The CEFC has a unique role in the Australian economy, with numerous investment commitments breaking new ground in introducing clean energy technologies to new sectors, businesses and projects. As our organisation matures, we are also managing an increasingly large and complex portfolio of investments.
We take a commercial approach to our activities, while also delivering on our public policy purpose to increase available finance for Australia’s clean energy transformation. Across our portfolio, we invest to deliver a positive return for taxpayers. We operate at the forefront of the finance and clean energy sectors, influencing businesses to set ambitious sustainability and economic goals and benefit from rapid advances in clean energy technologies. We provide tailored debt and equity finance to businesses and projects which develop and commercialise clean energy technologies at early and later stages of development.
Market perceptions about our role as a specialist clean energy investor mean that CEFC staff are often invited to meet with private, government and international organisations to share information about our investments, our experience and insights into this dynamic sector. We welcome this ability to positively influence market and stakeholder understanding about the opportunities to invest in lowering emissions.
The increased breadth and depth of our organisation, from new transactions to our growing portfolio, saw a substantial increase in our market engagement activities in 2018–19. We set new highs in the number and diversity of external engagements, with 111 speaking engagements, up from 87 in 2017–18, and 13 targeted sponsorships, up from nine in the previous year. We also saw an increase in CEFC-hosted events, including the Innovation Fund CleanTech Showcase in Melbourne, the Victorian and New South Wales Electric Vehicle Drive Days and four well-attended Board-hosted stakeholder events.
Working at the CEFC gives employees the opportunity to make a real difference in our environment. It provides me with a great sense of purpose for my work.
With the growth of our organisation and our investment portfolio, we continued to deepen our skills base, as well as prioritise cross-skilling to enhance career opportunities and minimise key person risk. The CEFC actively promotes and encourages individual professional development as a core contributor to our market impact, as well as broadening and deepening the skills of our people:
CEFC staff participate in site visits to our investment projects, to learn first-hand about the role of CEFC finance from investors and businesses adopting clean energy technologies.
Participation in industry conferences and speaking events play a dual role in ensuring our staff stay abreast of emerging clean energy technologies and have the chance to influence business readiness to adopt clean energy strategies.
Frequent “lunch and learn” sessions on market developments and emerging technologies are well attended, with external speakers a regular feature. These sessions provide an important opportunity for CEFC staff to increase their understanding of relevant developments in the clean energy sector, as well as share our own insights and knowledge with others, creating collaborative relationships across our market.
Formal training in specific technical expertise is offered to ensure the CEFC team has the know-how, technical skills and impact required to fulfil our mission.
An online learning tool, iLEARN, gives CEFC employees access to a wide range of online learning modules, with content ranging from induction and compliance to leadership, emotional intelligence, and environmental and sustainability awareness.
Diversity and inclusion
At 30 June 2019, the CEFC had 101 employees, an increase of eight on the prior year. As a specialised financier, the CEFC recruits experienced, senior practitioners within each functional area, which is reflected in the average employee age of 41.5 years. We offer flexible work arrangements to all employees, as well as paid parental leave and purchased leave, reflecting the diverse needs and preferences of our people.
The CEFC continues to reflect a diverse cultural profile. The proportion of employees born overseas has slightly increased to 44 per cent, including 44 employees from 20 countries, in addition to those born in Australia.
We saw a 13 per cent increase in the representation of women at the CEFC Executive Level in 2018–19, to 38 per cent. In addition, 35 per cent of senior management positions were held by women, slightly above the financial services industry average of 33 per cent. Overall, CEFC gender diversity remained steady in 2018–19, at 53 per cent male and 47 per cent female.
We were pleased to deliver a 10 per cent reduction in the total gender pay gap in the year, which contracted to 19.4 per cent (excluding CEO data). This level was considerably ahead of that for similar-sized organisations in the financial services sector, which was reported at 48.7 per cent by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). Further, on a like-for-like basis across six comparable career levels, the CEFC has achieved at least 92 per cent gender pay parity. We continue to focus on improving gender equity, with a particular emphasis on increasing female representation at senior leadership levels and supporting initiatives which assist in the attraction and retention of female talent.
International Women’s Day
CEFC staff came together to mark International Women’s Day for the first time in 2018–19. In a well-attended event in our offices, we were pleased to hear from Rebecca Pinkstone, who is General Manager Operations at Bridge Housing. Ms Pinkstone spoke about how the community housing sector has contributed to “a better world with better balance” by supporting older women, survivors of family violence and single mothers.
Reconciliation Action Plan
The CEFC formed a Reconciliation Working Group in 2018–19, in response to interest from staff in encouraging relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations. We recognise that lowering emissions for sustainable communities will benefit from an inclusive society that recognises the rich history, culture and contribution of Indigenous Australians. Although we are at the beginning of our Reconciliation journey, the Reconciliation Working Group has launched several initiatives including: the celebration of Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week; the introduction of protocols for the Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country at CEFC events; and the creation of an online portal to provide staff with resources about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements.
Women in Sustainable Finance
The CEFC continued to play a major role in the Women in Sustainable Finance (WISF) forums in 2018–19, with six events held in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. WISF is an important diversity initiative led by the CEFC alongside industry peers including HESTA, ANZ, Westpac, Sustainalytics, the Adara Group and Baker Mackenzie. This initiative has created almost 900 new connections and continues to draw strong participation from leaders and participants across the sector, with the events open to women and men.
In 2018–19 WISF hosts included Sustainability Victoria, KPMG, Herbert Smith Freehills, Baker McKenzie, NAB and Macquarie. Topics spanned the circular economy, the gender lens in investing, renewables investment, the Paris Agreement and innovative technologies.