Sustainable Economic Growth in Southeast Asia: Pipedream or reality?

Co-presented with the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre

ASEAN Forum forest image

11 September 2014

As part of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre ASEAN Forum to commemorate 40 years of Australian engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), we present a public event focusing on issues of sustainability in Southeast Asia.

A key question underpinning the future of this relationship is how Southeast Asia will continue on its path of economic growth while working within environmental limits and developing more sustainable practices. Understanding how business, governments and civil society in ASEAN are engaging with the challenging questions of environmental sustainability is essential to understand the future of Australia’s relationship with the region – economically, environmentally, politically and socially.

A number of ASEAN countries have made much of their climate and environment policies but can they be effectively implemented?

Leading Asian based businesses have announced ambitious environmental policies. But are these merely ‘green wash’ or part of a growing trend of transformation as the region integrates into the global economy and consumers become more concerned about sustainable performance?

And having been actively campaigned against for many years, a number of major Southeast Asian businesses are now working closely with environmental NGOs such as Greenpeace and WWF to implement these ambitious policies.

Our public forum will include brief presentations by those taking a leading role in addressing these Southeast Asian dynamics followed by a panel discussion on the role business, civil society and government in Australia and Southeast Asia all play in promoting and / or hindering sustainable economic growth in the region. We will finish with the opportunity to ask questions.


  • Kelly Dent, Economic Justice Coordinator at Oxfam Australia
  • Larry Jackson, Managing Director, Asia Pulp and Paper, Oceania
  • Martijn Wilder AM, head of Global Environmental Markets practice at Baker McKenzie and a Director and Governor of WWF
  • Professor Christopher Wright, University of Sydney Business School and Business Enterprise Research Newtork (BERN), whose research explores individual, organizational and societal responses to anthropogenic climate change
  • Professor Nick Rowley (panel chair), Adjunct Professor at the Sydney Democracy Network and former advisor on sustainability and climate change to British Prime Minister Tony Blair