Tech billionaire Cannon-Brookes backs climate jobs platform
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An online platform backed by the green philanthropic fund of Atlassian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes is aiming to shift 100,000 Australian workers into clean economy roles by 2027 amid warnings that without adequately upskilling the workforce, the nation risks failing to meet net zero targets.
Terra.do was founded in 2020 and launched locally this week, with about 4500 clean energy jobs available including senior climate change analyst for Qantas Freight, climate lead at the ABC and research technician at the CSIRO.
Tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes.Credit: Olive + Maeve
Clean energy represents a bigger economic opportunity than the internet boom of the 1990s, according to Terra.do chief executive and cofounder Anshuman Bapna.
Bapna, a former employee of Google and Deloitte, said Terra.do was aimed at mid-career professionals who could use its training modules to reskill, upskill and take advantage of its job board to apply for open roles. His company has a stated goal of getting 100 million people working in climate roles globally by 2030, and Bapna said mid-career workers would be crucial to achieving that outcome.
“Australia is at an inflection point where it could help lead the world’s clean energy transition, having everything it takes to lead as a renewable energy superpower,” Bapna said.
Terra.do chief executive and co-founder Anshuman Bapna.
“It not only has some of the world’s best solar, wind and critical mineral resources, it also offers a wealth of talent across all fields – from technicians to project managers – to power a greener world.”
Atlassian cofounder Cannon-Brookes, ranked as Australia’s sixth richest person with an estimated net worth of $19 billion, has made an undisclosed investment in Terra.do through his climate fund Boundless Earth.
Cannon-Brookes is in Melbourne on Thursday for the inaugural Careers for Net Zero Fair, led by the Clean Energy Council and Energy Efficiency Council, and is expected to use his speech to call for more Australians to enter climate jobs.
“The scale of ambition that Boundless has and that Mike Cannon-Brookes has, has been a personal inspiration to me as an entrepreneur,” Bapna said.
Other speakers at Thursday’s event include Engineers Australia chief executive Romilly Madew and Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan.
After a protracted tussle with fellow billionaire Andrew Forrest, Cannon-Brookes last month took charge of the $30 billion Sun Cable solar power project, a solar farm roughly four times the size of the current Snowy Hydro scheme. He also launched a guide for businesses to navigate the net zero economy and report their climate impacts, titled Don’t @#$% the Planet.
Just over a year ago, Cannon-Brookes and then wife Annie announced they would invest $1.5 billion into climate projects by 2030.
“On the philanthropic side, this is a huge raise in our ambition, and just seeing the scope of the problem and the amount of things that need to be addressed and changed,” Cannon-Brookes said at the time.
“My suspicion over the next eight years is that we’ll need to do a lot more than a lot more, so we’re going to go out and do that.”
Cannon-Brookes recently reiterated his commitment to leading enterprise software outfit Atlassian, which he co-founded with Scott Farquhar 20 years ago, despite his increasing commitments to climate and environmental activism.
Boundless Earth chief executive Eytan Lenko said on Wednesday that the degree to which Australia could harness its talent would determine its success in becoming a renewable energy superpower.
“There have never been more Australians in employment, so where our skilled workforce choose to work today will define the direction of our economy tomorrow,” Lenko said.
“While we’ve made huge strides in the past year, true progress cannot be achieved without the 100,000 more people Australia needs in the clean energy workforce by 2027. That’s just 50 months away, and it’s these 50 months that will shape Australia’s next 50 years.
“Terra.do’s mission and platform to get more people in climate jobs aligns perfectly with ours.”
Lenko said Boundless’ next priority was to help reduce Australia’s methane emissions, then tackle clean exports over the next 12 months.
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