‘Don’t f*** the planet’: Atlassian’s corporate sustainability blueprint


Australian SaaS company Atlassian has launched a guidebook that outlines its journey to net zero in a bid to help accelerate other businesses’ sustainability plans.
UKRAINE – 2021/02/01: In this photo illustration an Atlassian Corp. Plc logo is seen displayed on a smartphone screen. (Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The US$41 billion company, which is headed up by climate change enthusiast Mike Cannon-Brookes and co-founder Scott Farquar, set a goal to reach net-zero emissions by no later than 2050 at the 2019 UN Climate Week. It also became one of the first Australian companies to sign the 1.5 campaign.

The resource, which was created after speaking to and sharing ideas with more than 100 companies, including fellow Australian unicorns Canva and CultureAmp, claims to explain how Atlassian started its sustainability program, committed to a science-based target and transformed internal operations to help reach climate milestones.

Inside the report, Atlassian says it conducted research in conjunction with PwC Australia which found more than 60 per cent of US and Australian workers wanted their employers to take action on social and environmental issues like climate change, equality and poverty. In Australia alone, 74 per cent of workers said businesses should use their influence and resources to drive action on climate change, with more than half of respondents willing to leave their job if their values don’t align with their employers.

The Don’t F&*! The Planet report also details how the software company set its baseline goals and targets, including its science-based targets, which it claims are subject to the “most rigorous standards out there”.

The company says it brought in sustainable design firms to make investments in energy efficiency retrofits in its existing leased officers and is leading with its sustainability and renewable goals as it builds its new Sydney headquarters (which will be the world’s tallest hybrid timber building). That project is targeting 50 percent less embodied carbon in construction, 50 per cent less energy consumption and will operate on 100 per cent renewable energy from day one. Solar panels will also be built into the facade.

Beyond the office goals, Atlassian’s report also states it is looking to acknowledge the complexities resulting from a hybrid working environment.

Cannon-Brooke’s climate crusade

Atlassian co-founder Cannon-Brookes, who has a net worth of $10.8 billion, according to Forbes Australia’s 50 Richest list, has previously pledged $500 million in his personal funds to philanthropies fighting climate change. He also committed to investing $1 billion into the renewable energy sector – on top of the $1 billion he his wife Annie have already invested through their self-funded investment firm, Grok Ventures.

In late 2022, Cannon-Brookes was successful in shaking up Australian energy giant AGL’s board after rallying nearly the entire year to block a demerger of the company.

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