Forum Steering Committee

Mara Bun

Mara Bun

Mara Bun began her colorful career as a Financial Analyst with the international investment bank Morgan Stanley, spending five years in their New York and San Francisco practices where she specialized in high technology corporate finance. In 1989 she joined a World Bank Nepali earthquake reconstruction project in Kathmandu, then moved to Australia embracing leadership roles with Greenpeace Australia and CHOICE in the 1990s.

Mara returned to investment banking as Senior Internet Equities Analyst at Macquarie Bank in 1999, covering Internet equities during the dotcom boom and its demise. She was a Director in the Allen Consulting Group’s Sydney public policy economic consulting practice, and later joined CSIRO as Director of Business Development and member of CSIRO’s Executive Management Council.

Mara is founding CEO of Green Cross Australia ( Green Cross Australia helps people adapt to our changing climate, catalysing business, research and community partnerships that empower the community to take practical actions that advance sustainability and community resilience. Green Cross excels in digital communications through six interactive platforms that reach 300,000 Australians. Its primary school environmental education program ‘Green Lane Diary’ has inspired 78,000 students around Australia since 2010.

Green Cross Australia’s new social venture offers households and businesses a way to go solar with no money upfront, while reducing electricity bills. The program promotes solar leasing through a peer-to-peer network, building on a successful US model plus an Aussie twist.

Peter Carre

Peter Carre

Managing Director, Water Resources Group            

Peter Carre has been involved in strategic evaluation, development and implementation of global technology investment opportunities and financial services businesses for more than 40 years. He is a Harvard trained economist and a lawyer who began working in the Asia Pacific in 1969 with the Bank of Boston in Sydney and Tokyo. Peter has worked continuously in and with the region since then, with an emphasis on Australia, China, Japan and India. He has been running, investing in and advising transformative technology businesses for our sustainable future. He lives in Sydney, Australia.

He has been CEO of Peter Carre and Associates, Wilshire Global Advisors, Burrill Australia and the Rein Foundation. Peter is now Chairman of the Water Resources Group, Chairman of PowerSense Ltd, Chairman of GreenBox Group Ltd, Chairman of the Momentum Green Fund, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Carbon Strategic Ltd (Singapore), and a director of the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Board.

Robert Coombs

Robert A. Coombs

President and CEO, Interface Asia Pacific

After graduating Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne in 1979, Rob Coombs began work in product marketing management within the grocery industry.

After moving on to sales and marketing roles in footwear and apparel manufacturing, Rob moved to the UK in 1988 and joined Interface, a manufacturer of commercial carpets and furniture fabrics. Rob returned to Australia in 1993 but rejoined Interface 1996 as Australian Managing Director. After moving through a number of senior management roles within the company in Europe and Asia Pacific, Rob was appointed President and CEO of a newly formed Asia Pacific division in 2002.

Rob is a member of the Board of the Green Building Council of Australia contributing a manufacturer perspective on the need to create a built environment in harmony with nature.

Interface Inc., led by its founder and Chairman Ray Anderson, is a leading proponent of sustainable business development via its Mission Zero - a commitment to eliminate any negative impact the company may have on the environment by the year 2020.

Michael Costello

Michael Costello AO

Chief Executive Officer, ActewAGL

Before his appointment to ActewAGL in 2008, he was Managing Director, ACTEW Corporation, a member of the ACTEW Board and a member of the ActewAGL Joint Venture Partnerships Board from 2003.

Michael is a member of the Advisory Council of the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Economics and Government.

Michael was previously Deputy-Managing Director of the Australian Stock Exchange. He was Chief of Staff to the Hon Kim Beazley AC, a former Labor Opposition Leader and to the Hon Bill Hayden AC when he was the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Michael has been the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Industrial Relations. He has held a number of diplomatic posts including Ambassador to the United Nations.

Michael holds degrees in arts and law. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He received an Order of Australia (AO) in 1996 for international relations.

Rev Tim Costello

Rev Tim Costello Ao

Chief Executive Officer, World Vision Australia

As CEO of World Vision Australia, Tim leads an organisation of about 560 staff, with an annual income of about $350 million, and 400,000 children overseas sponsored by Australians. Tim has long been the voice of social conscience for many Australians, having led debates on issues such as gambling, urban poverty, homelessness, reconciliation and substance abuse.

Tim studied law and education at Monash University, followed by theology at the International Baptist Seminary Rueschlikon in Switzerland, and a Master’s in Theology at the Melbourne College of Divinity. He has been a Baptist Minister in St Kilda, and in the city at Collins St Baptist Church. Tim continued to serving the local community by successfully running for Mayor of St Kilda in 1993, ending with the State Government's disbanding of councils shortly afterwards. He founded Urban Seed, a not-for-profit Christian outreach service for the urban poor.

In July 2004, Tim was named Victorian of the Year 2004. In June 2005, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). Tim is currently Chairman of the National Australia Bank's community advisory council, a member of the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation, and Chairman of the Community Council for Australia, a peak body for the Not For Profit sector.

Molly Harriss Olson

Molly Harriss Olson

Forum Convenor

Ms Olson is a Director of EcoFutures Pty Ltd, an Australian-based international policy firm working on building sustainable strategies with business, government and civic leaders. Ms Olson is co founder of Earthmark and an internationally recognised leader on sustainability.

Ms Olson was the Executive Director of the President Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development. She was founding President and CEO of The Natural Step, a U.S. a non-profit environmental education organization working with business leaders. Ms Olson has worked extensively in Australia, including as a consultant to the Environment Minister of Australia when she conducted a major review of the Government's funding for the environment.

Ms Olson was the sustainability expert for the Opening Plenary of the World Economic Forum's 2000 meeting in Davos, and has a significant speaking role on a variety of international speaking platforms. She was the Chair of King Carl Gustaf's Business Leadership and the Environmental Symposium, Stockholm, Sweden 1996, and the Myerhoff Visiting Scholar for Global Civic Responsibility, Goucher College, Baltimore, MD. "Business Class" Magazine identified Ms Olson as a "Woman to Watch into 2000".  She serves on the Boards of the Green Building Council of Australia, Fairtrade Labelling Organisation International (FLO), and was founding Chair of the Editorial Advisory Board of “Ecos” Magazine (CSIRO Publishers).

John Hewson

Dr John Hewson AM

John Hewson has had virtually four careers as an academic and economist , businessman , political advisor and politician and in the media as a columnist and commentator. In economics he has worked for the Treasury, the RBA ,the IMF and as a Professor and Dean/Head of School.

In business he is best known as a Founder of Macquarie Bank, Chairman ABN AMRO Australia and as Chairman/Director of a host of public/private companies and charities.In politics, he worked as an advisor in the Fraser Government and was Leader of the Federal Opposition. In the media, he has written regularly for the BRW, the AFR and comments regularly on radio and television.

Dr Simon Longstaff

Dr Simon Longstaff

Executive Director St James Ethics Centre

Dr Simon Longstaff is a philosopher whose focus is in the field of applied ethics encompassing the wider community beyond academe.  He has been Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre since 1991.  Established in 1989, the Centre is an independent not-for-profit organisation which provides a non-judgemental forum for the promotion and exploration of ethics.

One of the Executive Director's roles is to encourage the process of integrating ethical considerations into the strategic thinking of the management community.  More generally, Simon encourages and contributes to the active discussion of ethical issues amongst the widest possible audience.

Simon has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and won scholarships to study at Cambridge, where he read for the degrees of Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy.

More information about Dr Longstaff and the Centre is available at

Kim McKay

Kim McKayY AO

Director, Momentum

Kim McKay’s international career in media, social marketing and sustainability spans over 25 years and every continent.  A highly skilled communicator and entrepreneurial marketer, Kim has created and managed many visionary and large scale international projects.

In June 2008 she was recognized by the Australian government for distinguished service to the environment and the community and was awarded an Order of Australia (AO), one of that country’s highest civilian honours.   She is currently a director of Momentum2, a Sydney based social & sustainability marketing consultancy working on local and global projects for National Geographic Society & Qantas among other clients.

She is the co-founder of Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World and is the co-author with Jenny Bonnin of five books in the popular True Green series published by ABC Books in Australia and National Geographic Books in the USA.  True Green Kids…100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet won the AAAS/Subaru Book Prize for Best Hands on Science Book in 2009.

Kim is a regular media commentator on environmental issues and practical environmental action and is a sought-after public speaker addressing not-for-profit and business conferences as well as schools & community groups on her rich experiences.   She has recently completed a series of on-camera ‘True Green tips’ for Sky News in Australia as part of the weekly Sky Eco Report running through 2009, co-authored a weekly ‘True Green’ column for the Sunday Telegraph ‘Body and Soul’ newspaper in 2007 and was named in G Magazine’s Top 20 Australian Eco Heroes list in the November 2009 issue.

Sam Mostyn

Sam Mostyn

Non-Executive Director, Virgin Blue

Sam Mostyn is currently the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at the University of Sydney. In this role she is responsible for building collaborative and cross disciplinary projects involving research excellence on a number of sustainability topics. In September, 2010 she was appointed a Non-Executive Director of the Virgin Blue Board.

Until September 2008, Sam was Group Executive, Culture & Reputation at Insurance Australia Group. Reporting to CEO Michael Hawker, she was responsible for the Human Resources, Corporate & Government Affairs, Internal Communications and Corporate Sustainability functions and served in this role for over six years.

In her time at IAG, Sam oversaw the development of a corporate, social and environmental sustainability plan for the company with particular focus on integrating the company's internal cultural issues and business planning with customer, corporate, community and environmental activities. In that time IAG participated in the formation of the Australian Business in the Community Network, the launch of the Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change, and the creation of the Business for Millennium Development board. The company also committed itself to carbon neutrality, and to creating a safe, diverse and flexible workforce.

Prior to joining IAG, Sam held senior executive positions with Optus Communications in Sydney and Cable & Wireless Plc in London, and between 1994 and 1996 she was a policy advisor to two Federal Communications Ministers before joining the office of the Prime Minister Paul Keating as a senior communications policy advisor.

In 2005, Sam was appointed as a Commissioner with the Australian Football League, the first woman to hold such a position.

Sam's other board and advisory roles continue to encompass a broad range of interests. She is President of the Australian Museum Trust and a board member of Reconciliation Australia, Australian Volunteers International, and the Sydney Theatre Company. She is the Chair of the Stakeholder Advisory Council of the CSIRO's Climate Adaptation Flagship, a member of the NSW Climate Change Council and serves of the advisory board of ClimateWorks Australia.

Dr Michael Smith

Dr Michael Smith

Research Fellow, Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University

Dr Michael Smith has been a Research Fellow at the Australian National University Fenner School of Environment and Society since 2006. Dr Smith also co-founded and was Research Director of the Natural Edge Project (TNEP) (2002-2009), an Australian sustainability think tank. He has been assisting the Forum through drafting "Pre" and "Post" Forum reports, consensus policy statements, and co-authoring and launching, with former TNEP colleagues, a number of publications and industry reports.

He is lead author of Cents and Sustainability: Securing Our Common Future by Decoupling Economic Growth from Environmental Pressures (2010), the first publication to provide a detailed guide and realistic strategy, post the global financial crisis, to boost economic and jobs growth whilst reducing environmental pressures and poverty. This publication, co-authored with Karlson 'Charlie' Hargroves (Adelaide and Curtin Uni) and Cheryl Desha (GUT), was recently ranked 5th by Cambridge University in its top "Top 40 Sustainability Books for 2010" list.

Dr Smith has co-authored industry sector sustainability action plans with Philip Toyne, and former TNEP colleagues, including the Australian Council of Infrastructure and Development's 2003 Sustainability Framework and the detailed Sustainability Action Plan by the Australian Timber, Timber Products and Paper Council (A3P). These were formally launched at the Forum in 2003 and 2006 respectively.

Since 2009, Dr Smith has researched and developed the comprehensive Water Efficiency Opportunities Web Portal and new water efficiency best practice guides for the Commonwealth Government. He also finished the research and development of the first ever climate change adaptation online textbook, funded by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, which he teaches at ANU. He is currently leading a consortium to research and develop energy efficiency opportunity best practice guides for the COAG National Framework for Energy Efficiency and the Commonwealth Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. This will contribute to the development of the official government "energy efficiency exchange" web portal for business.

Dr Smith was nominated in 2010 by the Commonwealth Government to assist the IPCC with the development of the next IPCC assessment. He also serves as an external expert advisor to the UNEP International Resource Panel.

John Thwaites

Professor John Thwaites

Chair Monash Sustainability Institute and Chairman Climateworks Australia

John was Deputy Premier of Victoria from 1999 until his retirement in 2007. During this period he was Minister for Health, Minister for Planning, Minister for Environment, Minister for Water, Minister for Victorian Communities and Victoria's first Minister for Climate Change. John introduced major reforms to improve Victoria's sustainability and liveability including energy and water efficiency requirements for major industry and a mandatory renewable energy target for Victoria. He also introduced incentives and targets for energy efficiency, reform of water pricing and legislation to encourage conservation, and sustainability requirements for government accommodation. Prior to entering Parliament was a barrister practising in planning and administrative law. He has degrees in Law and Science.

Phillip Toyne

Phillip Toyne Ao

Director, EcoFutures

Phillip Toyne is a lawyer by training.  Along with his wife Molly Harriss Olson (the former head of President Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development), he is a Director of Eco Futures Pty Ltd, an Australian based international policy firm working on building sustainable strategies with business, government and civic leaders. He is also Director of Australian Agriculture Company (AACo), Integrated Tree Cropping Limited (ITC), CVC Sustainable Investments Pty Ltd and Earthmark Institute.  He is President of Bush Heritage Australia, a private conservation organization, which now owns one million hectares of  reserves. He lives with his family outside Canberra on a small farm.

Phillip was the Deputy Secretary for the Australian Department of Environment (1994-1997). Between 1992 and 1994 Phillip was a visiting Fellow at Australian National University, where he taught environmental law and policy, wrote the Book "The Reluctant Nation". As Executive Director of the Australian Conservation Foundation (1986-1992), Phillip created the National Land Care program in conjunction with the National Farmers Federation.  From 1974 Phillip spent 14 years in the desert, first as a schoolteacher in a remote aboriginal community at Haasts Bluff, and then as the first lawyer for the Pitjantjatjara aboriginal people. 

Les Williamson

Les Williamson

Vice President, Cisco Australia and New Zealand

Les Williamson is the vice president for Cisco, Australia and New Zealand. Within that role, Les is responsible for driving profitable growth through the promotion of the network as the platform for productivity and innovation for businesses, services providers, government and consumers. 

Cisco is the leading global networking and Information Technology company across the world, providing a wide range of industry best in class solutions based on networking technologies to help drive collaboration, productivity and social improvement. Cisco is a leader in the Australian and New Zealand markets, working closely with major service providers, large, medium and small businesses, educational facilities and health care operators to use the network as the platform for improving the standard of living for Australians and New Zealanders. Beyond business, Cisco works as a leader in corporate social responsibility and also in the promotion of environmentally sustainable work practices through the use of video and Web2.0 collaboration technologies to reduce the need for travel.

His prior role was Cisco Client Director, Telstra Sales, where Les was responsible for strong growth in the Telstra account for Cisco, and was instrumental in securing the first IP Core network sale and TelePresence in the Australian market.

Les has more than nine years experience with Cisco and more than 19 years in the information technology and joined Cisco in 1999 as an account manager.

Les holds a Bachelors Degree in Electronic Engineering from Monash University, Victoria. Les is married to Monique, lives in inner city Melbourne, Victoria, has a 9 year old son Max and 5 year old daughter Edie, and enjoys cooking, gadgets and photography.


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