Alex Stathakis

Brisbane-based Alexander Stathakis, who previously worked with Net Balance, has started his own consultancy because he can see some interesting opportunities.

Most of the consulting advice sought by Brisbane companies in relation to energy efficiency, carbon management and supply chain processes are sourced from companies in Melbourne or Sydney, he told The Fifth Estate in a recent phone conversation.

His new company, Conversio, will aim to meet local needs in carbon and energy with a local flavour.

So what does that mean? Well, it’s a little awkward to explain, it seems. Let’s say there’s a strong emphasis in the state on companies dominated by the resources sector, which has not been exactly enamoured of anything with a climate change or carbon reduction label attached.

Stathakis, who also managed the CitySwitch program when he was at Net Balance, said the job calls for particular sensitivities. For example, language: “energy efficiency”, “resource management” and “waste minimisation” are fine; “carbon reduction” is not.

You can’t get far in Queensland by saying, “Sustainability is the right thing to do,” Stathakis says.

“It’s all about return on investment. It’s to do with the [resources] industries traditionally inherent in Queensland”.

The last few years of people “screaming and shouting” about climate, he says, have not been a happy place for business trying to respond to policy signals and forced into hiring and firing rounds so they can fulfil carbon accounting obligations that change on an hourly basis.

Stathakis has broadened his skills to include being one of the few certified airport carbon accreditors, and he also previously worked with Low Carbon Australia, where he ran the NCOS Carbon Neutral Program.

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