global climate change arena having worked within business and industry associations and was formerly the CEO of the Investor Group on Climate Change. Emma has direct experience in the development and delivery of commercial climate change finance and investment solutions as well as in campaign and political advocacy strategies. She has been directly involved in the development of global climate investment and advocacy programs.
About Pip Best
Pip leads EY’s Climate Change and Sustainability Services team in New Zealand and works across Oceania and Asia Pacific. She has over fifteen years’ experience in the finance, sustainability and climate change sectors. Pip’s team specialise in developing transformational strategies, focusing on the climate change challenge. She has been highly involved in the development of the green bond market globally and establishing EY’s sustainable finance practice. Pip also advises clients on the implementation of net-zero strategies and responding to the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Recommendations. Pip has worked across a range of sectors including banking, agriculture, energy, asset owners, insurance and industrial sectors and has assisted clients to develop their responsible investment strategies and reporting. Pip led the secretariat of New Zealand’s Sustainable Finance Forum, the New Zealand equivalent of the EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance. Pip has published articles on climate risk modelling, TCFD Recommendations Report, Green Bonds, Impact investing, Chinese emissions trading schemes and the Australian carbon trading schemes (CPM and ERF). Prior to joining EY Pip spent six years as a derivatives trader for ANZ’s institutional bank, mainly located in London.
About Mathew Nelson
Mathew is the EY Oceania's Chief Sustainability Officer. He has nearly 20 years’ experience in providing advisory and assurance services related to sustainability, nonfinancial reporting, climate change and energy, outcomes measurement, and environment, health, and safety.
Prior to joining EY, Mathew worked in the petrochemical industry as operations engineer as well as a human resources analyst in the Financial Services sector. He also has significant experience in providing commercial advice to the cleantech sector and government.
Mathew is the chair of the Australian chapter of the Earthwatch Institute, and a member of the TCFD. He holds a master’s degree in Environment and a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the University of Melbourne.