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Professor Joseph Stiglitz - Greenwashing: How Imperfect Information Can Make Climate Change Worse

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Nobel Prize-winning economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz joins Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, chair of the Senate Inquiry into Greenwashing and Polly Hemming, Climate & Energy Director at the Australia Institute to talk about combating greenwashing. 

Professor Joseph Stiglitz is visiting Australia as a guest of the Australia Institute, as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations in 2024.

The costs of maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy are incalculable, while transitioning to a lower-carbon system will cost far less, according to Professor Joseph Stiglitz, who was a lead author of the 1995 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. 

Consumers are often imperfectly informed about the climate impacts of many of the products they buy. Regulators are cracking down on false and misleading environmental claims, but in Australia a recent Senate inquiry into greenwashing heard that corporate greenwashing is being facilitated by government. 

Join Professor Joseph Stiglitz, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Polly Hemming for a discussion about how disclosure laws and effective regulation can help combat greenwashing and create climate integrity.

Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz is a Nobel Prize–winning economist, former chief economist of the World Bank and best-selling author. Professor Stiglitz is an economist and a professor at Columbia University Business School, as well as co-chair of the High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress at the OECD, and the Chief Economist of the Roosevelt Institute. Professor Stiglitz was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001, the John Bates Clark Medal in 1979, and he was the recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize in 2018 - for leading a global conversation about the crisis caused by economic inequality and exposing the violence inflicted by market fundamentalism. He is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and a former chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers. He is also the author of numerous best-selling books including, most recently, The Road to Freedom: Economics and the Good Society.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is a Senator for South Australia and Chair of the Senate Inquiry into Greenwashing. With 16 years in the Parliament, Sarah Hanson-Young has become one of the country's leading voices on women in politics, environmental protection, climate change, media laws and diversity, and human rights policy; she has been a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum since 2016 and was a Bloomberg Catalyst in 2021. Sarah is the Australian Greens Manager of Business in the Senate, and Party spokesperson for Environment and Water, Media and Communications, and the Arts. Representing the state of South Australia, Sarah is a strong advocate for a fast and efficient transition to renewable energy, decarbonisation and protecting biodiversity. 

Polly Hemming is Director of the Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy program. She has extensive experience working in policy, marketing and engagement roles in both not-for-profit and public sectors. Her current work focuses on carbon and environmental markets, climate integrity and greenwashing. Having previously led the development of a government eco-label recognising voluntary climate action by the private sector, she maintains a strong interest in non-state climate ambition and the policies and regulation that interact with this. Polly’s previous roles have included academic publishing, remote Indigenous education, refugee advocacy and science communication, bringing a range of perspectives and experiences to her work.

The Australia Institute: Celebrating 30 years of Big Ideas

The Australia Institute is bringing some of the world’s brightest thinkers to Australia in 2024 to celebrate our 30th anniversary as the nation’s leading independent think tank. For 30 years the Australia Institute’s independent, non-partisan research has led the national policy debate with big ideas. The Australia Institute plays a critical role in shaping the national economic debate for a fairer society and economy—from our groundbreaking 1997 paper on better measuring wellbeing in Australia, The Genuine Progress Indicator, to the influential 2005 bookAffluenza (and later Curing Affluenza), to our cutting-edge research exposing the role of corporate profits in driving Australia’s post-pandemic inflation, to our influential work that helped reshape better fairer Stage 3 tax cuts—we have a track record of delivering research that shifts policy from the politically impossible into the inevitable.

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