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Directors’ Duties and Climate Risks


When CPD set out on this work in early 2016, we began with the premise that performance and leadership on sustainability-related risks in the Australian corporate sector were lagging – but that the time was ripe for business leaders and regulators to make a more constructive, forward-looking contribution on long-term sustainability challenges. 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 analysis, as well as crucial developments like APRA’s recent statement on the importance of climate risks, has ensured that the financial implications of climate change are firmly on the agenda.

We are continuing are contribution with ongoing research in on two issues on how the findings on directors’ duties apply to decision makers in government bodies and public authorities, and on how businesses and investors can respond to growing demand for sophisticated, scenario-based analysis of their climate-related risks and opportunities.

Latest Articles


CPD climate work featured in 4Corners ‘Weather Alert’ report

communications - March 2018

Last night the ABC’s 4Corners program aired a special report about how Australian farmers, businesses and regulators are responding to climate change. CPD’s Sustainable Economy Program has been making the...

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CPD Board member Sam Mostyn on the evolving role of company directors

Travers McLeod - March 2018

Influential independent director and CPD Board Member Sam Mostyn delivered the  keynote at the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ 2018 Governance Summit on ‘’The evolving role of directors.” Full text...

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Building a Sustainable Economy | PUBLIC FORUM | November 2017

communications - November 2017

  On 29 November, CPD hosted the final event in our special 10th anniversary series – a public forum in Sydney on the theme ‘Building a sustainable economy.’ CPD’s Sustainable...

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Climate horizons: next steps for scenario analysis in Australia | DISCUSSION PAPER AND PUBLIC FORUM | November 2017

communications - November 2017

Today CPD releases a new discussion paper on how business and investors can use scenario analysis in order to better understand and respond to climate-related risks and opportunities. The paper,...

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Public Forum: Building a Sustainable Economy | EVENT | 29 November 2017 | Sydney

communications - November 2017

RSVP for free here.   When   29 November 2017 Wednesday Start 5:30pm – End 7:30pm Where Level 40 Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney NSW 2000 MinterEllison RSVP for...

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CPD’s recent work on climate change has focused on the implications of a changing climate for Australia’s national security. Our agenda-setting report The Longest Conflict (2015)

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We are currently undertaking new research to map Commonwealth and Victorian grants and programs that promote sustainable agriculture and food systems and biodiversity enhancement on private land.

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In 2016 we released a discussion paper by CPD Research Associate Alexander Marks on the future of Australia’s electricity system.

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Between 2011 and 2014 the Sustainable Economy Program completed a major research series on Australia’s marine economy, including a comprehensive assessment of the economic..

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