Dermot O’Gorman: Execution is the art that elevates climate strategy to success

Dermot O'Gorman: Execution Is the art that elevates climate strategy to success png

At the previous Impact X Summit Sydney, Dermot O’Gorman, Chief Executive Officer of WWF Australia, shared his insights on the urgent and strategic actions needed to combat climate change. His speech laid out a roadmap for moving towards a zero-carbon and nature-positive future.

It’s clear that the journey ahead requires collaboration, innovative strategies, and a deep respect for indigenous knowledge. Building on this foundation, the upcoming Impact X Summit Sydney 2024, scheduled for April 22nd and 23rd—coinciding with Earth Day—promises to be an important event.

Themed “Climate & Nature 2030: Accelerating Partnerships for Shared Growth,” and supported by the NSW government and WWF, the summit is a testament to the collective resolve to address climate challenges head-on, building on the insights and momentum generated by leaders like O’Gorman.

Here are the top 5 most insightful takeaways from Dermot O’Gorman’s keynote address:

Execution, fueled by deep listening and understanding, is critical to turning strategies into impactful actions.

Dermot O’Gorman: “Strategy is a commodity; execution is an art. All of us in this room understand the importance of moving to a zero-carbon and a nature-positive future. We all understand that big ideas, big ambition, big strategies, and urgent action are what is needed to deliver against the challenges we face. But, in my experience, strategy and execution start with listening—listening to our stakeholders, listening to citizens, listening to our communities. Because that’s when we can really develop shared experiences, understand the commonalities, work through our differences, and start to execute at speed and scale.”

Indigenous knowledge and perspectives are invaluable in shaping sustainable and inclusive environmental strategies.

Dermot O’Gorman: “I was very privileged, with the board and management of WWF, that one of our board members, Phil Rist, took us to his country, Girringun in Far North Queensland, last month for a two-and-a-half-day immersive on strategy with Elders, Indigenous Rangers, and local communities. It was really about listening to Indigenous knowledge, to Indigenous lived experiences, and also about an Indigenous voice to which we all need to rally around in 2023.”

Australia’s evolving role as a renewable energy leader showcases the transformative power of ambitious strategies and collaborative efforts.

Dermot O’Gorman: “But if I cast my mind back to 2019, when Ross Garnaut produced his book “Superpower” and talked about how Australia could become an economic superpower and a renewable energy exporting superpower, many of you in the room thought it was a bit of a pipe dream and was not that realistic. I would argue that the last three years have changed that view dramatically. The idea that we could generate 700% renewable energy that meets both our domestic needs and then could be exported to the rest of the world was an (ambitious) idea. Last year at Impact X, the Business Council of Australia, the ACTU, the Australian Conservation Foundation, and WWF launched a report which identified six export opportunities. Those six export opportunities would deliver close to 400,000 new jobs and $90 billion worth of exports to Australia by 2040.”

State-level initiatives and leadership are crucial in driving national progress towards renewable energy goals.

Dermot O’Gorman: “And so, if we reflect on what has happened in the last couple of years, particularly at a state level, and I really want to give the nod to Australian States for their leadership in our push to become a renewable energy exporting superpower, it is a radically different world. In 2019, WWF decided that we would rank our states and federal government on their progress against the strategy of being a renewable and renewable energy exporting superpower.”

Hosting COP 31 represents a strategic opportunity for Australia to lead on the global stage, fostering international cooperation and national unity in climate action.

Dermot O’Gorman: “But the prize is not about an internal race within Australia. The prize is about the global race that is on. And so, on the weekend, Minister Chris Bowen announced that Australia would put up its hand with the Pacific Island nations to host COP 31. This is a chance to revive our nation’s reputation on the global stage. It is a chance to build an equal partnership with our Pacific Island neighbors and our closest friends on an issue that they care so deeply about because their lives are literally at risk.”

Watch Dermot O’Gorman’s full keynote address:



Impact Leadership Journal (ILJ) is a Community Partner of Impact X, working together to create a net-zero, nature positive future that benefits all people and ensures the wellbeing of our planet. This video is published exclusively on this site with the permission of Impact X. To learn more and to join upcoming events, visit

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