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Frequently asked questions
What is Better Futures Australia?
Better Futures Australia is connecting climate champions from all sectors of our society – businesses and investors; state, territory and local governments; academic and cultural institutions; farmers; healthcare and social institutions; communities; and First Nations peoples. Together, we are sharing real-world opportunities of taking climate action today and showing local decision makers and the international community that Australians are ready to step up ambition on climate change.
Signatories to the Better Futures Australia declaration are committed to support climate action to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and deliver better futures for us all.
Better Futures Australia is a member of Alliances for Climate Action, a global network of domestic multi-stakeholder coalitions committed to supporting the delivery and enhancement of their countries' climate goals and collaborating to build the groundswell of climate action across the world. Member coalitions exist in Argentina, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, United States, and Vietnam, all working to create alliances that are championing higher climate ambition and supporting local stakeholders to make collaborative climate action a reality on the ground.
How is Better Futures Australia different from other engagements on climate change?
Better Futures Australia is unique because it aims to include a diversity of voices representing leaders from nearly every sector of society — companies and investors; farmers; industry bodies; First Nations organisations; healthcare institutions and social service organisations; state, territory and local governments; academic and cultural institutions; faith communities; cultural institutions and artists; and community organisations.
Acknowledging that we need everyone — across all walks of life — to realise the opportunities of a zero emissions future, Better Futures Australia works to complement efforts already underway and scale climate solutions and success stories across the country.
The initiative brings together and builds on a number of pre-existing climate action initiatives, alliances and coalitions that have been operating in Australia, providing a connective tissue to strengthen our collective efforts. For example, it builds on existing climate change engagement by connecting existing climate champions and supporting further efforts to engage and enable new climate champions from all walks of life.
There is no question that national targets and policies are needed to facilitate a smooth transition to a zero emissions economy, but together Better Futures Australia representatives are providing sustainable jobs, driving innovation, and collaborating to develop creative and inclusive solutions to climate change.
Who makes up the Better Futures Australia community?
Better Futures Australia’s (BFA) members and key partners represent over seven million Australians, totalling more than $330 billion in GDP, assets and market capitalisation. BFA’s membership includes all signatories, champions and ambassadors, as well as WWF Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation, two key partners that are actively engaged with the alliance. In most relevant cases, champions and ambassadors were assumed to represent the scope of their organisations. These figures were calculated using the most up to date information available, but are estimates and remain subject to change.
What proportion of Australian society and economy is represented?
Better Futures Australia (BFA) has a reach that extends close to 2 billion people, representing a combined total of almost $500 billion in GDP, assets and market capitalisation. These 2 billion people encompass all of BFA’s formal signatories, champions and ambassadors, as well as partner organisations, both domestic and international. Also included in this total reach are individuals that have engaged with BFA events in the past; are confirmed to speak at the Better Futures Forum; or have participated in the alliance's various Sector Working Groups. In most relevant cases, individuals were assumed to represent the scope of their organisations.
BFA’s total reach does not suggest formal membership in the alliance - it is an estimated calculation of the magnitude of the project, and comprises both formal and informal engagement. These figures were calculated using the most up to date information available, but are estimates and remain subject to change.
Who supports Better Futures Australia?
Better Futures Australia is supported by Climate Action Network Australia (CANA) which represents over 90 members working collectively to amplify climate action and drive further ambition at a national scale. Partners include ClimateWorks Australia; Investor Group on Climate Change; World Wide Fund for Nature Australia; Australian Council of Social Service; Australian Conservation Foundation; Climate and Health Alliance; Beyond Zero Emissions; Nature Conservation Council NSW; Australian Marine Conservation Society; The Sunrise Project; Fundación Avina; C40 Cities; ICLEI Oceania; Ironbark Sustainability; The Climate Group; and the Australian Council of Trades Union.
What is Alliances for Climate Action?
Better Futures Australia is part of Alliances for Climate Action (ACA), a global network of domestic multi-stakeholder coalitions committed to supporting the delivery and enhancement of their countries' climate goals and collaborating to build the groundswell of climate action across the world.
Through BFA, Australia is joining ACA partners in countries across the world, including Argentina, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, United States, and Vietnam, to create alliances that champion higher climate ambition and support local stakeholders to make collaborative climate action a reality on the ground.
ACA supports domestic coalitions seeking to implement bold collaborative actions in line with 1.5°C; build domestic public support for climate action; and collectively engage with national governments to help deliver and enhance national climate targets. It connects domestic coalitions with each other and elevates their voices internationally to build the groundswell of climate action. Global partners include C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, CDP, the Climate Action Network, Fundación Avina, The Climate Group, We Mean Business and WWF, working together with leading organizations at the national level.
For more information, visit: www.alliancesforclimateaction.org
How is Better Futures Australia governed?
Better Futures Australia is governed by a Steering Committee that is made up of partner organisation representatives from ClimateWorks Australia; Investor Group on Climate Change; World Wide Fund for Nature Australia; Australian Conservation Foundation; Climate and Health Alliance; Nature Conservation Council NSW; and Climate Action Network Australia.
How is Better Futures Australia funded?
Seed funding for the initiative was provided by four partner organisations. Current support is provided by a grant from the European Climate Foundation. Potential funders interested in learning more about Better Futures Australia can contact the Program Manager at [email protected].
What is Better Futures Australia's Theory of Change?
Better Futures Australia recognises that we need everyone - across all walks of life - to advance climate solutions together. By connecting and engaging business and industry leaders, investors, local and state and territory governments, the health and social service sectors, farmers, unions, research institutions, and communities that are driving climate action in Australia, BFA is building a diverse community of climate champions to share and scale real-world solutions. These champions will showcase the willingness of society to act on climate today, and by providing hope, they will flip the narrative on climate in Australia. And through supporting all sectors of our society to take action and collectively advocate, BFA will seize upon a unique moment in time to bridge the divides and provide the level of collective pressure needed to positively influence the Australian Government to deliver credible, long term national climate policy in time for COP27.
Who are the Better Futures Australia Climate Champions?
Better Futures Australia celebrates the growing community of organisations and individuals that are leading by example in taking individual and collaborative climate actions and scaling them up to support the delivery of Australia's climate goals under the Paris Agreement. We showcase their commitments and actions to inspire other Australians to realise zero emissions opportunities.
Meet some of Australia's climate champions here.
Who are the Better Futures Australia Ambassadors?
Better Futures Australia Ambassadors are proudly supporting Australians to drive ambitious climate action.
Ambassadors are influential Australians who are lending their public profile to build support for the initiative, to reach new audiences and recruit climate champions to sign on and share their stories.
They care about the future health and prosperity of our businesses and communities and recognise that a stable climate underpins Australia’s rich ecosystems, wildlife, bush, and oceans, and the healthy soils and water that we rely on.
Our Ambassadors want to see decision makers across communities, industry and government working together to revitalise our economy and communities with zero emissions projects and jobs.
We are grateful to them for lending their names and profiles. Read their stories and why they are supporting Better Futures Australia and then sign the declaration to join them in taking climate action and advocating for a national response that will deliver a net-zero emissions society by 2050 or sooner.
How do I differentiate between an ambassador, a champion, a signatory, and a partner?
Ambassadors are influential Australians lending their public profile to build support for the initiative, to reach new audiences and recruit climate champions to sign on and share their stories.
Climate Champions have embraced the collaborative nature of the BFA network - recognising that Australia can go further and faster by working together. They are already taking, or are looking to take, climate action, and are receptive to support and inspiration to take further steps today.
A signatory refers to the individual organisations or stakeholders that join the coalition, such as local governments, companies, civil society organisations or associations of local governments or businesses.
A partner refers to an organisation that provides support and/or advice to run the coalition, including those organisations represented on the Steering Committee and leading the Sector Working Groups.
The term member is sometimes used to refer to signatories and partners.
Who can join Better Futures Australia?
Better Futures Australia’s focus is on organisations, therefore any organisation which agrees with the Declaration can join the initiative. Both individual organisations and coalitions of organisations can join. Currently only those organisations based in Australia can join the initiative.
Examples of organisations in our coalition are companies, financial institutions, local councils and cities, state and territory governments, First Nations groups, academic and cultural institutions, farmers, industry bodies, healthcare and social institutions communities, and artists.
Typically, Signatories include those who are:
- already taking climate action individually;
- committed to taking greater climate action individually;
- interested in taking climate action in collaboration with other stakeholders; and
- willing to speak up publicly with other actors in support of more ambitious climate action.
All members need to sign the Declaration that shares a commitment to take actions and support national and subnational policies that align with net zero before 2050.
Is there a membership fee or any other requirements?
No membership fee is required but donations are always welcome. Financial resources for operations are secured by CANA with the support of core-partners, for the time being. There are no specific requirements for signatories, but they are expected to make active efforts on a voluntary basis.
What does the Better Futures Australia Declaration ask organisations to do?
To raise ambition on climate, signatories of Better Futures Australia commit to:
- taking climate actions and scaling them up through individual effort and collaboration;
- showcasing commitments and actions to inspire other Australians to realise zero emissions opportunities;
- working together, alongside and in partnership with Federal, State and Local Government leadership, to ensure Australia contributes to delivery of the Paris Agreement; and
- inviting all Australians to champion a national response that will reach net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.
What is the added value for participating stakeholders to be a part of Better Futures Australia and the incentive to increase their commitments?
There are several benefits to participating in BFA including:
- Reputation: BFA seeks to recognise the leadership of signatories, both domestically and internationally. To do so, BFA will leverage the combined communication muscle of BFA members and global partners to: (i) develop a joint public narrative domestically and internationally, identify public opportunities to feature signatories; (ii) develop events where signatories can be featured (as spokespeople and climate champions in their own right); (iii) develop talking points; (iv) connect them to media; etc. Key to this will be what they can show individually and what they aim to do as a collective (alliance).
- Relational: BFA seeks to connect participating organisations to other stakeholders (local and state governments, companies, investors, civil society, academia, etc.) that can help them achieve their goals and unlock new opportunities by bringing signatories together, identifying areas of joint interest and supporting the development of joint climate actions. Through the global Alliances for Climate Action, participating stakeholders will be able to connect with stakeholders engaging in ACAs and broader climate action (e.g. international initiatives by global partners such as We Mean Business commitments, C40’s Deadline 2020, etc.) in other countries as well.
- Influence: BFA seeks to amplify the individual voices and the collective voice of signatories by putting them shoulder to shoulder with other influential signatories when it comes to both public engagement and coordinated engagement with the national government for climate-related processes.
- Access to national government: BFA seek to support a coordinated engagement with the national government to accelerate NDC implementation (e.g. through improved enabling conditions such as regulatory frameworks) and increase NDC ambition (e.g. by jointly identifying areas of high mitigation potential where signatories can play an important role).
- Technical: BFA seeks to provide information about / educate about relevant domestic and international policy processes (NDC and relevant national policies/programs, UNFCCC and key international moments), ongoing signatory contributions and opportunities for accelerating action and increasing ambition. BFA also seeks to connect signatories to initiatives that can provide technical support (including the ones from participating partners, such as the Science Based Targets Initiative, the Cities Power Partnership, Climate Action 100+, and direct support), and provide technical support to develop joint asks to the national government.
There are also benefits to taking climate action. The “business case” for climate action will differ by actor, but include benefits such as:
- For a company, it could be cost savings and access to new markets, level playing field with other companies, access to tax credits/incentives, predictable energy costs;
- For a city/state/territory, it could mean access to finance (attracting progressive companies in cities or states with clean energy policies); and
- For universities, it could include being labelled as “universities of the future,” savings in operational costs, curriculum development and learning labs, preparing students for the future, engagement with society, attracting money to do more research, application of research in the real world, meeting their carbon neutral goals and having supportive policies to do so.
How does Better Futures Australia avoid Greenwashing?
Principles, Criteria and Metrics are applied for the onboarding and progression of Better Futures Australia signatories.
We aspire to work with a suite of diverse climate champions, leading by example in their respective sectors. While every actor may not yet have an ambitious net-zero or Paris aligned target, we also want to meet actors where they are. Which means, we would like to have a certain criteria for entry and then support that actor along the journey to net-zero emissions by 2050.
The Alliances for Climate Action principles of credibility, transparency, progressivity, and collaboration form the basis of the criteria.
1.Credibility = Leading by Example
The institution is already taking, or seeking to take climate “action” individually
a.Verifiable commitment to climate action:
b. No previous lobbying against climate action: Demonstration that
a. Verifiable progression on climate action (across three pillars) aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement:
The institution is implementing its actions and delivering demonstrable results
Institution makes demonstrable progress towards its action targets, and increased engagement on both progressive climate advocacy and public engagement in line with 1.5C
2. Progressivity = do more overtime
The institution is committed to taking greater climate action individually that works towards net-zero emissions by 2050
Commitment to take more ambitious action (as per 3 pillars) in line with ACA vision / foundational declaration (signature as verifier)
3. Transparency = disclose publicly
Commitment is documented and available internally/externally
Institution discloses its targets by annually reporting its progress to CDP with a progressively higher degree of transparency.[e.g. as per CDP’s 4 stages?]
4. Collaboration = work with others (peers / other constituencies / BFA and ACA network) to address climate crisis
Commitment to work with others in line with the BFA and ACA vision / foundational declaration (signature as verifier)
Institution actively collaborates with other constituencies in coalition across 3 primary pillars + supports BFA and ACA network activities
What was the 2021 Better Futures Forum?
Better Futures Australia's focus event for 2021 was the Better Futures Forum (August 17-19), which provided a national moment for climate champions from across Australian society to converge. The Forum was supported by media partners, ambassadors, and attendees who drive climate action in their sectors and communities. The Better Futures Forum was timed for maximum influence, to showcase ambitious climate action underway in time for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, 1-12 November 2021. Visit the Better Futures Forum website for more information.
Leaders in energy, business, finance, health, agriculture, transport, local and state government, unions, and First Nations communities showcased their plans and achievements in reducing carbon emissions, and publicly launched their collective commitment to ambitious national climate action.
Providing a unique platform for the robust exchange of ideas, the Better Futures Forum catalysed the innovations and opportunities of the energy transformation and was timed for maximum influence on the Australian position at the UN Climate Conference in November, 2021.
Keynote speakers for the event included former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon; NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean; US Climate and Foreign Policy Advisor Jonathan Pershing; UNFCCC High-Level Champion of Chile, Entrepreneur Mr. Gonzalo Muñoz; CEO of HESTA superfund, Debby Blakey; Founder and CEO of Vulcan Energy, Dr. Francis Wedin; Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Sandy Verschoor, Co-Chair of the Indigenous Peoples’ Organisation, Cathryn Eatock; and President of the National Council of Churches, Bishop Philip Huggins.
They were joined by a diverse lineup of experts including senior leaders from businesses and organisations such Wesfarmers, Australian Impact Investments, Intrepid Travel, Australian Council of Social Service, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Farmers for Climate Action, Smart Energy Council, Green Building Council of Australia, Outdoor Council of Australia, and many others at the cutting edge of climate action in their sectors.
Additional speakers were announced as part of an agenda which included sessions ranging from state and local government and private sector ambition to decarbonise the economy; opportunities for driving further climate action across sectors for a healthy, resilient Australia; to showcasing contributions towards Australia's fair share of the Paris Agreement; and much more.
The Forum was held in a dynamic virtual space that connected individuals through interactive plenary sessions, lightning talks, workshops, exhibits, and entertainment across a number of stages.
The program included breakout sessions ranging from state and local government ambition to decarbonise the economy; opportunities for private sector leaders to drive further climate action and realise the benefits of a zero emissions future; to showcasing contributions towards Australia's fair share of the Paris Agreement; and much more.
The Better Futures Australia initiative was supported by Climate Action Network Australia and partners.
What is COP27?
COP27 is the 27th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties. The annual conference brings together world leaders to accelerate action to reach the goals set out by the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. COP27 will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt 7-18 November, 2022. Learn more about COP27 here.
What is the Paris Agreement?
The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015 at the UN Conference of the Parties, is an international treaty that aims to limit average global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2050. The Paris Agreement requires all Parties, or countries, to take ambitious steps to advance climate action, including mapping nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS). Learn more about the Paris Agreement here.