Elizabeth Maruma Mrema
TNFD co-chair, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema

A newly formed taskforce will help put a price on environmental damage and steer financial and corporate institutions in a more sustainable direction, continuing a trend of new jobs being created in the sector. 

The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) officially launched this week, looking to build on the success of its six-year-old precursor, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

It will aim to encourage a “shift in global financial flows away from nature-negative outcomes and towards nature-positive outcomes”.

It’s a win for those in the conservation industry and finance whizzes with a sustainability bent, who may find themselves the hot new property as corporates scramble to measure environmental impact and meet sustainability targets.

The TNFD will be co chaired by David Craig, chief executive of Refinitiv and group leader of data and analytics division at London Stock Exchange Group and Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.  

Operating under the oversight of the co-chairs will be a small TNFD Secretariat, led by an executive director and staffed with a team of yet to be appointed full-time employees.

The Secretariat will support the work of the co-chairs, coordinating working groups, managing the day-to-day and maintaining contact with members and other TNFD contributors.

A spokesperson for the taskforce told The Fifth Estate the new positions would be located globally, which last we checked includes Australia, so as they put it, “watch this space!”

As was pointed out in David Thorpe’s latest article this week, nature and the global economy are intrinsically entwined. The TNFD places the value of nature-dependent output at roughly US$44tn. 

While our ravaging of the natural world creates severe economic risk, the upside of this dependence means that action for nature-positive transitions could generate up to US$10.1 trillion in annual business value and create a staggering 395 million jobs by 2030, according to World Economic Forum modelling. 

Director of science and technology at XDI Cross Dependency Initiative, Karl Mallon, welcomed the advent of the TNFD on social media, saying global regulatory change was helping to drive demand for similar services.

“After working for many years in the area of assessing climate risk, spending months at a time helping decision makers understand why they should direct their attention to the issue, I’m so pleased about the high speed trajectory we’re now seeing for the understanding and reporting of climate related financial risk,” Mallon said. 

ASFI Momentum Tracker 

A report released by the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI) this week found that as a whole, Australia’s finance sector was beginning to make the necessary changes to improve environmental outcomes. 

Based on recommendations set out in November of last year, the report showed that of 80 organisations assessed, many were taking concrete action including training bankers to identify climate-related financial risks and developing datasets on social and environmental issues.

“The Momentum Tracker shows the sector is moving from plans to action, demonstrating the

significant activity underway within Australia’s financial services sector to contribute to the delivery on our national goals, including net zero emissions by 2050,” ASFI co-chair Simon O’Connor said. 

“From some of the country’s largest super funds to our insurers and banks, the finance sector is keen to play a central role in Australia’s contribution to the Paris Agreement and our national response in the lead up to COP26 this November.”

Jobs for Passive House qualified tradies on the rise

Meanwhile, Australian Passive House Association chief executive officer Paul Wall says to expect a small surge in Passive House qualified tradies and designers soon judging by the rate of take up of the association’s training courses.

“We’re seeing a large demand, and more so for tradies than designers,” he said recently. According to Wall, 19 tradies took a recently completed course, and another course due to start soon after speaking to The Fifth Estate was on track for the same numbers.

And why the popularity? “The feedback is the clients are asking for it – mostly home builders.”

And although there’s been considerable customisation for Australian conditions the course is still marked by the international PH Institute to underpin global standards. By local conditions, he means there’s reference to the varying construction techniques of different countries. “Every country builds very differently,” he says.

The biggest barrier to growth of this type of construction, he says is the ability of builders and trades to deliver the necessary skills so it’s “great to see the trades course getting more demand than the designer course.”

There are now around 200 designers and the same number of builders qualified for PH. Most keen, he says are the chippies with NSW and Victoria leading demand.

A big bonus for the tradies is that the course includes how ventilation systems work, something not generally included in regular carpentry courses.

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