CSIRO readies business-focused climate risk platform

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

CSIRO plans to launch a beta version of its climate risk data platform for businesses within months after paying consultants $10,000 a day last year for input on its design and commercialisation strategy.

Accenture was handed a $550,000 contract in July last year for less than two months work on a strategy to commercialise the national science agency’s Climate Intelligence Platform. Details of the contract were only posted in December, nearly five months later and well beyond reporting rules.

The platform is part of the agency’s Climate Resilient Enterprises challenge mission, one of CSIRO’s biggest and most pressing research areas. The agency is working on a beta version of the platform it hopes to be ready for use internally and by select partners by May.

Part of the output of Accenture’s $550,000 contract with CSIRO. Source: Minister for Science and Technology

Established in 2020, the mission’s goal is to make climate action easier for large businesses by providing trusted, quality assured climate risk and hazard information, or to uncover realistic adaptation options for them.

The science agency has partnered with Microsoft, Telstra, Accenture and Australian SMEs to develop a “Climate Intelligence Platform” that will support a marketplace for the intelligence, with an initial focus on Australian financial services companies.

The mission also includes a virtual “innovation hub” for industry partners to collaborate on their own climate intelligence tools.

In July last year, as the federal government finalised a Net Zero strategy that relies heavily on businesses reducing their own emissions voluntarily, CSIRO called in Accenture to help commercialise the Climate Intelligence Platform.

“At the time, CSIRO determined it lacked the specific expertise in commercialisation, business modelling and digital platform market analysis required for this particular activity,” Science and Technology minister Melissa Price said in response to Labor’s Senate questions about the contract.

“Additionally, engaging Accenture was advantageous given the domain knowledge they brought with respect to the Platform’s target market of the Australian financial services sector.”

The Ireland-domiciled multinational developed a value proposition for customers and investors in the Climate Intelligence Platform, business modelling for its commercial operation, and entity and venturing structures for the commercialisation process, according to the minister’s response.

Accenture conducted market research and provided CSIRO with several draft reports and a final report “to reflect feedback and iterations from socialisation and testing”, as well as a model for the Climate Intelligence Platform which describes how the marketplace could work.

The minister declined to provide further details on the outputs of the Accenture beyond a glossy one-page infographic (pictured), saying several aspects of the outputs are commercial in confidence and CSIRO does not intend to share the outputs outside of the organisation.

A contract for the work, titled climate risk business model and launch strategy, was only posted publicly in mid-December, around five months after it had begun.

A CSIRO spokesperson said reporting was overlooked because of “human error” and was corrected when realised in December.

The spokesperson confirmed the platform remains in a pre-beta stage and May is being targeted for a beta release for internal users and a small number of development partners.

“The beta version of the Platform will allow us to test and further refine the technology,” the spokesperson said.

“The aim of the platform will be to create a place where businesses can access trusted, quality assured climate risk and hazard information, and support the creation of a climate intelligence marketplace.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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