Is Climate Change a threat, opportunity or both?

Welcome to March 2023. In my last Blog post, I promised that I would expand upon the things that I am now doing, the first of which is not new at all, only more pressing.

In late 2018, I was asked by the then Minister for Environment and Water, the Honourable David Speirs MP to Chair the Premier’s Climate Change Council (PCCC) on behalf of the former State Government of South Australia. With a change of State Government in 2022, Deputy Premier and Minister for Climate, Environment and Water the Honourable Dr Susan Close MP invited me to continue to serve as Chair for the new Malinauskas Labor Government. South Australia has a history of bipartisanship on climate change, environment and sustainability; something to be proud of.

Climate change is a complex issue that has far-reaching implications for the planet, people and economy. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that the world is heading towards a catastrophic temperature increase of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, which will have severe consequences for biodiversity, food security, public health, and the global economy. It is therefore imperative that we all play our part to address climate change.

As Lord Mayor of Adelaide, I pursued a strong sustainability agenda ensuring that the City of Adelaide was a national leader in addressing climate change. In 2015, I launched Carbon Neutral Adelaide to reduce the city’s carbon emissions, introduced smart city initiatives such as LED street lighting, smart parking systems, electric vehicle charging stations and increased the city’s green spaces while preserving its biodiversity.

As a strong advocate for renewable energy, I supported the city’s programs to install solar panels on many public buildings and provide incentives for residential and commercial property owners and occupiers to do the same. Under my leadership, the city bikeway was upgraded and expanded, thousands of trees were planted and the Council partnered with the State Government on a number of climate and sustainability based innovations.

At the United Nations COP21 in Paris in December 2015, I delivered a speech at the Sustainable Innovation Forum and ratified the signing of the Compact of Mayors on behalf of the City of Adelaide. At the World Cities Summit in Singapore in 2018, I delivered a keynote speech on the inter-dependencies between green cities and liveable cities, with Adelaide as the case study.

Signing the Compact of Mayors at COP21 in Paris in December 2015
Signing the Compact of Mayors at COP21 in Paris in December 2015

Climate change – Threat, opportunity or both?

Addressing climate change is important for several reasons. Firstly, it’s essential to mitigate negative impacts on the environment as climate change is leading to more extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, and heatwaves. Climate change also threatens food security by reducing crop yields, degrading land, and increasing the risk of pests and diseases. Moreover, climate change exacerbates air pollution and poses a threat to public health, especially for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Secondly, addressing climate change is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. The SDGs are a global framework that seek to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure greater prosperity for all. Climate change impacts all SDGs, including poverty reduction, access to clean water, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, for life below water and on land. Addressing climate change is therefore critical to achieving a sustainable and equitable future for everyone.

However, addressing climate change presents opportunities for the business community as the transition to a low-carbon economy requires new technologies, processes and business models which create new markets and industries. As companies take action to address climate change, they are likely to improve their reputation, enhance their brand value, and attract new customers who are increasingly environmentally conscious. Addressing climate change can also help companies reduce their operational costs by increasing energy efficiency and reducing waste.

Premier’s Climate Change Council

The Premier’s Climate Change Council is an independent body established by an Act of Parliament to provide advice to the State Government of South Australia on how to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Consisting of experts from backgrounds such as science, industry, conservation, local government and community, the Council’s main functions are to provide advice on how to meet South Australia’s emissions reduction targets, develop strategies to adapt to the impacts of climate change including extreme weather events, sea level rise and changing agricultural conditions. Overall, the Premier’s Climate Change Council plays an important role in guiding South Australia’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and build a more resilient and sustainable future.

Celebrating with the finalists of the Climate Awards 2022
Celebrating with the finalists of the Climate Awards 2022

Addressing climate change can help companies manage their risks and underwrite long-term profitability. The physical risks of climate change, such as extreme weather events, can disrupt supply chains, damage assets, and lead to financial losses. The transition risks of climate change, such as regulatory changes and market shifts, can affect the value of investments and the viability of business models. By taking action to address climate change, companies can reduce their exposure to these risks and ensure the long-term sustainability of their operations.

The business community has a vital role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy and companies that take action to address climate change are more likely to prosper in the long run. It is therefore imperative that we all work together to address climate change and seize the opportunities that it presents. Thus, with the encouragement of Deputy Premier Dr Susan Close MP, the Premier’s Climate Change Council is partnering with the State Government to hold South Australia’s inaugural Industry Climate Change Conference.

South Australia’s Industry Climate Change Conference – 20th and 21st April 2023

Registrations are now open for the South Australian Government’s inaugural Industry Climate Change Conference on Thursday 20 April and Friday 21 April 2023.

This two-day conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre brings together business owners, business managers, State Government, Local Government, academia and industry to discuss, inform and inspire South Australia’s pathway toward net zero emissions.

For a strictly limited time, delegates can purchase two tickets for the price of one. Visit today for information and bookings.

I encourage you to register to attend this conference and to share this with your friends and colleagues.

South Australia’s inaugural Climate Change Conference, 20 and 21 April 2023
South Australia’s inaugural Climate Change Conference, 20 and 21 April 2023

With kind regards,

Martin Haese MBA

United Nations COP26

United Nations COP26

With the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP26) taking place in Glasgow Scotland, and Australia’s recently announced plan for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, Australia as a nation is standing at an inflection point as the world pushes towards a more rapid uptake of renewable energy.

However, this is an inflection point that South Australia has already confronted.

In my role as Chair of the Premiers Climate Change Council, I presented online on behalf of David Speirs MP, Minister for Environment and Water, at the United Nations COP26 on Thursday 4 November 2021. Some years ago, I had the good fortune of doing the same at the United Nations COP21 in Paris, where I presented in person to a global audience in my former role as Lord Mayor of Adelaide.

Much has changed over the last 6 years and for South Australia, much of that change has been resoundingly positive. Following is an extract of the speech that I recently delivered at COP26 where I acknowledge the valued assistance of the team from the Department for Environment and Water.

To learn more about the United Nations COP26, visit
To learn more about the United Nations COP26, visit

South Australia has a proud history of environmental protection and climate change action including energy transformation, circular economy leadership and sustainable management of natural resources. Adelaide was recently ranked the 3rd most liveable city in the world, placing it ahead of all Australian cities.

South Australians have understood the economic benefits of ‘clean, green growth’ for a long time and with the state’s emissions having reduced by 33% since 2005, our economy has also grown and prospered.

The South Australian Government has set clear policy targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% on 2005 levels by 2030. It was recently announced that the State Government will be legislating these targets, providing a clear market signal about the seriousness of the government’s intent to accelerate progress toward a low emissions economy.

Advances in clean energy provide a solid basis upon which to achieve our ambitious emissions reduction targets and to grow our economy. With world class natural resources in solar and wind, South Australia is ranked second in the world for the annual variable renewable energy it generates.

In just 15 years, South Australia has transformed its energy system from 1% renewable energy generation to around 60%. This is well on the way to achieving our goal of 100% net renewable energy generation by 2030.

By 2050, our state plans to be generating 500% more renewable energy than we need to meet current grid demand. This will make us a renewable energy exporter and allow us to help other states and nations to reduce their emissions.

One of the keys to our success has been to build on previous work, make new investments and provide opportunities for the private sector and regional communities to benefit from a low emissions energy future. Our last coal-fired power station, located in the state’s Upper Spencer Gulf region, closed in 2016 and there are now 14 renewable energy projects in this region, including Australia’s biggest wind and solar hybrid project - the 317 megawatt Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park.

At the same time, South Australia is solving the challenges of intermittent energy in renewables, through battery storage, interconnection with other states, and new approaches to managing demand. Initiatives such as large grid-scale battery storage help stabilise the grid. In its first two years of operation, the Hornsdale Power Reserve - the world renowned ‘big battery’ - saved the market and consumers over $150 million.

The State Government also supports a number of distributed renewable energy generation and storage projects which are important for South Australia, where one in three households have a solar photovoltaic system. South Australia has 7% of Australia’s population, but 29% of home batteries installed across the nation and this has been a result of our two world leading home battery schemes, including our $118 million Home Battery Scheme, which have resulted in the installation of more than 26,000 home batteries.

South Australia is also on track to becoming a world-class supplier of green hydrogen, with the government working with the private sector to facilitate investment in hydrogen infrastructure, establish export hubs, and integrate hydrogen into our energy system. The level of global investment interest in South Australian hydrogen projects has capacity to transform our state into a renewable energy exporter of world standing in the next decade. The South Australian Government also has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Port of Rotterdam to study hydrogen export from South Australia to Europe.

A demonstration project comprising Australia’s largest electrolyser is a first step to decarbonising our gas network, beginning with 700 homes in a local area receiving gas blended with five per cent renewable hydrogen.

Climate change mitigation is a matter of choice whether to lead or follow.
Climate change mitigation is a matter of choice whether to lead or follow.

To learn about the South Australian Government’s Climate Change Action Plan 2021-2025, please click here.

As CEO of Business SA, I am also aware of the role that business can play in influencing the market. Businesses in South Australia are engaged and understand the economic opportunity that comes with renewable energy and action on climate change.

In our state, there is a healthy relationship between government, business and community, with each party willing to play their part to meet our goals.

Martin Haese presenting at a recent Business SA Climate of Opportunity event held in conjunction with Minister David Speirs MP and Consul General Stephen (Steph) Lysaght of the UK Government.
Martin Haese presenting at a recent Business SA Climate of Opportunity event held in conjunction with Minister David Speirs MP and Consul General Stephen (Steph) Lysaght of the UK Government.

Thank you for reading my Blog : The Martin Haese Report.

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Please do not hesitate to recommend my Blog to any of your friends, family or colleagues who share our common interests.

With kind regards,

Martin Haese MBA

Climate of Fear or Climate of Opportunity

Climate of Fear or Climate of Opportunity

In my role as CEO of Business SA, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for South Australia, I remain close to those who take calculated risks to better themselves, their organisations, families, employees and South Australia. After the seismic turbulence of the last 18 months, who could blame the owners of many small to medium sized business for thinking about packing it in?
However, have we ever stopped to think what would happen if business owners lost their individual and collective appetite for risk? Have we even dared to quantify the dire economic and social consequences of a scenario where hundreds or even thousands of business owners pulled up stumps because it is simply too difficult to earn a living, let alone build any meaningful wealth? Personally, I don’t even want to consider this scenario as it is not a pretty picture on so many levels.

All I can say is kudos to the business community. You are the true heroes of 2020 and 2021.

So, let’s consider why so many business owners have kept on keeping on, even when things have looked so bleak. In my own experience, it sometimes comes down to a conscious and personal choice about whether to live in a climate of fear or a climate of opportunity. Let’s face it, over the last 18 months, we have all seen examples of both and have probably even experienced both ourselves.

This is not about being Pollyanna and ignoring the sometimes seemingly insurmountable challenges of operating a business in a global pandemic with disruptions, lockdowns and restrictions. Quite the opposite. Instead, it’s about being extraordinarily resilient. It’s about having a very different mindset, one that keeps telling you that there is always a way forward no matter how bad things may appear.
Again, kudos to the business community. I am in awe of your strength and fortitude.

If this conversation resonates with you, I now encourage you to think about another seemingly insurmountable challenge. Climate change.
With the recently released United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report stating that planet earth has entered “Code Red for humanity”, we have every reason to be fearful. Very fearful. However, it’s that very fear that will motivate us to act. Also, are we asking ourselves the right questions? Maybe, just maybe, there is an opportunity here.

As a jurisdiction, South Australia has one of highest uptakes of renewable energy on the planet. We are also leaders in everything from container deposit legislation, single use plastics, waste and recycling, battery storage technologies, wind farming, blue carbon innovation, sustainable water management and agricultural practices. We have real opportunities for green minerals, green steel production and green hydrogen, and the State Government has a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 (based on 2005 levels).

Let’s consider why? Well, that takes me back to South Australia’s entrepreneurial spirit and the creativity and resilience of the business community.

Ahead of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November, Business SA will host its very own Climate of Opportunity luncheon in Adelaide to explore the challenges for international trade and growth in the low emissions economy.

Guest speakers will include Hon David Speirs MP (Minister for Environment and Water, South Australia), Steph Lysaght (Consul-General of the UK), Akhil Abraham (Head of Climate Diplomacy at the British High Commission, Canberra) and a panel of South Australian business leaders who will discuss how we can position our businesses for future success in a changing world.

Thank you for reading my blog : The Martin Haese Report.

If you haven’t already joined my network, you can sign up for free. Please do not hesitate to recommend my blog to any of your friends, family or colleagues who share our common interests.

With kind regards,

Martin Haese MBA

Environmental Leadership


Welcome to the Martin Haese Report, the sixth in my series of musings on entrepreneurial leadership. With COVID-19 having wreaked havoc across industry sectors around the world and in turn disrupting how many do business, a growing number of people are asking whether it’s time to reconsider the business community’s relationship with the natural environment. I am one of those who believe that it is now timely to discuss how entrepreneurial and environmental leadership intersect.

COP21 Paris 2015
Before we commence, some context that qualifies me to share my thoughts on this topic. In my former role as Lord Mayor of Adelaide, I was invited to attend the United Nations COP21 in Paris in December 2015 where I spoke at several functions including the Sustainable Innovation Forum. It was at COP21 that I grasped the significance and strategic importance of South Australia’s renewable energy leadership and the high regard in which the State is held on the world stage.

It was also in Paris that I signed the Compact of Mayors, met with world leaders who are committed to environmental and economic leadership, and committed to educating myself about climate change adaptation, mitigation, the growth of low emissions industries and the circular economy.

Over the ensuing years as Lord Mayor, I focused my energies on translating South Australia’s renewable energy leadership into practical actions within the City of Adelaide. These included the City of Adelaide’s Carbon Neutral Strategy 2015-2025, the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Action Plan 2016-2021, Sustainability Incentives SchemeSolar Savers Adelaide, the roll out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and many tree planting, waste and water management programs.

In January 2019, South Australian State Minister David Speirs MP appointed me as Chair of the Premier’s Climate Change Council (PCCC) where I have since worked alongside a talented group of fellow Council members to advise and inform the State Government on climate change adaptation, mitigation and the importance of low emissions industries in South Australia.

In September this year, I (virtually) attended a number of sessions at Climate Week 2020 in New York City where I watched HRH Prince Charles’ inspirational address;

Has COVID displaced climate change?
While the global pandemic continues to dominate the headlines, there is a growing anxiety that some other pressing issues are being neglected, most notably climate change. This is a topic that was swept to the top of the national agenda when the drought culminated in last summer’s devastating bushfires, but was quickly set aside with the onset of COVID-19 only three months later.

But rather than despair, I suggest that the pandemic may in fact provide an opportunity to reassess, recalibrate and refocus on climate change issues, as COVID-19 has resulted in many people developing a greater awareness and appreciation for the natural environment.

For many, COVID-19 has forced a rethink about how we consume, where we consume, and who we consume from. This is resulting in a protracted shift towards people wanting to buy from and do business with organisations that either have an environmental sustainability policy (ESP), a goal for carbon neutrality, are actively involved in the circular economy, or have greater transparency about their waste cycle.

Consumer behaviour is changing
Consumer sentiment and behaviour is changing and if businesses don’t respond to the needs of their customers then they are often not in business for much longer. With more organisations putting measures in place that govern how and where they invest, there is a stronger emphasis being placed on whether organisations are making investments into climate aware and climate appropriate companies.

Insurable risk is another key consideration in business decision making, and assessing climate risk is already driving behavioural change within the business community. To illustrate the point, in January 2020, the Vice Chairman of BlackRock discussed their plan to avoid investments with high sustainability-related risk as climate concerns are driving a sweeping change in the way the firm invests and manages its $7 trillion in assets.

An opportunity rich environment
With rapid advances in technology, changing consumer behaviour and new demands being placed upon institutional investors, the low emissions sector is clearly the next big thing. If the steel, plastic, aluminium, cement, food and agriculture sectors were each to adopt circular and low carbon practices, not only would 9 billion tonnes of carbon be saved by 2050, a multi-trillion dollar carbontech sector would be unleashed.

In the following video, I share my thoughts on how climate change and technological innovation are catalysing the growth of low emissions industries and greater innovation within the circular economy.

However, while the economy is clearly important, I caution you against thinking that every climate related problem or opportunity must be considered in pure economic terms. After all, it has been that very thinking that has got into the predicament we currently find ourselves. Sometimes doing the right thing should be justification enough.

Thank you for reading my blog : The Martin Haese Report.

If you haven’t already joined my network, you can sign up for free. Please don’t hesitate to recommend my blog to any of your friends, family or colleagues who share our common interests.

With kind regards,

Martin Haese MBA

How will South Australia’s single use plastic ban impact you?

Just stop and count how much plastic is in your immediate vicinity right now.

It’s in our phones, our clothes, the seats we sit on – plastic is everywhere. 

Plastic is so useful that we produced an estimated 7.8 billion tonnes of plastic between 1950 and 2015 – that’s more than 1 tonne of plastic for every person on the planet today.

But there is a difference between ‘useful’ and ‘convenient’ and the line has become increasingly blurred. 

In 2015 alone, we produced 381 million tonnes of plastic and 146 million tonnes of that was used for packaging. 

That’s around 38.5% of total plastic production going into packaging – the stuff we use once and throw away.

You can read more about global plastic production, uses and disposal at

South Australia has consistently punched above its weight when it comes to recycling and reducing consumer waste – we developed a container deposit scheme 40 years before the rest of Australia and introduced a ban on plastic shopping bags nearly a decade before the other states even noticed they were a problem.

It seems like every South Australian has a story about crossing our borders and noticing the cans and bottles littering the roadsides.

So it’s no surprise that South Australians are leading the way again.

Earlier this year the SA Government released a discussion paper and subsequent stakeholder engagement found overwhelming public support for government action to reduce single use plastic consumption.

Recognising that businesses will need a transition period, the government will act on single use plastic in three phases;

Phase 1 – banning plastic straws, cutlery and stirrers – starting as soon as they can get legislation through parliament in early 2020 and the minister has assured us that valid concerns from disability and aged groups have been heard.

Phase 2 – banning polystyrene cups and polystyrene takeaway containers as well as ‘oxo’ degradable plastic bags (the ones that are degradable over a longer period of time but aren’t compostable or biodegradable)

I suspect there are many who would like to see Phase 2 brought forward but the government has wisely chosen to flag these changes up to a year in advance to give businesses time to transition to alternatives.

Phase 3 – Will see more consultation and research into banning or further recycling options for other items such as takeaway coffee cups, thicker (non compostable) plastic bags and other takeaway containers.

South Australians will do what they’ve always done – we will adapt our behaviour and lead the rest of the world.

You can download and read more about the government’s consultation process and subsequent plan at

Why I chose to support business in SA

Vision, strategy, communication, persistence and … 

Having owned my own businesses, taught university students, held public office and led positive change for communities, I have appreciated and learnt from each experience. However, it was those years as an entrepreneur and business owner leading a large team of employees that reinforced in me the importance of vision, strategy, communication and persistence. 

… an unwavering focus on the customer!

No matter what your industry or sector, customer centricity is vitally important. Customers are the very reason why we do what we do but nowhere are the lessons sharper or more immediately felt than the retail sector. It should therefore come as no surprise that I have taken a relentless, customer driven approach to everything I have done.

Change is the only constant

Technology is transforming the way that we work, communicate, live and recreate. Automation will even inevitably transform the way that we travel.

As Lord Mayor of Adelaide from 2014 - 2018, I delivered Ten Gigabit Adelaide; an ultra-fast fibre optic data network as a partnership between the City of Adelaide and TPG Telecom. I believe that digital infrastructure in a CBD environment has a transformative impact on underwriting the competitiveness of the city and the business community within it.

While disruption is frequently associated with new and innovative technology, this only tells part of the story. Technology is simply the enabler of new ideas and new ways of doing things, especially in business.

With change as the only constant and the pace of disruption accelerating as technology makes new things possible, many business leaders have identified the need to re-invent both themselves and their businesses. Most understand that if they don’t show leadership and disrupt their own business or industry, someone else will. 

Embracing disruption is the only option for building sustainable enterprises (both financially and environmentally) and far too many businesses owners have already learned, at great cost, that standing still and trying to deny and defy change is no longer an effective strategy.

Having built multiple businesses, I know what it means to take a financial risk and I have great empathy, insight and support for those that do the same. The relationship between risk and reward strikes to the very core of being a business owner.

My future blog posts will focus on the three important themes of leadership, reinvention and sustainability.

Business SA

I recently joined Business SA as CEO. 

The Sunday Mail 26 may 2019

Chris Russell - Sunday Mail (SA) 26th May 2019

Business SA is the peak body for employers and business owners and supports all industry sectors with a diverse offer of training solutions, mentoring, networking, export services, sponsorship opportunities and public and political advocacy. Business SA assists employers on a daily basis with navigating the complexities of employing staff and complying with their obligations.

As a former business owner, it was more often the things that I didn’t know that kept me up at night and as business becomes increasingly complex, it is Business SA’s core function to assist employers in growing their business and watching their back.

As the first Chamber of Commerce established in Australia, Business SA has an influential history, but it also has an exciting future with a leadership role to play for all South Australians because when businesses grow, there is more opportunity for everyone.

Premier’s Climate Change Council

Often, the reality of climate change is seen as an unsurmountable challenge or impost to be endured, however, this type of thinking ignores the opportunities and denies the potential of emerging industries. As Chair of the Premier’s Climate Change Council in South Australia, I will be looking at sustainable development from both an environmental and economic perspective. 

South Australia is well placed to lead the world in providing solutions to address climate change and other sustainability related technologies. It is my personal challenge to identify and champion the innovative solutions created by South Australian entrepreneurs so that they can provide them locally, nationally and globally. 

Thank you for subscribing to my Blog

Thank you for subscribing to my blog and stay tuned for my next post where I will be sharing with you some thoughts about the nature of entrepreneurs and whether being an entrepreneur is something innate or is a skill that can be learned.

If you haven't already joined my network, you can sign up here for free and please don't hesitate to recommend my blog to any of your friends, family or colleagues who share our common interests. Bye for now.

Kind regards,

Martin Haese MBA

What keeps the world’s business leaders up at night?


Each year the World Economic Forum asks business leaders and other experts which major threats they believe countries are most likely to face in the coming decade. In the latest report, the top three global risks concern the environment and climate change—with destructive weather leading the pack for the third year in a row. For Americans, it seems, that threat is already here. Last year there were 14 weather disasters in the U.S. with losses topping $1 billion each—from Hurricanes Florence and Michael to the devastating California wildfires. That’s more than twice the annual average from 1980 to 2018.

A version of this article appears in the March 2019 issue of Fortune magazine with the headline, “What Scares the World.”


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