Policy in the slow lane: can we speed up change and drive down emissions?

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Before we change behaviour, we need to change policy. How can we accelerate the shift to greener, cleaner vehicles, and move away from our reliance on fossil fuels?

About the episode

The battle to halt climate change is impacting most aspects of our day-to-day lives – right down to the cars we drive. But there’s a missing piece in the industry that could improve things – the electric vehicle industry. 

Manufacturers are making higher quality EVs than ever before, and more of them. At the same time, more Aussie drivers want their next car to be electric. So why is our country one of the slowest in the world in making the transition? More importantly – how do we get in the fast lane? 

Behyad Jafari is the CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council, a national body that represents the electric vehicle industry in Australia, and he says that missing piece is policy. 

Mr Jafari explains to host Dr Juliet Bourke how Australia fell behind the rest of the world in the first place, how that’s affecting our industry right now, and what we can do to get our policies up to scratch. 

Professor Frederik Anseel, Senior Deputy Dean of UNSW Business School, drops in to explain what the EV industry can learn from the growth of solar, and what influences business leaders and their teams on a day-to-day basis. 

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For the latest news and research from UNSW Business School and AGSM @ UNSW Business School, subscribe to our industry stories at BusinessThink and follow us on LinkedIn: UNSW Business School and AGSM @ UNSW Business School.


Behyad Jafari: At the time sedans were very popular, but very large, inefficient sedans. And then very quickly, the companies like Holden building cars here started complaining, it's actually very hard for us to export any of these cars to markets around the world. And I said, well, of course it is because they all have these efficiency regulations. They don't want big petrol-guzzling sedans, they want more efficient vehicles. And so we somewhat, you know, shot ourselves in the foot there by essentially letting them make more profitable, less efficient cars sort of trading Australia, like a bit of a dumping ground, you know, which car companies unfortunately are still able to do here today. And that meant that they were less competitive.

Juliet Bourke: The battle to halt climate change is impacting most aspects of our day to day lives, right down to the cars we drive. Transport is a huge contributor to Australia's overall emissions, and where other heavy polluting industries are making progress. The Climate Council says that on the roads, it's getting worse. I'm Dr Juliet Bourke, and this is The Business Of, a podcast from the University of New South Wales Business School. If we can switch to greener, cleaner vehicles, we could really move away from our reliance on fossil fuels to get from A to B. The trouble is, according to the Australian Electric Vehicle Council, the policy settings aren't quite right to incentivise businesses, like manufacturing and selling electric vehicles. Behyad Jafari is the CEO of the Australian Electric Vehicle Council. And he's trying to change that. He's seen how a policy vacuum in Australia is hurting the EV industry and preventing people from getting behind the wheels of electric vehicles. So what lessons can he teach us about climate change and being at the forefront of a growing eco industry? If you weren't living in Australia, where would you be living now (well, from an electric vehicle perspective)?

Behyad Jafari: The world leader in moving on electric vehicles has been Norway. And that is because they sort of acted before everyone else. I think, where I'd most like to learn about what they're doing electric vehicles is probably in California, where they are taking certain policy approaches to converting their public transport fleet, their heavy vehicle fleets, their light transport their sort of car fleets, and also say quite a lot of efforts, a lot of things that we try to learn from Australia, and how do you promote that, while ensuring that there's no divide? So how can you provide financial incentives that are targeted to charities or people in low income, so not for profits? And because in Australia, something like 80 per cent of people, 75 per cent of people never buy new cars. They only ever buy a secondhand car. Now, there's only one way to make a secondhand car, you have to sell a new one. Now, how do we make sure we're successful in where most people actually apply and that sort of second-hand car market and getting, you know, everyone able to convert and making sure that there's no haves and have nots when it comes to electric vehicles.

Juliet Bourke: So just want to take you to where we are in Australia with electric vehicles, you're obviously ahead of the curve, you had your electric vehicle seven years ago? Where are we in Australia more generally.

Behyad Jafari: So we're in a position where relative to the world we've been behind, but we're very quickly catching up. So when I established the Electric Vehicle Council some seven years ago, less than 1 per cent of the new vehicles that we sold were electric. Now for roughly the past three years, we've been doubling the number of sales year on year where just shy of 10 per cent, between sort of eight and a half to nine and a half percent depending on the month of new vehicle sold or electric. So that's been a pretty significant jump for us. Some three odd years ago, you know, sort of when I started doing this work, I would when I'm presenting to audiences, I would say that our market is 10 times behind the rest of the world to on average of where countries like us sit when it comes to electric vehicle adoption. About 12 months ago, I started saying we're about five times behind the rest of the world. And today when I give that same presentation, I say we're two times behind the rest of the world. So two times, there's still there's a lot of work for us to do that, you know, they're still behind that is, you know, that's double, they're still pretty bad. But the trend there is quite exciting in that we've gone from 10 to two. And it shows that if we do keep that up, we do have an opportunity to actually catch up and start to be seen as one of the countries that are ahead of other people rather than behind other people.

Juliet Bourke: What has been the impetus behind that?

Behyad Jafari: Yeah, over the years there has been a steady I would say you know as a person doing it – too slow – but steady stream of sort of more positive developments on the government and so policy and have things particularly over. And without being too political, particularly during the tenure of the last government, a lot of policies that were started from the state government, and so a federal government that was doing less on this state governments were filling in the gaps where they could. And that necessarily means, you know, by being state governments, they can do less than a federal government can. But some of that supports not only the direct policy support that they provided, but very importantly, the confidence that that set to a market to an industry that has resulted in more models of electric vehicles being made available. So different shapes and sizes to suit people's needs. The difference of electric vehicles today, instead of being much more suitable to people's needs increase range, we now this year, for the first time, we went from having no models of electric vehicles that started under $40,000, and are having three under $40,000. So showing you just how dynamically this industry is changing. So lowering prices certainly played a role, I think the biggest change that we see, and this is a bet that we made early on, because we saw the same thing was true with rooftop solar panels, but it's that network effects of wind, you know, somebody who has solar panels or an electric vehicle, your confidence in the technology goes through the roof. You know, as charismatic as I am reading what I say in the newspaper may provide you some confidence about electric vehicle technology. But when your best friend has one, then you go okay, well, you do all the same things that I do. And if it works for you, it's probably going to work for me.

Juliet Bourke: So we've got your charisma. I love that. And we've got peer pressure. Okay, so then are we all set? Is it just supply equaling demand is demand equaling supply?

Behyad Jafari: So one of the challenges that we have today is that while things are going so right across the world, cars are sold in a set of regulations. And they're essentially a rulebook for car companies to say you can sell any car that you want in our market. But on average, the emissions that come from most cars need to fall. So if you sell a whole range of whatever it may be very large SUVs that have terrible efficiency that require a lot of petrol to run, then you also have to sell some hybrid SUVs in order to help bring your target down. And over time as well, a lot of electric SUVs, they help bring your target down even further. So it's not a mandate that bans the sale of any particular vehicle, it just says you have to make all of those options available. And if you don't, if you don't sell, you know, sort of number of these things, you face penalties. So that's why we say there's companies looking here, these are global companies making global decisions and saying, Well, this same car, the same electric car that I've built, if I sell it in New Zealand, for instance, I'm avoiding something like $10,000 worth of penalties if I sell it in Australia, well, I need to make up for that $10,000 worth of penalties over in New Zealand. So it's actually a bad decision for me to bring that car and make it available to Australian consumers. So that's where we say that first piece of work for us is getting these standards right and making them equitable to other countries like the USA, Europe, New Zealand that we're on an even playing field. And all that does for us is just remove that impediment. It doesn't necessarily give us an advantage over other countries. It just stops disadvantaging us over other countries.

Juliet Bourke: In Australia, the electric vehicle market has developed without any overarching national fuel efficiency standards. They're being written as we speak. But this lack of policy direction as the industry was in its infancy, has now put us on the backfoot. Even so, this policy blind spot could be counteracted by our relatively high wealth compared to other markets. We've got money to spend. And car companies might see this as an advantage.

Behyad Jafari: We are a smaller market. But as a relatively smaller country, we're also a pretty wealthy country. So if you look around the world, you're not just measuring us against population size, but you're measuring us against population size of people who can buy. You know, in Australia, the average new car price is about $50,000 or $51,000. So how many people around the world can afford to buy in Australian dollars $51,000 worth of a car that then pretty significantly shrinks. That total market size, that total population size, the fact that we are a right-hand drive market that our shipping costs are higher because we are further away? All of those things exists, that is absolutely true. But there's no, you know, a policy of building a large enough grappling hook to connect us closer to the rest of the world doesn't quite exist. So as we say, fixing things like these regulations, it just takes one very big impediment away. And it's an impediment that we can take away. You know, we can't suddenly make our country 10 times larger in population size. We can't make ourselves closer to the rest of the world. But we can remove what is essentially an unevenness in regulations. And you know, when it's easy enough to say well, regulations, penalties that all sounds pretty simple. In my world in the automotive world, these regulations that I'm describing there were first introduced in the USA for instance in 1976. So for car companies when it comes to more efficient vehicles and so whether that's a petrol vehicle that's just got a more efficient engine, or hybrid vehicles or electric vehicles, sort of for them, it's like showing up to a country that hasn't built roads yet. And they're saying, that brand new car that you've just spent billions of dollars and developing come and bring it here, they sort of look at you like, what's wrong with you? You know, everybody else does this. This isn't a unique revolutionary idea. Countries have been doing this for decades. Something like 80 per cent of the world's market already has these standards in place. And you guys don't. There's both the reality of those regulations of creating those penalties and otherwise, but there's also the investment confidence behind it, saying, well, a country that doesn't have this, imagine a country that hasn't built roads, you say, well how safe do I feel making an investment in bringing these products to this country that sort of is, you know, some 50 years behind the USA in the introduction of these regulations? That sort of feels a bit weird. What else should I be worried about? You know, how safe is what I'm doing here?

Juliet Bourke: All right here's the question, because it seems, you know, you said that the US had these regulations in place in the 1970s. What’s standing in the way of us developing regulation here?

Behyad Jafari: So much earlier on for this regulation specifically, the answer was that because we were building cars here, the power of the manufacturers they would sort of argue and to be clear, same as in the US and other places, they argue against these, that these are essentially rules being imposed on them. And every country, every company would say, Well, no, don't do that. They were ignored in other countries where they're building vehicles, and they weren't ignored in Australia, they did get to somewhat write their own rulebook and make sure that these regulations didn't exist. At the time sedans were very popular, but very large, inefficient sedans. And then very quickly, the companies like Holden building cars here started complaining, it's actually very hard for us to export any of these cars to markets around the world. And I said, Well, of course it is because they all have these efficiency regulations. They don't want big gas guzzling or big petrol guzzling sedans, they want more efficient vehicles. And so we somewhat, you know, shot ourselves in the foot there by essentially letting them make more profitable, less efficient cars, sort of trading Australia, like a bit of a dumping ground, you know, which car companies unfortunately are still able to do here today. And that meant that they were less competitive on a global scale. So that took away some of that industry opportunity for us at the time, today, I mean, yes, there are still lobbies, other certain car imports were still trying to stop this effort. I think more broadly, though, it speaks to the same approaches that we've made across a whole range of clean energy, and pretty innovative industries, which is particularly for the last two decades, we took a pretty hands-off approach, saying, let's just let the market determine where the opportunities are going to go. And what that's resulted in is, these global opportunities, whether it's where a car goes, or whether it's where a new solar panel factory is being built. In Australia, we've decided to be hands-off and let the market decide. And then other countries have said, well, we're going to intervene and make sure that they get built in our country, and we're going to give ourselves a competitive advantage. And that's meant that we have missed out.

Juliet Bourke: So just thinking about manufacturing. I mean, we did have Holden here, and of course that closed down. What was that? 2017, something like that? Can we recover from that? Will we ever have manufacturing back on our soil of electric vehicles?

Behyad Jafari: So be clear, we do manufacture heavy electric vehicles in Australia, and we still have a manufacturing industry for both diesel trucks. And that's now transitioning over to electric trucks. But then also importantly, in that supply chain opportunity, you know, the amount of power required in batteries in order to fuel those trucks, for instance, that is enough to establish our own battery manufacturing, or to support our own battery manufacturing industry in Australia just as just as supply those trucks. So it is really about looking at how can we leverage those opportunities we know in our region Thailand is a major manufacturer of cars, Indonesia is racing very heavily to become a major manufacturer of cars in our vehicles. So yes, certainly there is an opportunity there, we would have to compete very heavily to get car manufacturing back because of the scale required in it. There is an opportunity, but I think the level of competition that we would have to be instilled upon us is probably greater than I'm seeing in the ambition of what we're working towards. But both of those manufacturing centres need batteries, for instance. So can we be the people who build the batteries and maybe then do some level of assembly and then recycle those batteries once they are spent as well, that across that supply chain, there are pretty significant opportunities. And so we need to know who are our partners in across that supply chain? Who are our customers? Are they certain manufacturers in Thailand or Indonesia or manufacturers here in Australia? So let's actually make sure that the system that we're building is fit for purpose to help us achieve that.

Juliet Bourke: So we could play a role still in manufacture is what I'm hearing you’re saying but it might not be a replication of the Holden car factory where we build, you know, from the ground up? Is that what you see?

Behyad Jafari: I think that's the most likely outcome for us. So I think some two odd years ago, I was still, you know, I'd written an opinion article saying, Yes, we absolutely could bring car manufacturing back to Australia at a reasonably significant scale, what we have to understand is that, particularly for electric cars, modern day vehicle manufacturing looks pretty different to how it used to back in the 50s, when we set up the Holden factory. Back, then you would sort of need some, you know, five to six hundred thousand vehicles in order to get a return on your investment on building those cars. And today, in more modular factories, a factory in order to, you know, be stood up to sort of make sense to be built, looks more like one or two hundred thousand vehicles. So that means something more like 10 per cent of our market, and there are a few cars that are already around that figure, and then the other half of the cars being sold across our region. So it's certainly, you know, given the competitive advantages of our workforce here in Australia, yes, usually picked on something as a negative because we have our employment costs. But to be clear, we're not competing for low skilled, low paid jobs. There are modern day factory or assembly lines, so what we sort of call purple collar, it's technicians, right. It's sort of engineers, technicians that are people who have reasonably high skills reasonably high pay, and what manufacturers are looking for. The things like the quality of the accreditation, the quality of the education, that pipeline of education. So can you keep educating more and more technicians can you keep educating more and more engineers, and that's a place where we compete very strongly. So there are these advantages that we have, that could help us get car manufacturing back. But this sort of goes back to what I was saying of that either interventionist or hands off approach, when I say that Thailand already builds vehicles, Singapore is competing very hard to build vehicles. They both have very ambitious policies for their own markets. They have very ambitious industry development policies. And then the when the, when Joko Widodo, visited Australia, he said number one on my agenda is to help get battery minerals in order to help set up our EV supply chain for Indonesia, because we want to be an EV manufacturing hub. That is the type of ambition that we need, what we can't do is say, well, that'd be nice if it happened. And if somebody wants to come and drop it on our lap, that'd be lovely. If that's the way that we're competing for the opportunity, then we might as well not compete at all, because there's no way that's gonna work out.

Juliet Bourke: Sounds like you're saying that these other countries have put a stake in the ground. They're really ambitious around it. And we've sort of let it happen, which is, you know, maybe a bit of an Australian way. You just sit back and if it happens, it happens. Is that your understanding?

Behyad Jafari: I think that certainly has been true. So I do see a pretty marked change now with this new government in recognising actually, that's the world that we have to be in, we do have to intervene, we have to sort of make this happen. We are playing catch up in that field. Because others in this area have been doing more and have been doing more for a lot longer.

Juliet Bourke: The political climate is changing. It's not what it was 10 years ago, let's say over the last 10 years, what else needs to be true? What else do we need to have in place to make this ambition of electric vehicles real?

Behyad Jafari: So I guess the two aspects of that one in the what can we do for our market? One is, if we look over that long stretch of time, there is no disagreement, certainly by people who know what they're talking about in the automotive industry that at some point in time, all new vehicles are electric vehicles. That question is, what is the difference of the speed of that transition in markets around the world? So, you know, when will that happen in the USA and Europe? And in Australia today the answer has been that there's a pretty long tail for Australia compared to how everybody else in the world is going. And that's where we sort of talk about things like Australia being treated as a dumping ground. So, you know, for certain car manufacturers, they can say, well, actually selling that car that's older, less efficient, has less technology in it, that's actually more profitable for us as a company. So why don't we send those cars to Australia where these regulations don't exist and send out not just electric vehicles, but just more fuel efficient, sort of better vehicles, in these countries with regulations where a profit margin may be smaller, but we're avoiding penalties. So ensuring that we don't end up with those perverse outcomes for Australian drivers for Australian consumers. You know, some of that is up to us in the type of policies that we provide. It's about making electric car the obvious choice. And it's about people not having to ask, Well, where do I charge my car? The answer being well, whatever the hell I want, because there's all these chargers around the place on the other end of this though, about sort of industry as I look at this, the answer is just as true for electric vehicle industry opportunities as it is in the clean energy world more broadly as it is in sort of any more innovative fields. And I've spoken about a few things already, I think one thing that I'll add to it is to have the appetite for the risk, right? There's a, you know, anyone working in a startup or a venture capital funds, or you know, any sort of new emerging field will get be quite comfortable with the idea that a business that you're working on or that you're investing in may well not work out. And that is the expected natural flow of things, you hope that your business works out, of course, but you are prepared for the eventuality that it may not and that you have to be agile and go do something else, or that you have to shift what your business is, in order to make it go do something else. When we talk about this at an economic level, or national level, it is understanding that we actually have to try things. And even if those things don't work out, and we fail, there's actually a value to that failure, and there's a value to just trying things. So things being successful and becoming a unicorn and becoming new multibillion-dollar industry, that is not the only thing that has value attached to it, that the learning that we get out of actually doing in the first place, that learning has value to it. And also becoming more of a – I'm not saying that we're not already – but more of a country of doers also has the value of things of that, you know, in the same way that we set up the ecosystem for the Australian market for electric vehicles to be the obvious choice for the Australian consumer. We also do that with industry development opportunities when a global company is looking at where do I set my R&D facility for, I don't know, quantum computing, or electric vehicles or whatever else? Well, Australia becomes a very obvious place for them, because that's the place where it really cool, exciting things are happening where people are actually doing things. So of course, I'm going to go and set up facilities there.

Juliet Bourke: Well, let's just talk about infrastructure. I mean, that's real for some people, people who live in flats, people who live in houses without garages, people who can't be certain where they're going to park their car on the street. Yes, there are workplaces being set up with charging ports. But we're not the UK that has a charging port on every telegraph pole. So surely that's playing into some of the resistance.

Behyad Jafari: So yes, look in a few ways. And when I say normalise that this is what we're talking about. Right. So how do we make this such an easy choice? And that's whereas I say, again, it comes down to building that confidence for investment. What is that company that builds those chargers? What are they looking for? Well, they want certainty around customers, they want certainty around If I want to go and put an electric vehicle charger on that street pole, who do I have to deal with? Whose permission do I need? How would I get those permissions? Is it going to cost me millions of dollars to get all those permissions? Or will it be relatively easy? You know, those are all things that we can smooth the passage of. And then when we say normalising it, you know, that end goal that we're trying to reach when you have an electric car, you spend all of this time before you have been thinking about how am I going to recharge and especially if you can charge at home, but where am I going to recharge, how long will it take, the first thing that you find is it's actually more convenient to recharge an electric car than to refuel a petrol car, because I get home, I plug my car in once every few weeks, and I walk away, that's actually more convenient than having to go to a petrol station in the first place. And then the cost of doing that I mean, I do have rooftop solar panels are the cost can be free. If I didn't, and I was just using standard electricity standard rates, you shouldn't be talking about, you know, the equivalent of a tank of petrol for about between five or $10. And this is why you'll see in quite a lot of places like say shopping centres or restaurants or fast food outlets that actually provide charging for free.

Juliet Bourke: It’s like a free WIFI kind of idea right? Free WIFI, free electric car charging.

Behyad Jafari: That’s exactly right, I'd rather have that customer in my store, than bother charging them for this because it cost me $2 to recharge their car. And don't forget, most of the time, I'm not fully recharging their car, I'm sort of topping up a little bit while they happen to be here. And then they come each other they spend an amount of money, it is just about instilling that confidence that yes, the market will be going faster towards electric vehicles. So it makes a lot more sense for people to be building that infrastructure.

Juliet Bourke: I'm going to be a bit controversial now. The question is this: most of our energy in Australia comes from coal. And if we're using electricity, we're actually using coal. So isn't the electric vehicle industry at this point in time supporting the coal industry?

Behyad Jafari: So a few things there. One is if you're charging your car publicly through one of our charging networks, the majority of those are, you know, 99 per cent of those are being powered by renewable energy. So that's a decision that the charging network companies have made of saying, this is the benefit of electric cars. So we want to make sure that we're sourcing renewable energy ourselves, then also remembering you know, we don't buy cars, have them on our roads for a year and then send them to the scrap yard. If you buy a car today for that sort of stays on the road for between 15 to 20 years. So a petrol car today, uses petrol has 100 per cent fossil fuel, it stays there for 20 years at just as dirty as the day it started. Whereas you bought an electric car every year that car is getting greener by you not doing anything at all. Because the car itself isn't polluting at all it's the electricity source. So one of those great benefits is we're centralising our problem. Rather than saying, well, we've got 20 million cars on our roads, that's 20 million problems for us to fix. I'm saying, Well, if we connect those 20 million cars to electricity system, well, it's a lot easier to fix the electricity system, then everyone's individual car, that's, you know, making your individual car more efficient, it's pretty much impossible. And if there was some technology that allowed me to do it, I would have to come into your home into your driveway and you know, fiddle around. That's, that's not something the government can really do. That's not something any of us can do. But if we get you to connect to electricity source and that’s coal-fired power, that that is something that we can address. And that is something that we are addressing.

Dr Juliet Bourke: Behyad sees addressing the pollution on our roads through widespread adoption of electric vehicles as an efficient way to reduce emissions, and combat climate change. He's talking about creating an environment where EVs are the obvious choice, kind of like how people put solar panels on their roofs to reduce their carbon footprint. Solar energy might feel commonplace now, but to understand how we got here, and how we might push EVs in the same direction, we need to understand the global forces that drove this development in renewables. Professor Frederik Anseel is the Senior Deputy Dean at the University of New South Wales Business School. He's an expert in how organisations and their leaders adapt to change when it comes to how businesses can best address climate change. Professor Anseel thinks we can learn a thing or two by looking to the past.

Professor Frederik Anseel: When we talk about electric vehicles or any type of new emerging energy, we would think like how do we convince people to make that decision to buy, let’s say an electric vehicle or to install solar panels. And what we're often overlooking is basically that there's a much wider context geopolitical world out there with all sorts of events that start to interact with individual decision-making.

At UNSW we actually have one of the world's rock stars and solar research that is Professor Martin Green, and he has been working on solar panels and photovoltaics his entire career. And honestly, it's safe to say, wherever in the world if you buy a solar panel, there is almost certainly a component that has been designed or invented by Professor Martin Green. He has had a huge impact globally on solar research and photovoltaics. And so he tells this very interesting story, how he came to studying solar panels and photovoltaics. And we need to go back 50 years now.

At that time, what happened is, for instance, President Nixon making a bold speech to the US citizens saying we need to reduce energy expenditure, we need to reduce our reliance on oil, that speech of Nixon struck a chord with Martin Green as a very young researcher and made him so energised and motivated to start working on alternative sources of energy on photovoltaics. And of course, that is a very, very long trajectory as a result of those investments. 50 years ago, geopolitically, suddenly, we have all over the world, an abundance of solar panels, photovoltaics and energy crisis, leading to investments in research and innovation, leading to new products like solar panels that are subsidised.

And then you come back to that individual level, people making decisions, will I buy this? Will I install this? Is this a good decision for me personally? So it's a very good question to think about, as a business leader, how do you respond to this? What does this mean, right? Because sometimes, as a business leader, it feels that you can just respond, but no one has a crystal ball, because let's say that the oil price going up as a result of tensions in Ukraine, and tensions in the Middle East. That is something that will feed into inflation that will feed into interest rates. And so all these things are connected. And so what you basically see when I'm now talking to business leaders, is that they would say, it's very risky for us just responding. So we try to anticipate some of those things happening. One interesting evolution is when I was talking to some business leaders, they say, we currently always have people from international politics scholars on our board. They’re going to present trying to make a risk assessment trying to forecast where the big things are happening where the risk factors are geopolitically. And then we try to translate that, what does that mean for us in terms of risk? And that is often about supply chains how they need to look at that. And what I'm hearing from a lot of business leaders is when they say about anticipating, they say, We want to de-risk and de-risk means often that they want to increase the number of options they have. And so instead of being entirely reliant on let's say, one supplier and one specific country that they will re-route or redesign their supply chains, making sure that they have some supply chains that is closer to home, even in their own country, making sure that for instance, they bring in some suppliers that there's more vertical supply chains that is within the company that they are less reliant on others. So what you see is basically that business leaders keep more options open, or will expand the number of scenarios that they have because they know that there's currently too much risk in just putting their bet on one horse or two horses.

Juliet Bourke: Getting the policy settings right for businesses to effectively fight climate change is no easy feat. But like Professor Anseel says, it’s about being aware of the opportunities around you. Behyad’s first goal was – and still is – saving the planet, but as a savvy business leader he saw an industry struggling to catch up, and put his passions and skills to work. So if you’re on a mission, don’t forget to look up and around – what might seem like a localised problem is probably part of a whole network of competing interests and priorities. And if you’re looking for step one, try Behyad’s approach: find the lowest-hanging fruit, or solve the problem that fixes many, and put your foot on the accelerator!

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