South Pole's Luke Poliszcuk introduces the inaugural Climate and Energy Leaders Forum to an attentive audience

The night of Wednesday, July 11th not only saw the second semifinal of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, with Croatia eliminating England from the running, or the third game of the 2018 State of Origin Series. It also saw the birth of a new and exciting format in the Australian sustainability landscape.

On Wednesday, 11 July South Pole launched the first event of its “Climate and Energy Leaders Forum" event series, kindly hosted by EnergyLab on Buckland Street, Chippendale in Sydney's inner-city. With over 150 registrations, the sold-out event saw a diverse crowd of seasoned sustainability professionals and enthusiasts from both the public and the private sector, as well as academia.

Hosted by South Pole's Luke Poliszcuk, the event was a real success. The evening kicked off with an hour of casual networking to put the crowd at ease where they made new connections and rekindled existing ones. Next, a series of expert speakers each presented a professional challenge they are faced with. Speakers included representatives of the University of Sydney, Siemens, Smart Commercial Solar, GECA (Good Environmental Choice Australia), NuGreen Solutions, as well as South Pole.

After a general introduction of each of the speakers' organisations, they introduced their individual challenge to an attentive audience in a plenary format. Attendees then joined a working group for the challenge they were interested in solving.

Dr. Thomas Schröder,South Pole's Director of Marketing and Communications presents his challenge in the climate and energy space

Tom Schröder, South Pole's Director of Marketing and Communications presents his challenge in the climate and energy space, while James Davis of Siemens and Tanya Fiedler from the University of Sydney watch on

Dr Tanya Fiedler from the University of Sydneyr

Dr Tanya Fiedler from the University of Sydney explaining her challenge to the crowd

These challenges were then discussed in small break-out groups, which represented the breadth of expertise in the room. The challenges included:

  • Ensuring new financing models to further propel the expansion of solar,
  • Ensuring the launch of social infrastructure in the region,
  • Bridging the gap between corporates and academia with regards to climate change,
  • Fostering stakeholder engagement for the climate and energy performance of buildings,
  • Looking at the potential branding upsides for businesses embracing sustainability for boosting their business operations.

The break-out groups all witnessed lively discussions with real outcomes that inspired all participants.

The breakout sessions in full swing CLF Sydney 2018

The breakout sessions in full swing

After wrapping up the breakout groups, speakers gave an overview of the discussions had in their groups, and communicated the key takeaways for their individual challenge. Participants expressed that this new format was inspiring and interactive – as well as productive and effective, delivering real solutions.

The evening was concluded with further networking, vivid exchanges and an outlook on a promising future. Concrete plans were made for future challenges for upcoming events.

The speaker presentations and breakout session CLF Sydney 2018

The speaker presentations and breakout sessions were bookended by lively networking

Subsequent editions of the "Climate and Energy Leaders Forum" will dedicate specific attention to themes such as quantifying environmental outcomes and impacts, providing a platform for networks dedicated to promoting sustainability, contributing to the annual Global Climate Week events in New York City in September, and many more.

Attendees left the event inspired and energised, ready to solve the pressing challenges our society and the environment are facing in the climate and energy space. Not only that, they also left with a sense of having contributed to the beginning of something significant and impactful, and of being a part of a new movement to push the sustainability agenda in Sydney and across Australia.

South Pole looks forward to the next events in the Climate and Energy Leaders' series in Sydney. Building on this experience, the plan is to roll it out nationally, with Melbourne as the next host destination already in sight.

Keep checking back on our South Pole Events Page to find out when the next events from the Climate and Energy Leaders Forum series are happening, and for details on how to register.