Case for Action

Why Associations?

Associations' unique role

Associations are responsible for delivering services to their members, and must now adapt to offer a climate-wise future. Climate change is now a worsening certainty, and there is increased momentum to reduce emissions from all sectors and sources.  Associations must now rework their strategies, plans, investments and programs to lead their members forward to cut emissions and risks.

Business, industry, professional and community associations need to update the support and leadership they provide to their members to remain relevant and respected. Members select and rely on associations for practical advice, leadership and solutions. With climate change and cuts to emissions a big, growing priority associations have to be ready to answer questions, assist and survive.         

One thing is certain: those that succeed are the ones implementing strategies, reducing risks, embracing opportunities and cutting carbon emissions.   

Associations' key advantages

A key advantage of associations is the flow-on leadership effect and vast stakeholder network. Active associations engage and influence their members, their wider industry, governments and sector audiences/customers.      

Associations and climate change Association influence diagram
The standout aspect of a climate program targeting associations is its multiplier effect.

Action by a single association will influence its members, who in turn, can bring about change across all relationships and activities

The other key advantage is associations’ unique understanding of the particular sector or field in which they operate. Retailers know supply chains, architects know buildings, farmers know agriculture, and so on. With the combined knowledge of their members, associations can best identify the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and factor those into strategic plans. 

Check out our Shining examples page to see how associations have already used their sector knowledge to implement climate-wise strategies.

Director's duties and liabilities​​

Company directors who ignore or mismanage climate-related risks could be held personally liable for breaching their legal duties under the Corporations Act.
Directors liability climate change Noel Hutley
Noel Hutley
Senior Counsel

In case you missed it, in 2016 and again in 2019 the Centre for Policy Development explored climate risks in terms of company directors’ duties.

The centrepiece of this work was a ground-breaking legal opinion on directors’ duties and climate risk commissioned by CPD in partnership with the Future Business Council. The opinion found that company directors who ignore or mismanage climate-related risks could be held personally liable for breaching their legal duties under the Corporations Act. 

This not only applies to ASX listed companies. If your association has not yet informed your board and members of this explicit risk to directors, do so now.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors has published the Climate Risk Governance Guide and provides many resources on its website. AICD is also host of the Australian Chapter of the Climate Governance Initiative.        

"I'm too busy to do anything about climate change."
We're all guilty of a little procrastination. But the longer we leave a task, the harder it gets. And climate change is the hardest group assignment we'll ever face. 

Why act on climate change and emissions?

Costs, but also benefits
We are already counting the costs from climate-driven disasters of record wildfires, droughts, cyclones, flooding and diseases – and the costs are rising as climate change worsens.
These worsening climate impacts don’t only cause physical damage to property, the ripple effects spread wide. Supply chains are disrupted, costs rise, plans are quashed, confidence and security vanishes. Economic and community activity is disrupted, productivity is lost, and health costs – both physical and mental – rise.

Yet, there are many benefits for those that act to become climate-wise. Benefits include – revitalised relevant programs, retained and new members, competitive advantage, profile with new sponsors, partners and governments, and leadership reputation. Visit our page Benefits of climate-wise action.

The pressure to become climate-wise will only grow, as will the scrutiny of decision makers and influencers on their emissions and adaptations.
Current climate impacts are due to historic emissions and every cut in emissions now minimises climate severity in the future.
Collective action is vital

Governments, companies and communities around the world are pledging, pivoting and transforming to both cut emissions drastically by at least 50% by 2030 and to minimise climate change impacts upon their operations, assets and future.

Every association is being impacted, and every one makes a difference.

"Of course, the COVID is there, it's in front of us, it is affecting our families, our friends, our relatives. It's a very serious crisis the world is facing, but climate change will have a more significant medium and long term impact on the human life and on Earth ... and unfortunately, there's no vaccine for climate change."
Australian floods