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Leading Voices in Global Sustainability

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Simone

Simone Rennie

Co-Founding Partner, Rennie Partners

10 Questions to Change The World

March 2022

How do you think climate change and the global sustainability agenda will
impact your industry over the next 3-5 years?

Climate change is one of the most important issues that the world is currently facing, and its impacts will be felt in one way or another by every country, economy, sector, business, and person across the globe.  As a net-zero focused advisory firm, we work across a range of sectors and organisations to help address the complex questions and challenges associated with the transition to a decarbonised future.  For example, we work closely with high carbon emitting, difficult to abate companies seeking to understand climate change related risks and opportunities, and how they can transition their businesses.  We also work with companies that are entering new markets or developing new technologies to enable the transition.  Energy, transport and fuels sectors are being particularly impacted now.  Agriculture, water and financial services are next.

What is one ‘sustainability hack’ you’d recommend to an organisation wanting to transform into a more sustainable operation?

Too often sustainability can be seen through a compliance lens, although this is changing.  For organisations not sure where to start, our suggested hack is to fully understand what net-zero means for you and your business.  Firstly, focus on understanding and achieving consensus on the most likely physical and transitional scenario for your business.  Secondly, take a measured and data driven approach to understanding the implications of that scenario on your business.  Thirdly, seek to understand the risks and opportunities that arise from those impacts.  Fourthly, focus on the least-regret decisions you need to make today to become a sustainable business.  Carbon emitting businesses will be increasingly penalised through policy and stakeholder interventions, and so there is no option for complacency. 

For organisations not sure where to start, our suggested hack is to fully understand what net-zero means for you and your business.

Why have you embraced sustainability in your professional career?

Our mission is to help companies as they make difficult decisions in the transition to a net-zero future.  This is a purpose which is aligned to the interests of humanity and society, and we take it seriously.  We established Rennie Partners so we could work with an amazing team of people who are aligned to that mission, and to empathetically support clients who are committed to change and a decarbonised future.

What are some of the wins you have achieved in your career to date?

Energy, transport and fuels sectors are being particularly impacted now.  Agriculture, water and financial services are next.

One of my career highlights was working at the London Development Agency in the lead up to the London Olympics.  It was great to be involved in working with the Board and stakeholders on the legacy of the games for London.  While I was at consulting firm EY, I had the opportunity to work as part of the global power and utilities team, contributing to energy transition and reform solutions and capability build across its Mexico,

Japan, Europe, Africa and United States practices.  At the Australian Energy Market Operator, I was involved in a range of regulatory reforms consequent to the energy transition.  I'm most proud though of the values-based and mission-focused team and business that we are building at Rennie Partners.

What do you want to have achieved before you retire?

Our aim is to be a leading, well-respected net-zero strategy, regulatory and commercial advisory firm in Australia.  As part of that, I have a personal goal of building the best energy regulation team in Australia, helping clients to shape and navigate reforms and regulatory changes ahead of time.

What advice would you give for organisations looking to start or advance on their sustainability journey?

Be purpose led and seek to work with a team of people with whom you have a strong values alignment.  At the end of the day, how we treat each other and our planet matters.

Who do you go to for inspiration in this space?

Be purpose led and seek to work with a team of people with whom you have a strong values alignment.

There are a range of amazing individuals and organisations leading the way in this space, and others that understand the importance of transitioning their businesses, which inspires me.  One organisation that should be applauded is the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  The work of its working groups - focused on understanding the scientific basis of climate change, the impacts on our ecosystems, and pathways for mitigating climate change - is some of the most important work the United Nations undertakes and needs to be paid more attention.

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- Rennie Partners -

How do you offset your own footprint?

Unfortunately, we're not currently in a position to buy green power in our office building, and so we invest in offsets, including whenever we fly, and undertake sustainable practices, such as recycling, wherever we can.  But like most of us, we need to do more and are working with our team to identify projects that we can actively get involved in.

What is your one ‘guilty / non-eco’ pleasure? (that you can’t live without)

To be honest, living in Brisbane, air-conditioning in summer is my non-eco guilty pleasure.  I also couldn't live without coffee, dark chocolate, my partner in life and business, and our family.

If you had to choose one person, organisation or community to lead the world in sustainability, who would it be and why?

The financial community is playing an increasingly influential role in the transition to a net-zero future.  They will lead investment, which will in turn define economics and enable change - hopefully sooner rather than later.

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Are you our next Leading Voice?

If you have a story to tell, we want to tell it…

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"If working apart we are a force powerful enough to destabilise our planet, surely working together we are powerful enough to save it. In my lifetime I have witnessed a terrible decline. In yours you could - and should - see a wonderful recovery.”

 

-​ Sir David Attenborough