Geoff Summerhayes, the man who controversially put the risks of global warming at the heart of the financial services conversation in Australia, has joined think tank Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) as chair.
This comes after his five-year term as a board member of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority ended 12 months ago and nine months after he joined advisory group Pollination as senior advisor, adding to a range of other notable board and advisory positions.
It’s a big fillip for BZE, led by irrepressible chief executive Heidi Lee who has huge ambitions for the organisation, including the transition of Australian manufacturing zones to renewable energy.
This year, the organisation was identified by Giving Green as one of the most impactful organisations working on systemic policy change in Australia. It also received a grant from The Myer Foundation.
A report from it published in September predicts that if Australia exports green energy it could be worth $333 billion a year by 2050, almost triple the value of current fossil fuel exports.
Mr Summerhayes believes there are “huge opportunities” for Australia to “embrace a net zero future”.
“Having helped raise awareness of the financial risk of climate change and shaped the regulatory response both in Australia and internationally, it is invigorating to be working with BZE on the opportunities that arise from the massive transformation of the global economy to a low carbon future,” he said.
Mr Summerhayes takes over from Eytan Lenko who served for nine years and is a well known technology entrepreneur.
At the time Mr Summerhayes took on the Pollination role, the company, founded by Tony O’Sullivan and Martijn Wilder, had completed a $15 million Series A fundraising last year that valued the company at about $130 million, according to The AFR.
He told the newspaper he would work on a range of projects including the creation of funds for investing in natural capital, previously viewed as an economic resource to be exploited but which was now a “huge global investment opportunity”.
“You can’t do business on a dead planet,” he said.
He received flak for his views at the time, said, “I think it was playing into a difficult political environment here even though there was a lot of pent-up demand from the boardrooms of Australia who were attuned to the issues.”