We welcome new members to the CDSB Technical Working Group

We interviewed the newest members to join the CDSB Technical Working Group to find out more about their work and expectations of working with us.

Mario Abela (Gather)

Mario Abela is a chartered accountant (FCMA and FCPA) with experience in both private and public sectors. As a professional accountant much of his experience has been in standard setting and technical roles having held senior roles in Australia, Belgium and the United Kingdom. He currently works with the Gather London leading the consultancy’s corporate reporting and research functions.

What was your motivation to join the Technical Working Group?

The CDSB is a unique standard aggregator and has already made significant inroads in mainstreaming climate disclosures. I am excited about being part of the CDSB TWG because it is raising transparency around an issue that affects all of us and is delivering against its mission not by adding more noise to the corporate reporting universe but trying to join the dots and making what is already in place work harder and be more consistent.

In your view, what is CDSB's role in the evolving corporate reporting landscape?

I think CDSB has a tremendous opportunity to bring about real change to a very crowded landscape. It should continue with its efforts to connect up the existing requirements and explain how climate disclosures are an integral part of that. Going forward though I think it is important for (the) CDSB to have a point of view and to make that know. It’s good to be helpful but it’s also important to be heard.

 

Dr. Maria Balatbat (University of New South Wales)

Dr Maria Balatbat is a Senior Lecturer at the Business School and Joint Director for the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets (CEEM) at UNSW Australia. Maria is a current recipient of several Australian Research Council (ARC) grants researching on the capital market implications of Integrated Reporting and use of environmental and social indicators to develop a valuation methodology for investment decisions in an industrial ecology laboratory. She is also working with the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living in Australia developing a built environment impact assessment framework and decision making tool that aims to unlock the value creation capabilities of sustainability reporting in this sector. On the teaching front, Maria has also developed a postgraduate course on reporting for climate change and sustainability and has received a UNPRME teaching award for pioneering teaching sustainability reporting in the Business School at UNSW Australia.

In your view, what is CDSB's role in the evolving corporate reporting landscape?

The corporate reporting landscape is in dire need of a change and CDSB has the capacity to influence the transition to a more transparent reporting not only focused on financial information but also on the organisation's long-term environmental and social impact.

 

Sarah Barker (Minter Ellison)

Sarah has two decades' experience advising Australian and multi-national clients on governance, compliance, misleading disclosure and competition law (antitrust) issues. In addition to tertiary qualifications in commerce and law, she has undertaken postgraduate studies at the London School of Economics, and holds a Masters degree from the University of Melbourne (awarded with Dean's Honours).

Sarah is an experienced director and advisory board member. She is currently a non-executive director of one of Australia's largest superannuation funds, Emergency Services & State Super, and of NRCL Ltd. She has been actively involved as an examiner, lecturer and course materials author for the Australian Institute of Company Directors for more than a decade, including the 'Directors' Duties & Responsibilities' unit of Australia's leading professional directors' qualification, the Company Directors' Course.

She currently works at Minter Ellison as special council

What was your motivation to join the Technical Working Group?

A fundamental belief that markets have a critical part to play in driving action on climate change. A vicious circle of market failure had become entrenched - with markets not understanding the financial risk/return implications of climate change, so businesses not being required to disclose them, so markets not understanding the financial implications.... Credible, relevant and consistent reporting standards are the circuit breaker.

 

David Cooke (ClientEarth)

BSc, PGDip, MSc, Associate Member IEMA

David is a lawyer in ClientEarth’s Climate Litigation team. His work focuses on company and financial law and improving corporate transparency and decision making in relation to climate change. His work has a particular emphasis on legislative and stock exchange listing requirements in relation to reporting of climate information.

David started his career as a lawyer in international trade and emerging market finance and had experience of working in jurisdictions throughout Africa, Asia and South America. Following further postgraduate study, David then worked as a Senior Consultant in climate change and sustainability for a global specialised consultancy. This role required use of a wide range of carbon accounting methodologies for projects involving setting carbon strategy and working towards organisational implementation, and reporting to a variety of frameworks. LinkedIn profile: https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/david-cooke/25/179/780

Tell us about an interesting project that you are involved in.

I am really interested in the interplay between climate information and the mandatory requirement (which exists in most jurisdictions) for companies to report material risks – much of my work is in relation to addressing this gap.

In your view, what is CDSB's role in the evolving corporate reporting landscape?

Raising the voluntary standard of reporting – either in terms of utility of information, comparability, focus etc. – will ultimately raise the mandatory standard too. CDSB is a huge part of the movement towards better corporate reporting.

 

Rob Evans (Arcadis)

Trained as an ecologist, and a Chartered Environmentalist by profession, Rob Evans bring over 25 years of experience of designing and delivering major environmental, sustainability and climate change programmes and projects across the world. In this role he has supported such major projects as the Panama Canal Expansion, the Yamal LNG project in Northern Russia, the Heart of Borneo Green Economy roadmap, and the London Underground Victoria Station redevelopment, amongst many others. As the former head of sustainability and climate change for PwC Indonesia he has also been closely involved in sustainable supply chain issues, working with the likes of WEF and the RSPO. He has also worked as a visiting Associate of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility at Cranfield, helped found the carbon-reduction charity Carbon Leapfrog, and worked with the Cambridge Program for Sustainable Leadership on supply chain issues. He currently works at Arcadis where he is a partner in environment and sustainability.

 

Mark Gough (Natural Capital Coalition)

Mark Gough is the Executive Director of the Natural Capital Coalition. A strong believer in integrating sustainability into decision-making where it becomes an opportunity for everyone, Mark previously worked for The Crown Estate, helping to develop its integrated vision and approach to value measurement. Prior to this he was the Global Environmental Manager for the information company, Reed Elsevier. Mark is a Director of the Aldersgate Group, which brings together business, politics and civil society to drive action for a sustainable economy, and has sat on a number of national and international committees, including the Steering Committee of the United Nations CEO Water Mandate and the Board of the Alliance for Water Stewardship.

What was your motivation to join the Technical Working Group?

The opportunity to collaborate with some extraordinary people.

Tell us about an interesting project that you are involved in

The Natural Capital Coalition is developing the world’s first Protocol on natural capital. The Natural Capital Protocol is a standardized framework for identify, measure and value impacts and decencies on natural capital.

In your view, what is CDSB's role in the evolving corporate reporting landscape?

CDSB is spearheading new thought in the reporting landscape, especially around natural capital.

 

Dr. Joel Houdet (African Centre for Technology Studies)

Dr. Joël R.A. Houdet holds Senior Research Fellowships at the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS, Nairobi, Kenya) and the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership (ALCRL, University of Pretoria, South Africa). Joël is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is an expert on corporate natural capital accounting, valuation and reporting and is involved in several high profile initiatives, including the drafting of the Natural Capital Protocol and several work streams of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Dr. Houdet also works as an independent consultant at Integrated Sustainability Services, where he has acquired more than 5 years of experience in sustainability reporting, biodiversity offsetting, cost-benefit analysis, economic impact assessments and independent reviews. Joël holds a PhD in Management Sciences from AgroParisTech (France), a Masters in Practicing Accounting from Monash University (Australia) and Bachelor of Sciences from Rhodes University (South Africa).

Joël was delighted to join the CDSB TWG in 2015 to share his experiences in natural capital accounting and disclosure, and thus support the CDSB in providing relevant guidelines to the market for improving accountability regarding corporate environmental impacts and performance.

Image source: David Bertho/Flickr