Philanthropist and business leader Dr Andrew Forrest AO will use this year’s ABC Boyer Lectures to call on Australia’s business sector to invest in clean energy, ocean conservation and closing the inequality gap for the good of the nation.
Dr Forrest’s four-part lecture series titled “Rebooting Australia: How ethical entrepreneurs can help shape a better future” – to be broadcast on ABC Radio National from 28 November – will make the case for business to collaborate with philanthropy to drive positive change on multiple fronts.
Dr Forrest said he was honoured to be invited to deliver the 2020 ABC Boyer Lectures at such a critical juncture in Australia’s history. “For most Australians, 2020 will be the toughest year of their lives,” he said. “A nation devastated by drought and bushfires is now grappling with the fear and disruption of a pandemic and the overwhelming economic hardship that it has brought.
“It is in these darker times when encouragement, enthusiasm, determination, leadership and vision are needed more than ever. I want my Boyer Lectures to inject a healthy dose of optimism to Australians that our best times are still ahead of us. That the pursuit of big ideas and having the courage to see them through will enable us to live happier, healthier and more sustainable lives.”
ABC Chair Ita Buttrose said: “Andrew Forrest is one of Australia’s foremost business leaders and philanthropists, proving that commercial success and the common good are not mutually exclusive. At a time of such global uncertainty, his bold views will be a welcome addition to the important role that the ABC Boyer Lectures play in driving national discussion and debate.”
In the 62nd year of the ABC Boyer Lectures, Dr Forrest will explore four key areas in which business leaders, philanthropists and entrepreneurs can help reboot Australia:
- Decarbonisation: The role that business leaders can play in driving our economy to a net zero-carbon future and making clean technologies economic and scalable.
- Oceans: How a global network of marine protected reserves, identified, monitored and protected with new satellite-based and ocean-genomic technologies, can save our marine environment.
- Inequality: Closing the gap between rich and poor by encouraging entrepreneurship through financial inclusion.
- Cooperation: Shaping new global governance structures to tackle world challenges – including climate change, plastics pollution, slavery, collaboration against cancer and Australia driving cooperation between China and the United States.
The 2020 Boyer Lectures will be broadcast on ABC RN over four weeks from Saturday 28 November and available on podcast via the ABC listen app. The first lecture will also be broadcast on ABC TV.
The Boyer Lectures, which began in 1959, are given each year by a prominent Australian about major social, cultural, scientific or political issues. Prime Ministers, Governors-General, High Court judges, archbishops, artists, poets, scientists and business leaders are among those who have shared their ideas and concerns over the past six decades.
Dr Forrest is the founder and chairman of Fortescue Metals Group. In 2001, he co-founded the Minderoo Foundation with his wife Nicola, which has supported over 300 initiatives across Australia and internationally in pursuit of a range of causes. In April 2020, the Forrests announced one of Australia’s largest private philanthropic donations of AU$520 million and have continued giving, with their total philanthropic donations now exceeding AU$2 billion.
Dr Forrest recently completed a PhD in Marine Ecology and is passionate about ocean conservation. In 2019, he was announced as an IUCN Patron of Nature and is a member of the United Nations Environment Programme Scientific Advisory Committee on the Assessment on Marine Litter and Microplastics.
He is Co-Chairman of the Senior Business Leaders’ Forum, the leading formal dialogue for China and Australia’s most senior business leaders.
In 2017, Dr Forrest was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the mining sector, to the development of employment and business opportunities, as a supporter of sustainable foreign investment, and to philanthropy.
He is Global Patron of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, recipient of the Australian Sports Medal and the Australian Centenary Medal, and Vice-Patron of the SAS Resources Fund.
Dr Forrest was a Councillor of the Global Citizen Commission, charged by the UN, to modernise the Universal Declaration of Human Rights presented to the United Nations Secretary General in April 2016. In 2013, Dr Forrest was appointed by the Prime Minister and Cabinet of Australia to chair the Review of Indigenous Training and Employment Programmes, to end Indigenous disparity through employment.
Dr Forrest was Western Australia’s 2017 Australian of the Year for his outstanding contribution to the community.