University of Melbourne : Careers Guide 2012
iSTOCK NATURE & ENVIRONMENT The move to a low-carbon economy is creating new fields of work in innovation and the use of traditional motives of competition and profit to help push business in greener directions. GREENING BUSINESS MAKE IT HAPPEN Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Environments FIRST DEGREE Carbon tax, low-energy lightbulbs, sustainable materials in packaging – these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the scope of transformation required by both business and government. “If we are still relying on fossil fuels, we are still running towards the cliff, just a bit more slowly,” says Dr Adam Bumpus from the Melbourne School of Land and Environment. Pricing carbon alone will not be the answer, he says. “Market forces alone cannot innovate us to a low-carbon future because, up until now, we have taken global public goods like clean air for granted. “ New clean technologies can be scaled-up using competition and profit in capitalism, but they need policy and societal support to counteract the inertia of the fossil fuel status quo.” Dr Bumpus leads the Carbon Governance Project, a series of international workshops with leading industry experts, scholars and government representatives, which aims to gain a better understanding of how to achieve the transformation needed. One of their main findings is that the low-carbon transformation requires a shift in what is ‘valued ’ and not just priced. The low-carbon transformation will come from a positive vision of the future, and out of new industries that generate financial value by making, selling and exchanging goods that recognise the value of the climate system in everyday transactions. In other words, for the long term, business needs to see beneficial economic prospects in low-carbon options, rather than thinking of them as constraints. For Dr Bumpus, genuine transformation means “we will make it possible for companies to save the climate simply by making profits”.