With school going back this week, I was reminded of a recent conversation I had with former WA premier Geoff Gallop, when he was in Perth to commemorate the 20-year anniversary of the launch of his government’s sustainability strategy.
A couple of years back, Geoff was engaged by the New South Wales Teachers Federation to undertake a review of the NSW education system.
In addition to finding NSW teachers to be under-resourced, overworked and underpaid, the challenges they were facing with student behaviour and a growing suite of special needs alarmed Geoff. He wondered whether this was an indicator of even deeper issues within the community.
It will be interesting to see whether Carmen Lawrence, another former premier, finds similarly in the review of Western Australia’s education system she is currently performing for the State School Teachers' Union.
I’ve long viewed environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics as being linked. For example, we’ll have trouble maintaining the consensus for climate action, if living standards fall markedly. But, left unaddressed, the social impacts of global warming will be devastating. And few companies will make money amid ecological or societal collapse.
With some community issues becoming as obvious as the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, governments and corporates need to ensure we’re pursuing positive social impact as vigorously as we’re coming to address environmental issues.
This article also appeared in The West Australian newspaper.