Macquarie Group chief executive Shemara Wikramanayake

Macquarie Group’s new chief executive Shemara Wikramanayake might be trying to reverse some of the damage from its bad old #MeFirst days with a new thrust into climate action and green investment.

Remember when MacBank bought Sydney Airport from the Feds and did its best to eliminate public transport by allowing just one bus service and a rail link that’s just a dollar or two cheaper than a taxi.

Wikramanayake who was announced as new chief executive in mid 2018 and took the reins in November, has called for “significant and urgent” rise in clean energy and climate investment after being appointed to a powerful new United Nations Climate Finance Leadership Initiative, The Australian said on Monday.

The finance group set up by Michael Bloomberg comprises some of the most powerful money people on the planet, and is designed to help facilitate the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Members also include chief executive of Goldman Sachs David Solomon, AXA’s Thomas Buberl, HSBC’s John Flint, executive managing director of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Hiro Mizuno and head of Enel Francesco Starace.

Macquarie had already signalled its intentions to go greener. As reported by The Fifth Estate in 2017 it fought a fierce battle against sceptics about its credentials and track record in order to buy control of the British government’s Green Investment Bank and in a seminal public comment not long ago said two global mega trends to pay attention to – one was clean energy and the other was impact investment.

It also converted a beautiful heritage building in Sydney’s Martin Place into new offices. It put an urban garden and chooks on the roof along with the then-radical idea of a yoga and music rooms for its staff. Mind, we’re not sure if all these elements are still there nor whether staff were permitted sufficient time to use these de-stressing work-life balance facilities. Regardless, it shocked the industry and set a precedent that so many others have now followed).

Ms Wikramanayake told The Australian: “The world requires a significant and urgent increase in annual climate investment.

“This mission will require every part of the green investment community — in the public, private and third sectors — to pull together to scale up best practice, remove barriers to investment and deliver innovative new solutions on an unprecedented scale.”

The newspaper said that the bank now had $1.3 billion invested in green energy.

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