A premier virtual event later this month will aim to address a sluggish uptake of net zero initiatives among SMEs that could cost them valuable contracts in the not-too-distant future.
With a focus on driving sustainable growth and innovation in the Australian clean energy industry, the Industry Capability Network (ICN) Clean Energy & Manufacturing Summit will provide a platform for knowledge sharing, collaboration and networking.
Early adopters of net zero initiatives are “not thick on the ground” and manufacturers need to accelerate their uptake to keep up with evolving priorities of suppliers, according to ICN national strategy director Mike Swart.
“There’s such a big focus on net zero and carbon emissions, and the link back to manufacturing right now,” he said.
“We’ve lined up speakers who are in the ideal position to educate and update attendees as to the trends and environment around climate change, carbon reduction and utilisation of clean energy in respect to both the environment and manufacturing as a whole.”
This will include a presentation from University of Technology Sydney Emeritus Professor Roy Green. The special innovation adviser will explore the need for a national industrial strategy for Australia’s energy transition and the economic diversification of an industrial structure that is currently “very narrow”.
“This transition is not just a question of individual disconnected grant programs but a challenge for industrial policy across the entire economy. We must bring together the different elements in ministerial portfolio to bear on the central challenge of transformation,” he said.
Roy will present pathways for businesses to participate in building a more resilient and innovative economy.
He said it would require a whole-of-government effort together with industry, universities and all other stakeholders to steer Australia’s economy away from its dependence on raw materials exports over to diversified manufacturing and services.
“We’ve allowed manufacturing to fall to six per cent of our GDP, which is the lowest self sufficiency of manufacturing of any developed country. We’ve fallen to 93 out of 133 on the Harvard Atlas of Economic Complexity, placing us between Uganda and Pakistan.”
The summit will provide a platform for knowledge sharing, collaboration and networking. It will connect industry leaders, government representatives and key stakeholders in the manufacturing into clean energy sectors, with a focus on driving sustainable growth and innovation in the Australian clean energy industry.
Mike said even suppliers who were not one of the 90,000 Australian businesses registered on ICN’s database could benefit enormously from the summit.
He said the greatest value for attendees would be market insights into the latest industry trends, technologies, strategies and, importantly, government policy and how it would impact contracts and trickle down to all suppliers.
“On back of the Cop28 summit, there’s obviously a focus by government to demonstrate its commitment to this important task,” he said.
“But this isn’t limited to government. We’re seeing in the contract environment, particularly in construction, how this is becoming a focal point and is actually being incorporated into contracts as deliverables.
“Suppliers are increasingly being asked to reference specific initiatives they’ve actually implemented in their companies, which demonstrate they’re on a journey towards carbon reduction.”
The summit will outline ways suppliers can refine their offerings, better understand market demand and stay ahead of competition.
“Government is leading the charge but across the board, we’re seeing trends within the prime contractors that they’re adopting stringent policy and process in this regard.
“I think one day in the not-too-distant future, it’ll be a contractual obligation in the majority of cases that a client showcases a commitment to carbon reduction. I think it could potentially preclude them from contract opportunities if they don’t.”
The ICN Clean Energy & Manufacturing Summit will be held online to maximise reach. All participants will also receive a link to rewatch the recorded summit and download collateral.
Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic will give the opening address and Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Jenny McAllister will give the keynote address.
Attendees will discover the Federal Government’s latest clean energy policies, initiatives and investment opportunities, gain insights into manufacturing opportunities, best practices and case studies in the clean energy sector, learn about successful renewable energy projects and explore potential opportunities in Australia, and connect with industry professionals, peak bodies and experts to foster collaboration and partnerships.
The ICN Clean Energy & Manufacturing Summit is online on Tuesday 28 November from 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets cost $104.50 for ICN members and $121 for non members. Ticket sales close Tuesday 21 November at 11:30 pm AEST – book here.