city of Sydney Women4Climate meeting in Sydney

The City of Sydney has paired 20 emerging climate leaders with 20 established climate leaders in the country’s first iteration of the Women4Climate mentoring program.

The program, created by the global C40 network, aims to empower women to take meaningful action on climate change by fostering opportunities to network and share knowledge.

Starting in May this year, the program will run until April 2020, culminating in a Women4Climate Conference at Sydney’s Town Hall.

Mentors will help the 20 emerging leaders with their projects, which will be presented at the conference at the end of the program.

The program aims to support women and their chosen climate-related project, helping them to build networks and knowledge through collaboration with their mentor and the rest of the program’s cohort, City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said

“Together, they will develop innovative projects to tackle climate change and maintain hope in the face of state and federal inaction on climate change,” Cr Moore said. “We expect great things of these dynamic teams.”

Mentors include founder and chief executive officer of climate change action group 1 Million Women, Natalie Isaacs; the director and chief executive of the Australian Museum, Kim McKay AO; the CEO of Greater Sydney Commission, Dr Sarah Hill; and managing editor and publisher of The Fifth Estate, Tina Perinotto.

“These 20 women represent the smart and fearless climate advocates we urgently need to tackle our climate emergency,” said the Lord Mayor.

The mentees’ projects range from greener energy solutions to financial frameworks for climate change and pathways for specific venues, such as the Opera House, to achieve climate positive goals.

For example, in her ‘Smart Waste Collection’ project, Duygu Caymaz will draw on her  background as an environmental engineer to develop recommendations for improving the waste management strategies in terms of budget, equipment, labour and time.

Cities don’t manage their waste collection efficiently, Ms Caymaz said.

“While developed countries tend to spend more on waste management processes due to environmental concerns, refuse or waste collection still seems to be managed with traditional methods and it is not progressing fast enough,” she said.

Ms Caymaz is being mentored by Ming Long, chairman of AMP Capital Funds Management and deputy chair of the Diversity Council of Australia.

Another mentee, Jacqueline Fetchet, is a renewable energy lawyer with a passion for building communities and sharing knowledge. Ms Fetchet is also a founding member of the Pingala community solar co-operative and her project, Bright Sparks, builds on that experience.

She said her motivation for and commitment to creating a better and more sustainable planet stemmed from her time surrounded by “brilliant, motivated and passionate young people” at the UNFCCC Paris climate conference in 2015, which left her keen to create space for more diverse voices in the energy sector.

“Bright Sparks is a network for engaged, motivated and passionate young renewable energy professionals across Australia,” she said.

“Our mission is to empower the next generation to deliver a clean energy future. Our vision is to build a sustainable network of young people working in renewable energy with the skills, connections and resources to have a voice and be leaders in our sector.”

Ms Fetchet is being mentored by Monica Barone, the CEO of the City of Sydney and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Chief Executive Women.

A full list of the mentees and their mentors can be found on the Women4Climate website.

The City of Sydney joins Paris, London, Montreal, Vancouver, Tel Aviv-Yafo and a number of other cities around the world in offering the mentoring program.

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