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Michael Frangos

CEO of Indigenous Energy Australia

Michael is CEO of Indigenous Energy Australia. He shared with us that Australia "should be facilitating a society wide transformation by fostering a conviction, role modelling appropriate behaviours and mindsets, developing skills and capabilities and establishing formal mechanisms that push us to a zero carbon compatible culture”.

Indigenous Energy Australia is committed to improving Australian livelihoods by combating climate change and bringing a high degree of commerciality in the pursuit of social objectives.

Read more from our interview with Michael below.

Can you tell us about Indigenous Energy Australia? 

Indigenous Energy Australia (IEA) is an Aboriginal, profit-for-purpose organisation committed to combating climate change and improving the livelihoods of remote, regional, vulnerable and Indigenous Australians. IEA achieves these commitments through the development of enabling infrastructure:

  • water
  • waste
  • transport
  • telecommunications
  • waste water

IEA specialise in best practice engagement and management principles, and offer an innovative project approach that pursues social objectives and generates economic outcomes. All of our developments adapt around community characteristics, harness community knowledge including Indigenous knowledge, and contribute to community outcomes.

Our purpose is to revolutionise the way the infrastructure is developed in Australia, ensuring that communities are involved in the development and management of their infrastructure. We will collaborate with communities, industry, government and academia to demonstrate how infrastructure can be developed around community characteristics, knowledge and goals, to achieve and sustain holistic outcomes.

Why is IEA taking climate action? 

We are taking climate action for a number reasons:

  1. Indigenous and vulnerable Australians are those that are being, and will be, most impacted by climate changes, further exacerbating the inequities they currently face;
  2. We see an opportunity for Australia, particularly Indigenous and aforementioned communities, to thrive. We have a number of natural competitive advantages that bolster the case for an Australian led climate response, where Aussie grown technologies, technical approaches and business models are applied around the globe so that Australians reap the benefits of the new zero carbon economy;
  3. There is a significant opportunity to take an Indigenous approach to our climate response, Indigenous culture is centred around custodianship, which is highly applicable to our climate predicament. Incorporating Indigenous knowledge, practices and culture into our climate response is a step towards both a reconciled and zero carbon society.

Can you tell us about your commitments to climate action? 

Our climate commitments are mainly ingrained in how we do business. All energy systems we develop are renewable and we seek to push any project we are involved in to the most sustainable point possible. We don’t have an office and never have, and where possible we minimise our travel.

In addition to the social outcomes we pursue in our projects, we also pursue environmental benefits in a highly commercial manner, evaluating all benefits and risks with a truly objective lens, and also taking an innovative approach to the development of business models to ensure we can get the best of both worlds.

Is there a project you are working on that you are excited about?

There are two, we are doing a lot of work with community, organisations, government and academia on bringing the links between Indigenous culture, knowledge, and practices through the anecdotal-academic-commercial funnel to the forefront not only sharing this knowledge in an accessible, digestible and resonant manner, but also demonstrating and applying these concepts.

The second climate focussed initiative we are currently working on is “The Management of a Changing Climate”, where we have identified that climate change must be handled as an organisational transformation or change, and thus the practices and approaches from the professional field of change management should be applied. The sharp operators in change management have a high rate of success and can affect permanent changes to the fundamental mindsets and behaviours throughout an organisation. We believe that an absence of a number of key individual mindsets that form organisational characteristics, which in turn make up a companies ‘culture’, is at the root of the climate inaction we observe across organisations and societies.

What real-world opportunities have you uncovered from taking climate action today? 

Our whole business is built on taking climate action, so every opportunity we have uncovered. Recently, interest in what we are doing has increased quite significantly which is primarily due to our work connecting Indigenous wisdom to what is needed to avoid the worst impacts of a climate catastrophe.

What climate action would you like to see Australia take?

We believe the Federal Government needs to lead the facilitation of the right individual mindsets being developed in our society. The Federal Government is responsible for ensuring we have the appropriate societal environment to overcome challenges, innovate and thrive. Our collective mindsets create a set of societal characteristics that form this ‘environment’, if we can get this right with the support of the Federal Government we will be able to develop the skills, capabilities, knowledge, systems, tools, processes to fully understand the problems we face and develop holistic and long lasting solutions to them. This Federal support should essentially be facilitating a society wide transformation, by fostering a conviction, role modelling appropriate behaviours and mindsets, developing skills and capabilities, and establishing formal mechanisms (incentives and disincentives) that push our individual mindsets and thus Australia to a zero carbon compatible culture.

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