With the nation bracing for more deadly bushfires, two of Australia’s highest-valued technology companies have offered support for affected staff while pledging to keep innovative responses to climate change front of mind.
Multi-billion dollar design startup Canva said it would maintain its focus on the climate in 2020, as businesses across the startup space pledge additional paid leave and long-term support for staff members.
“We’re looking longer term as well — what’s the cause of these bushfires? We’re very adamant about the climate [and climate change] here at Canva,” co-founder Cameron Adams said.
The business will undertake a variety of projects in the coming year, including donating a week’s worth of image revenue, worth at least $500,000, to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and the Red Cross.
Mr Adams said the startup was also being flexible with staff leave, allowing those who had spent their summer holidays defending their properties or wanted to continue contributing to the volunteer effort to spend time away from the office on paid leave. He said the recent fires had brought the startup sector together to focus on long-term support measures.
“You hear these stories and it hits home … everyone has to pull together and we’re really trying to connect people.”
Canva was one of the key Australian corporates to raise awareness of the 2019 climate strikes and has rolled out specific templates for climate activism over the past year.
It comes as Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes continues to rally policymakers and the technology sector on Twitter around investment in clean energy and co-operation to “decarbonise” Australia’s economy.
Atlassian is offering extended paid leave of up to 20 days for staff engaged in firefighting activity. A source close to the company confirmed the business is also working on a number of other initiatives, including working with food suppliers to showcase produce in bushfire-affected areas.
Fossil-fuel-free super fund Future Super has also pledged unlimited leave for its staff if they are affected by fires or decide to volunteer and give assistance, with a company spokeperson referring to the measures as “climate emergency leave”.
Senior technology leaders have echoed Mr Cannon-Brookes’ calls for the startup space to harness its expertise into action this year.
Founder of digital analytics firm Digivizer, Emma Lo Russo, said she was working with other technology leaders to develop a national hackathon and a strategy for commercialising good ideas related to both reducing carbon emissions and responding to disasters.
“It’s about pulling the tech community into action to do something great. People feel like it’s time to take into our own hands and, in truth, change will come from us,” Ms Lo Russo said.
Source: Thanks smh.com