ClimateWorks Australia is proud to congratulate our Chair, Professor John Thwaites, and long-time board member, Sam Mostyn, who have been recognised in this year’s Order of Australia awards.

The awards, announced on 26 January, recognise the achievement and contribution of eminent Australians from a diversity of backgrounds.

John Thwaites has been made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for ‘significant service to the environment, and to the people and Parliament of Victoria.’

Sam Mostyn has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her ‘distinguished service to business and sustainability, and to the community, through seminal contributions to a range of organisations, and to women.’

Professor John Thwaites AM

John Thwaites has devoted over three decades to public service in local and state government as a Mayor, Minister and Deputy Premier of Victoria, and as a director, chairman and Professorial Fellow in sustainability.

He was a Member of the Victorian Parliament from 1992 to 2007, and a barrister prior to entering Parliament. He was a Councillor for the City of South Melbourne (1985-1993), including two years as Mayor.

In government, John led major reforms in social policy, planning, health, water, national parks and climate change. He was Victoria’s inaugural Minister for Climate Change. 

Since leaving public office, John has become a renowned sustainability leader and trusted adviser nationally and internationally. 

In 2008, he was appointed a Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow at Monash University and Chair of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute. 

That same year, the Myer Foundation and Monash University appointed him inaugural chair of ClimateWorks Australia, where he continues to lead the board and actively support our staff which has grown from one to over 60 since that time.

ClimateWorks CEO Anna Skarbek said John had made a remarkable contribution to public policy and sustainability. 

‘As Chair of ClimateWorks, John has helped it become one of the foremost independent, research-based, non-profit organisations committed to catalysing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific,’ Anna said. 

‘A comment from a team member encapsulated a typical view of him from staff: “You meet the ex deputy premier in a workshop, amazing to find he is willing to play every role: note taker, whiteboard lead, strategic thinker. Nothing is beneath him… huge value-add too”,’ she said. 

When awarded a national planning prize in 2015, the judges described John as a ‘tireless and energetic campaigner for improving the built environment’, saying he had ‘left an indelible footprint on the planning landscape in Australia’. This includes his roles as chair of the National Sustainability Council, chairman of the Australian Building Codes Board and as Director of the Board of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). 

John is chair of BehaviourWorks Australia and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). He is also one of six co-chairs of the Leadership Council of the global SDSN. In 2020, he joined the World Economic Forum’s Regional Action Group for ASEAN.

He is chair of Melbourne Water, the organisation responsible for water supply, rivers and catchment around Australia’s second largest city, and a director of Fair Trade Australia and New Zealand.

Read The Age newspaper’s article on John Thwaites in its Order of Australia special coverage.

Sam Mostyn AO

Sam Mostyn is a recognised leader in gender equity, business governance, and sustainability and climate change. She was a board member of ClimateWorks Australia for a decade – from its inception in 2009 until 2019. 

Her ongoing involvement in climate change science and advocacy extends across the boards of the Climate Council and Centre for Policy Development. She is a past chair of the Stakeholder Advisory Council of the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship and 1 Million Women Climate Campaign. As a business leader, Sam has also been involved in a number of collaborative social and environmental initiatives including the Business Roundtable on Climate Change.

Sam’s sustainability work encompasses a wide range of focus areas including climate change, gender and diversity, reconciliation, sustainable economic development and business engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals. This is reflected in her membership of the National Sustainable Development Council, Monash University Sustainable Development Institute advisory council and Sustainable Development Solutions Network Leadership Council. She served for several years on the board of Reconciliation Australia and is former President of the Australian Council for International Development.

‘Sam has worked across government, non-profit, sporting and business organisations, and in each role adds a human touch through mentoring others as well as demonstrating integrity, grace and purpose in leadership,’ said ClimateWorks CEO Anna Skarbek.

A trailblazer for women throughout her career, Sam became the first woman appointed as AFL Commissioner, and is currently a non-executive director of the Sydney Swans. Last November, she became president of Chief Executive Women, an organisation representing Australia’s most distinguished women leaders and advocating for equal opportunity.

Sam’s current board roles include Mirvac and Transurban, chair of Citibank Australia and Alberts Group Services. She is a member of the Insurance Australia Group Ethics Advisory Committee and of the Westpac Stakeholder Advisory Committee, among other roles. 

An article on Sam Mostyn’s award also appeared in The Australian newspaper’s Order of Australia coverage.