Toby Kent Future Business Council

City of Melbourne’s Toby Kent is taking the reins from Alison Rowe as chair of the Future Business Council (FBC), bringing his experience as Australia’s first chief resilience officer to the FBC board.

Four years of experience shoring up Melbourne’s resilience will be funnelled into FBC’s future-focused agenda, according to Mr Kent.

He told The Fifth Estate that although sustainability and resilience overlap, the difference between the two is that “resilience is more acknowledging that something will go wrong along the way”.

He says that “large corporate actors need to recognise this” and that those on the front foot are already starting to react.

“When people talk about the future of business… the hard-nosed bit is in the numbers.

“The way that we are continuing to produce and consume – it is a mathematical equation that we are using resources faster than we can replenish them – there is nothing more hard-nosed than a business thinking about how we are going to exist, as individual businesses and as a society as a whole.”

He says that “resilience is about the ability to adapt, to survive, and to thrive in the face of acute stresses and shocks”, and that the “opportunity is in the ‘thrive’ space”.

Mr Kent will also bring “sharpened understanding of the interdependency between actors” and hopes to drive greater collaboration between universities, government and industry through his role at the council.

FBC represents the interests of businesses that are genuinely interested in driving positive change. Since its offical launch date in 2015, FBC has grown to 140 members, including both start-ups and large corporations such as Qantas.

Mr Kent says the work of the council will become increasingly relevant if technology continues to advance at its current pace, which is “faster than predicted”.

Prior to joining the City Of Melbourne, Mr Kent worked with leading Melbourne businesses, including MMG mining corporation and ANZ bank, where he was head of sustainable development.

FBC’s outgoing chair Alison Rowe, chief executive of Moreland Energy Foundation, is stepping down after five years with the organisation.

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