In 2015, all countries agreed in Paris to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius and to strive for 1.5 degrees. To achieve this goal, global emissions must halve this decade and again the next, reaching net zero by 2050. 

The United Nations has found that this pace of change would require a fivefold increase in global climate action this decade – which is the ambition ClimateWorks has embedded in our new 10-year strategy, endorsed by our board last year. 

ClimateWorks team changes 

The new ClimateWorks strategy holds the bar high with regards to government and business action. The strategy targets areas of the economy associated with highest emissions – not just in Australia, but also Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with an initial focus on Indonesia.

To help catalyse emission reductions at the necessary scale, ClimateWorks is taking a ‘system change’ approach, which recognises that all systems and subsystems are related.

This approach to climate action aims to embolden governments and businesses to graduate from taking incremental steps and to instead become the drivers of systemic change, which will be needed if the world is to achieve global decarbonisation goals.

System change thinking is therefore core to our new structure. We have established specialist teams who can support the cross-cutting approaches that are needed; these teams will also ensure our knowledge and lessons-learned can be shared across systems (read more about systems change below).

With our mission at the centre, this new team structure places our staff of 60 within four centres of excellence: International and Country Context, System Change and Capability, Operations and Program Delivery.

The restructure also allows us to formalise our approach across seven systems. We’ve identified four ‘physical’ systems and three ‘enabling’ systems, and are rearranging our current staff – plus hiring new talent where required – into these targeted areas. 

Physical systems of the economy which produce emissions:

  • Cities
  • Food, land and oceans
  • Energy 
  • Industry

Systems which enable emissions reductions include sustainable:

  • Economies
  • Finance
  • Corporates

Why focus on system change? 

What is ‘system change’? Systems thinking acknowledges that structures – whether they be political, social or financial – are full of complexity and need to be examined as a ‘whole picture’. This can help us identify where interventions have the best chance to support change at scale, and where our efforts are best spent to support the ecosystem around us. System change also refers to the ambition for change that is systemic rather than incremental, and becomes lasting and self-reinforcing. 

As part of this new approach, the role and makeup of our leadership team is changing. 

New areas of work and an expanded executive team

We’ve added a new leadership team position to oversee our systems-focused Program Delivery team: 

Janna de Groot joins us as Head of Portfolio Management. Janna was previously COO and CFO at Assetic, a growing infrastructure asset management company with cloud software product management; and prior to that a General Manager at Pacific Brands, an ASX 200 consumer goods company, and consultant at McKinsey and Company. Her experience includes strategy and performance improvement experience across the resources, finance, consumer goods, packaging and media sectors. She holds a Master of Science, Global Governance and Diplomacy from Oxford University and Bachelors of Commerce and Economics from University of Queensland. 

Janna will support the seven system lead roles in each of our physical and enabling system teams. 

To amplify the impact of our systems work and ensure our approach represents best practice and influence, we are also creating two new teams: International and Country Context; and Systems Change and Capability. 

The International and Country Context team is led by Meg Argyriou, who formerly was our Head of International Programs. This team is responsible for identifying opportunities for systems change influence nationally and internationally; with a focus on relationships, policy, and research collaborations. Research collaborations can take the form of partnering with other organisations to provide technical assistance; or the delivery of small scale projects that test, create basic evidence and build appetite for a larger body of work.

Amandine Denis-Ryan, who formerly was our Head of National Programs, will be leading the new System Change and Capability team. The role of this team is to lead our capabilities in systems thinking and system change acceleration, as well as maintain best practice and continuous improvement across our work. 

Our Operations team will continue with its current configuration, supporting ClimateWorks with business support, development and communications specialties. Since mid-2020, Petra Siskos has joined us as Chief Operations Officer while Bhavika Agnihotri is on maternity leave. Petra is an experienced leader within the education sector. For over 13 years, she has implemented initiatives supporting teaching, research, operational change and improvement initiatives.

This expanded leadership team is led by Anna Skarbek, Chief Executive Officer since our inception in 2009. We continue to enjoy strong support  from our Chair and Deputy Chair since inception, John Thwaites AM and David Shelmerdine respectively, and our board members

Achieving a fivefold increase in climate action this decade is at the heart of our focus, and it will need increased resourcing. We look forward to sharing our strategy and impact experience with funders who share our vision and sense of urgency to help make it happen. 

We thank all our funders and project partners who have contributed to our past decade’s work, as we build on that to ensure that this next decade is a transformational one.

Join us on this journey and support our work.