1 March 2022, MelbourneThe EU-Australian Climate Business Network completed its current two and a half year program of knowledge sharing and engagement activities early this year. An initiative of the European Union, for which Climate KIC was the delivery partner, the Network project was supported under the EU’s Strategic Partnerships for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPIPA) to provide a platform for exchange between Australian and European business communities on the challenges and opportunities associated with the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

With the release of the Australian Sustainable Finance Roadmap in November 2020 by the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI), Network activities were extended to facilitate sharing among Australian and European Union experts to highlight potential areas of alignment between their respective sustainable finance and investment frameworks.

Industry bodies and policymakers welcomed the opportunity for engagement between European and Australian counterparts, and the Network was seen as a constructive initiative to foster bilateral relations and enhance collaboration on the shared challenges of industry transitions. In most cases, it was found there were no or limited existing linkages between equivalent sectoral associations.

Over the course of the project, the Network presented over 22 knowledge sharing industry events to more than 1500 participants predominantly from the business sector together with federal/state policymakers. As well as direct industry association to association engagement and regular wider dissemination of EU policy and industry developments, these activities formed a broad network of engagement across some 12 industry sectors, including built environment, ocean energy, insurance, trade, waste management, major infrastructure and the circular economy.

For Australian participants, significant interest was shown in applied EU policy or case studies with substantive content about EU industry experiences. The development of domestic Federal policies such as the adaptation and technology roadmaps, Net Zero Plan, investment in waste management infrastructure, together with international and company developments around COP26 generated increased interest in EU policy approaches to sustainable finance, resource recovery, circular economy, and trade agreements.

These project activities established the Network as a key contact point to engage with EU policies and industry in those sectors where deeper relationships between trade association were developed and could inform their domestic strategic and policy agenda. Ongoing interest has been shown in more structured engagement through the Network on shared EU and Australian developments such as ocean energy, circular economy, embedded carbon in the built environment and major climate risks and adaptation for major infrastructure.

With a successor program to SPIPA currently being finalised by the EU and expected to be announced in in coming months, consideration is being given to the extension of the Network activities for a further phase, having regard to the focus themes of the EU-Australia country engagement strategy. Several project partners have already indicated their interest and intention to continue the collaboration with the Network and Climate-KIC Australia on themes of renewable energy, circular economy and sustainable finance.

For more information or to explore opportunities in this area, please contact Marian Schoen, Director – EU-Australian Climate Business Network.

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