Climate Change, Capitalism & Corporations

Monday 19 October 2015 6.00—7.30PM

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Lecture Theatre 4002 (Messel) Sydney Nanoscience Hub (Enter via Physics Rd; take path between Physics Building and Edward Ford) The University of Sydney


Recognising the role business can play in tackling climate change.

Climate change is the greatest challenge we will face this century. Indeed, the worst-case scenarios paint an unimaginable vision of large tracts of the Earth rendered uninhabitable, the collapse of global food production, mass species extinction, the acidification of the oceans, substantial sea-level rises and storms and droughts of growing intensity. Yet, despite the need for dramatic economic and political change, corporate capitalism continues to rely on the maintenance of ‘business as usual’.

In this special Sydney Ideas event a panel of leading thinkers explore how business has responded to the climate crisis and what a more constructive role might involve? Based on the new book Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-Destruction by Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg, discussion will explore the links between corporate capitalism and human-induced climate disruption, the dominance of a ‘fossil fuels forever’ imaginary, and the possibility of alternatives to ‘business as usual’.

About the Chair

Amanda McKenzie is an environmental leader and CEO of the Climate Council, which was launched following Australia’s largest ever crowd-funding campaign. She is Chair of the Centre for Australian Progress and on the Board of Plan International Australia. In 2014, Amanda was recognised as one of Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence. Previously, Amanda founded the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

About the Speakers

Clive Hamilton is Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University and one of the country’s most prominent public intellectuals. He has published extensively on issues of political economy, ethics and climate change including the books Requiem for a Species: Why we resist the thruth about climate change (Earthscan, 2010) and Earthmasters: The dawn of the age of climate engineering (Yale University Press, 2013). Founder and former Executive Director of the progressive think-tank The Australia Institute, Professor Hamilton is also a member of the Climate Change Authority.

Christopher Wright is Professor of Organisational Studies and leader of the Balanced Enterprise Research Network (BERN) at the University of Sydney Business School. His current research explores organizational and societal responses to anthropogenic climate change, particularly how managers and business organizations interpret and respond to climate change.

Daniel Nyberg is Professor of Management at Newcastle Business School and an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney. His research focuses on political activities in and by organizations. His current research explores this in projects on how corporations respond to climate change, engage in public debates and influence democracy.

David Ritter is the Chief Executive Officer of Greenpeace Australia Pacific. Before taking up his present position, David worked for Greenpeace in London in a series of senior campaign positions. Prior to joining Greenpeace, David was one of Australia’s leading Indigenous rights lawyers. David is a widely published commentator on current affairs and is the author of two books on native title.