Turning challenges into opportunities was a strong theme at the recent 'Pulse - The next wave of marine science and innovation' event in the South West of WA.
Held at the Busselton Jetty, the event brought together the Blue Gravity initiative and Connect Sustainable Industries program, supported by For Blue, Innovation Cluster, and Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.
Following introductory remarks from our speakers, we got stuck into facilitated ‘fishbowl’ discussion in small groups who then reported back.
Fox Glove Capital’s Matthew Bungey said that there was a feeling that Australia has for too long lagged behind the rest of the world in governments' climate change and carbon emissions policies, which has hampered the development of carbon markets.
“But the nice thing about the carbon market is that it doesn’t have to regulated by the government because shareholders and consumers are increasingly going to make the decision for companies. We will buy your product – if you’re doing the right thing,” he said.
Canopy Blue’s Jon-Paul Cox talked about protection measures no longer being optional in any new oceanic developments:
“The protection of the ocean has to be built into whatever we’re doing. If we build a jetty, it has to have a positive impact overall. Because we’re not seeming to slow down our consumer culture, we’re going full steam ahead. So it has to be a side effect that if we’re doing something in the ocean, what we do is also good for the ocean.”
It was interesting to hear from Lyn Beazley, as the Busselton Jetty Patron, speak about the opportunities to further market the jetty as a tourism draw card. But as many of us know, this activity takes time and money. But could education play a role there?
“We need to be doing more training, education, career opportunities. The jetty staff do a fantastic job with the Incursion Program and I think we scale that up to all ages and actually offer some marine training and courses down here,” said Tash Teakle, summarising the discussions she was part of.
Gillian Starling made a great point about sustainability not being just about the environment. After all, the ‘E’ only makes up one of three letters in the ESG acronym and investors will want to see progress on each.
“The really important role the private sector is going to play in both identifying and innovating the ideas and funding it. Most companies, to get finance, need to demonstrate they have good ESG targets and they are setting and meeting those.”
There is amazing resource in Western Australia. And not just in terms of our oceans, but in terms of our people, potential supporters and collaborators, increasingly supportive governments, and programs like Blue Gravity run through For Blue and Connect Sustainable Industries run through Innovation Cluster.
There is a lot of energy out there and this isn’t an isolated event this panel. We are at the leading edge of something great here in Western Australia.
If you missed out on this event, it’d be great to see you at future events. Sign up to our newsletter and ensure you get advance notice on the great program of events For Blue has planned for the rest of 2022.