Professor John Cole is the Executive Director of the Institute for Resilient Regions at the University of Southern Queensland.
He joined USQ in August 2009 and for six months from June 2012 was acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation. Between 2009 and 2012 he was Director of the Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development, building a specialist research portfolio in agri-business and regional small business enterprise. Before joining USQ he established the Queensland Government’s Office of Clean Energy, responsible for developing Queensland’s Renewable Energy Plan which was launched in June 2009.
Well credentialed in promoting innovation for sustainable development and industry competitiveness and regional resilience, in June 2012 Professor Cole received the Queensland Premier’s Award for Leadership in Sustainability. This prestigious Award recognised accomplishments in government, industry and community development in a range of roles spanning parliamentary adviser, technology commercialisation company manager, CEO of an industry association and its export arm, senior government official and research manager.
Professor Cole is well known nationally and overseas as a thought leader on sustainable development and is much sought after as a conference speaker on the issues of sustainability as they relate to government, business and communities. In December 2007 he facilitated a national forum for the Garnaut Climate Change Review on the technology development implications of global warming. As acting DVCR at USQ in September 2012 he led a successful mission of four USQ research centres to China building collaborative links with seven leading Chinese universities under the auspices of the Australia-China Science Research Fund. Most recently, in 2014 he has served as a panel member reviewing the draft Queensland Plan for the Queensland Government.
During 2008-09 he advised the Queensland Premier’s Council on Climate Change and was the principal author of the Council’s first working paper: “Achieving early and affordable greenhouse gas reductions in Queensland: strategies for voluntary household and lifestyle changes”.
For 10 years between 1998 and 2008 John Cole served as a founding Executive Director of Queensland’s Environmental Protection Agency promoting sustainability innovation in business, industry and government. During that time he headed several major initiatives including the non-regulatory innovation-focussed program development and delivery division, Sustainable Industries (1998-2008), EPA Marketing (2006-08) and the future-focussed think tank, Sustainability Innovation (2008).
Through 2007 he was also head of Multicultural Affairs Queensland. During his time at the EPA he administered more than $150 million in innovation and technology partnerships with Queensland industry and communities.
An active industry educator in business sustainability, between 2003 and 2008 Professor Cole co-anchored Australia’s first business school executive intensive course on corporate sustainability. He has also been an Adjunct Professor in industry, organisational and community sustainability at three leading Queensland universities - Bond University’s Mirvac School of Sustainable Development, the University of Queensland’s Business School, and Queensland University of Technology’s School of Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering. He remains an Adjunct Professor at UQ Business School.
For close to 25 years he has served in a variety of senior public and industry positions in areas as diverse as technology commercialisation and community development. Between 1991 and 1998 Professor Cole was the founding Chief Executive Officer of the Environment Management Industry Association of Australia (now known as Environment Business Australia). Thereafter he undertook an organisational renovation of the Keep Australia Beautiful Council in Queensland before joining Queensland’s EPA. During the late 1980s he was a parliamentary policy adviser in Canberra.
Professor Cole has been a Queensland representative on the Standing Committee of the Environment Protection and Heritage Council of Australia and New Zealand and the standing committee of the National Environment Protection Council. In 2003 he co-chaired the Queensland Government’s Ethanol Industry Development Committee. He served on State Government inter-departmental committees responsible for Sugar Industry Reform, Rural Adjustment, Queensland’s Greenhouse Response Strategy, Clean Coal Technology, Sustainable Housing, SEQ Rural Futures and the Energy Policy.
He has been a member of the Professional Advisory Board, School of Environment, at Griffith University, the Advisory Board of the Centre for Environmental Management, Central Queensland University, and the Advisory Board of the Mirvac School of Sustainable Development, Bond University. In Victoria he was for several years a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Sustainability Institute at RMIT. Between 2001 and 2008 he was a member of the sustainability advisory Board of the CRC for Coal in Sustainable Development.
In 1999 Professor Cole was a US Government International Visitor studying sustainable development in a cross section of US communities. During the 1990s he was a member of the Australian Government’s Advisory Council on Environmental Employment, the Australian Government’s Advisory Group on International Environment Issues, and the Queensland Environment Protection Council. Between 1995 and 1998 he served as an independent director on the Board of Management of the CRC for Soil and Land Management based in Adelaide.
Between 2001 and 2006 Professor Cole was a Board member and Deputy Chair of the Keep Australia Beautiful Council in Queensland and was a foundation signatory to the establishment of Green Cross in Australia in 2007. Between 2010 and 2013 he also served as a member of the Board of the Banksia Environmental Foundation in Melbourne.
Current extra-curricular and community service involvements include membership of the Board of Directors of the national environmental organization, the Banksia Foundation based in Melbourne, the financial committee of the Queensland Trust for Nature, the Community Consultative Panel of Queensland Urban Utilities.
Professor Cole is also an active member of the Research Committee of the Brisbane Institute. Professor Cole has a Ph D in Australian demographic history. John is married to Rosemarie White, Director of Nursing at Brisbane’s St Andrews War Memorial Hospital. They have two children: Harry and William.
Government, Industry, Community: Speeches/presentations
Over the years I have given hundreds of public speeches and presentations. In the various roles of research centre director, key government executive involved at the forefront of sustainable development and as a thought leader with international standing in public discussion of the issues of sustainability, I have been invited regularly to provide keynote addresses to state and national conferences. Below is an indicative list of activity recent and past.
Blog: http://www.profjohncole.com/ - commentary, articles, speeches since 2009
2014 July “Setting the scene for managing growth” , keynote at “Regions on the rise: leveraging the Queensland Plan”, LGAQ Regional Economic Development Conference, Hervey Bay
2014 (June) “Building resilient regions: what has to be done to implement the Queensland Plan”, Regional Leadership Conference, GAPDL, Gladstone
2013 (September) “Energy, systems, resilience and the innovation imperative”, Onsite Energy Conference, Brisbane
2012 (Oct) “Is sustainability becoming a dirty word in Australia and should we be concerned? Fitzroy Basin Association annual conference, Rockhampton.
2012 (Sept) “People, mobility and economics: what future for roads in a sustainable world” keynote address at IQA-CCAA CMIC 12 Construction Materials Industry Conference, Melbourne.
2012 (May) “The business sustainability journey: progress report and likely developments through to 2020”, keynote at national 2012 conference Association for Sustainability in Business, Gold Coast.
2012 (Apr) “Bridging the parallel universe: making research matter in public policy”, International Energy Agency, 3rd Greenhouse Gas Social Research Network Meeting, Noosa.
2012 (Apr)”Regional communities, climate, carbon and future sustainability”, presentation to South Burnett Regional Council, Kingaroy.
2012 (Mar) “Making the Central Highlands sustainable”, keynote at “Investing in the future”, Central Highlands economic development conference, Emerald.
2012 (Mar) “Gladstone and a sustainable economic future for the region: Sustainable Gladstone re-visited” keynote at Gladstone Region Economic Development Conference, GAPDL, Gladstone.
2011 (Sept) “Facing the future: actions for the environment profession, opening remarks from the Chair, 2011 Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand annual conference, Sunshine Coast.
2011 (Sept) “Gas, Climate change, and sustainable regional development”, Surat Basin Conference, Roma.
2011 (Sept) “Beyond complacency: the challenges and opportunities of doing business in a cleaner energy world”, keynote at Queensland Business Sustainability Roundtable, Brisbane.
2011 (July) “Future fuels: Moving beyond ideology to meet the sustainability imperative”, Future Fuels for Australia Conference, Australian Institute of Energy and The University of Queensland, Brisbane.
2011 (May) “Making the most of the resources boom, how do we make regional development sustainable? Or Plan B: Building a Future with Genuine Options” Keynote at Local Government Association of Queensland, Environment Conference, Gladstone.
2011 (March) USQ Law and Sustainability Symposium – keynote “The law and sustainability”, Brisbane.
2010 (Nov) “Roads Australia: the business case for sustainability”, Keynote at Roads Australia Sustainability Forum, Sydney
2010 (June) “Inventing our Future: innovation for dealing with the major themes of the 21st century”, keynote at Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia Conference, Surfers Paradise.
2010 (April) “Saving the Future”, Professorial lecture, Steele Rudd College, The University of Southern Queensland http://profjohncole.com/2013/12/29/saving-the-future/
1978 - 2014 Academic publications, conferences, seminars
2014 (forthcoming) ”The historical context of Federation” introductory chapter to A Federation for the 21st Century, Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) Major Policy Paper, Melbourne.
2014 (April) “Australia’s biggest coal state plans for life beyond coal”, The Conversation, https://theconversation.com/australias-biggest-coal-state-plans-for-life...
(2012) with Sattar Sattay, “Reducing embodied energy through retrofit: How can embodied energy be saved by retrofitting existing buildings?” in Richard Hyde (ed) Sustainable Retro-fitting for Bio-Climatic Design(Routledge: London)
2010 (June) “Environmental protection versus economic development in the
Asia Pacific— the impacts of Copenhagen” at ‘Collaboration and Governance in the Asia Pacific’ 2nd Annual Dialogue Forum of the Sino – Australian Joint Research Program, Griffith University, Brisbane with Sun Yat-Sen University and the University of Southern Queensland.
(2000) Australian Dictionary of Biography Vol 15 (1940-1980 K - P) “William Perry French Morris”
(1987) Is Star Wars a threat to global security? with Professor Andrew Mack, Peace Research Centre, Australian National University, Working Paper No 23 also published in Current Affairs Bulletin Vol 64 No 9, February 1988, 24-31.
(1987) The Clermont Club 1887-1987 with Margaret Jenner (Boolarong Press: Brisbane) 72pp.
(1986) The Making of Men: A history of Churchie 1912-1987 (Boolarong Press: Brisbane) 462pp.
(1984) Shaping a City: Greater Brisbane 1925-1985 (William Brooks: Brisbane) 416 pp illus.
(1984) "Quantitative reconstruction of the family ethos: fertility in a frontier Queensland community", in Dr P Grimshaw and A McLeary (eds) Families in Colonial Australia (Unwin: Sydney).
(1983) "Ethnic farm and family" in Prof Johan Voight (ed) New Beginnings: The Germans in New South Wales and Queensland, Studies in International Cultural Relations (Institut for Ausland Bezienhungen, Stuttgart, Germany).
(1982) "The family in American historiography since 1970: directions in the 1980s", 10th Biennial Conference of the Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association, The University of Queensland.
(1982) "Differential fertility patterns in a late nineteenth century Queensland rural community", Australia 1888, Bulletin No 10.
(1981) Historical society and the crisis of method: possible roles for the inter-disciplinarian" University of Canterbury, New Zealand, Annual Conference of the Sociological Association of Australia and New Zealand.
(1981) "The life course approach in the Boonah project", 1888 Bicentennial Committee Conference on the Family in Late Nineteenth Century Australia, The University of Melbourne.
(1981) Defining community and social structure in historical context", Brisbane History Group Conference on Brisbane and Historical Sources, Brisbane.
(1981) "Devising research strategies in historical society: the life course approach" in R M Fisher (ed) Brisbane: practical, public, personal (Brisbane History Group: Brisbane).
(1978) "Social mobility - ways and means in the Boonah project" 1888 Bicentennial Committee Conference on Social Mobility in Late Nineteenth Century Australia, The University of Melbourne, published (1979) Australia 1888, Bulletin No 2, 99-105.
2008 (Sept) “Building value in the supply chain: the power of procurement in driving sustainability”, 4thNational Sustainable Procurement Conference and Exhibition, Brisbane.
2008 (Sept) “Urban development in a carbon constrained world”, Engineers Australia, Brisbane.
2008 (Sept) “Sustainability, the getting of wisdom, and making a positive and enduring impact on the world” – SKM Global Technical Conference – Water and Environment, Creswick, Victoria.
2008 (Aug) “Sustainability and Climate Change: the role of the public servant, Australian Public Service Commission, Brisbane.
2008 (Aug) “Climate change and business”, Ipswich Chamber of Commerce, Ipswich.
2008 (Aug) “Government perceptions on corporate sustainability”, Rowland Corporate Sustainability Forum, Brisbane.
2008 (Aug) Climate change, what’s happening, why bother? Timber Queensland Emissions Trading Forum, Brisbane
2008 (Jul) “Saving the Future”, Graduation Address, Griffith University, Brisbane.
2008 (Jul) Affordable Least Cost Urban Development: an EPA perspective, UDIA workshop, Hervey Bay.
2008 (May) “Think Global, Act Local: business sustainability in a climate changing world”, Regional Heads of Government Forum (APS) Gold Coast.
2008 (May) “Why sustainability matters: least cost versus most cost planning”, Department of Infrastructure and Planning senior executive workshop, Brisbane
2008 (Apr) “What is business sustainability”, Babcock and Brown executive forum on sustainability, Sydney.
2008 (Apr) “sustainability challenges for central Queensland”, State Government Regional Managers Forum, Rockhampton.
2008 (Apr) “Why making your mark is important”, Launch of Ten Network environmental awareness campaign, Brisbane
2007 (Dec) “Making the case for the greening of industry”, Queensland Government, ecoBiz facilitators training, Brisbane.
2007 (Nov) “Lower carbs for industry”, Commerce Queensland, Gold Coast.
2007 (Oct) “Saving the future: the challenge for engineering”, Institution of Engineers Australia, Queensland.
2007 (Oct) “Business sustainability in a climate changing world”, Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), Brisbane.
2007 (Sept) “Making green business the future for healthy cities”, International Forum, Alliance for Healthy Cities (WHO), Gold Coast.
2007 (Sept) “The business case for sustainability” and “Stakeholder engagement for business sustainability”, UQ Business School Executive Intensive Course on Corporate Sustainability, Brisbane.
2007 (August) “Saving the Future: making sustainability real for everyone”, Engineers Australia Water Panel, Brisbane.
2007 (July) “Leadership for a better world”, UQ Business School Executive Intensive on Leadership and Strategy, Brisbane.
(2007 (July) “Global trends and future implications for our communities”, Local Government Association Queensland Environment Conference, Hervey Bay
2007 (June) “The challenge for a Sustainable Toowoomba in a climate changing world”, Toowoomba City Council World Environment Day. Toowoomba.
2007 (June) “Climate Change Impacts on Sustainability – what can we do?”, Waste Management Association of Australia, Gold Coast.
2007 (May) “The science and economics of climate change and the business opportunities arising from it”, Babcock and Brown, Sydney.
2006 (Dec) “Saving the Future”, Graduation Address, Faculty of Commerce Business and Law, The University of Queensland, St Lucia.
2006 (Oct) “Sustainable water systems: the challenge of community engagement”, Engineers Australia Water Sustainability Forum – Brisbane.
2006 (August) “How will society view sustainable agriculture in the future?”, Australian Flower Conference, Gold Coast.
2006 (June) “Critical environmental factors shaping the future of the Australian cotton industry”, Cotton Australia AGM, Sydney.
2006 (June) “The case for partnership between universities, government and business in building competencies in sustainable development”, Launch of Bond University Mirvac School of Sustainable Development, Bond University, Robina.
2006 (May) “Protecting the environment by commercializing it: the role of economic instruments in achieving improved environmental performance”, Keynote address to Queensland Environmental Law Association Annual Conference, Caloundra
2006 (May) “The business case for corporate sustainability” and “Strategies for implementing change for corporate sustainability” in Organizational change for corporate sustainability, University of Queensland Business School, Brisbane
2006 (April) “Why sustainability?” with Professor Ian Lowe, Keynote for sustainability series, Queensland Museum, Brisbane.
2006 (April) “Making markets for environmental performers: using economic incentives to drive change”, Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), Brisbane
2006 (March) “Caretakers of the planet or curse of the land: How will society view farming in the future?” Keynote Queensland Farmers Federation conference on sustainable agriculture, Coolum.
2006 (Feb) “Sustainable industry practices”, QR (Queensland Rail) corporate sustainability strategy forum, Brisbane
2006 (Jan) “Towards Sustainable Industries”, Comalco Executive Mining and Refining Forum, Gladston
2005 (Dec) “Expectation vs Reality – Recent trends in regulating environmental performance”, Environmental Institute Australia - Brisbane
2005 (Nov) “Making water a natural thing”, Keynote at Australian Institute of Environmental Health, Annual Conference, Gold Coast
2005 (Oct) “Sustainable Development as a Total Proposition: What should we expect of government, business and the community?” Institution of Engineers, Young Engineers Breakfast, Brisbane.
2005 (Oct) “Commercialising renewable Energy: the challenges of a distorted marketplace” - Queensland Power Conference 2005 Hilton Hotel Brisbane
2005 (Oct) “Valuing the environment for tourism growth”, Keynote at 4th National Tourism Futures Conference, Tourism Australia, Gold Coast
2005 (September) “Sustainability and the Urban Form: Can we live sustainably?”, Keynote International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) Australasian Conference, Brisbane
2005 (September) “Lessons from Hurricane Katrina”, Executive Breakfast Briefing, Brisbane Graduate School of Management, QUT
2005 (July) “Current social trends and the sustainability challenge: implications for the outdoor community”, Keynote 14th National Outdoor Conference, Outdoor Council of Australia, Gold Coast.
2005 (June) “The Environment and Marketing: incorporating Sustainability and Integrating the triple bottom-line into Marketing”, AMI Marketing Summit, Gold Coast
2005 (May) “Teaching – Corporate Sustainability and organizational change”, University of Queensland, MBA Business School, Brisbane
2005 (March) “Regional opportunities for sustainable development in the Mackay Whitsunday region”, Healthy Waterways Annual Conference, Sarina
2005 (Feb) “Sustainable Water Use”, International Water Industry Taskforce, Radisson Resort, Gold Coast
2004 (August) “Innovative Waste Technologies”, 2004 Australian Local Government Women’s Association State Conference, Stanthorpe
2004 (July) “Marketing Brands and the Environment”, AMI Government Marketing Conference, Brisbane
2004 (April) “Marketing for a better world”, AMI Marketing Summit, Sheraton Hotel, Brisbane
2004 (March) “Corporate Sustainability”, Australian Industry Group Council meeting, AI Group, Brisbane
2004 (Jan) “Documentary Segment on Sustainable Housing”, Springfield Lakes – Channel 10 interview, Brisbane
2003 (Dec) “The role of research in making good policy for sustainable development”, Plenary address to the annual research conference of the CRC Coal in Sustainable Development, UNSW, Sydney
2003 (Sept) “Sustainable Industries: the first five years”, at Governance for Sustainability, International Conference of State and Provincial Governments, Perth, Western Australia
2003 (July) “The role of the development industry and the building and construction sector towards delivering a sustainable built environment in Queensland”, UDIA (Qld) Women in Development, Stamford Plaza
2003 (June) “The Shape of Future Communities”, Australian Green Development Forum, Lennons Hotel, Brisbane
2003 (June) “Moving beyond environment management for sustainable development”, National Environment Conference 2003, Environmental Engineering Society – Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
2003 (May) “Urban Density and its impact on the environment”, Australian Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (ACTBUH) Seminar, Brisbane Club
2003 (April) “Brands Boards and Business Models: Beyond the Triple Bottom Line’, Finding the Tools: A Practical Forum, Stamford Plaza, Brisbane
2003 (March) “Sustainable development as a strategy for communities”, Local Govt. Manager’s Association of Australia SEQ Branch Conference, Noosaville
2003 (March) “How can we make the sugar industry sustainable?” Australian Sugar Milling Council Members’ AGM, Hilton Hotel, Brisbane
2003 (March) “Making architects relevant to design for sustainable development”, Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Gardens Theatre, QUT, Brisbane
2003 (February) “Sustainable Industries: the opportunity for sustainable development in Queensland”, State Development Economic Workshop, Townsville
2002 (November) “Physical accounting and full cost pricing: essentials for a zero waste society”, Third Australian/Osaka Forum on Environment Management, EPA, Brisbane
2002 (November) “Values Based Leadership and the EPA Sustainability Charter”, Leadership Development Program – Advanced Leadership Workshop, Royal on the Park, Brisbane
2002 (October) “Sustainability through Innovation”, Australian Water Association – Women in Water, Forum, EcoCentre, Griffith University
2002 (April) “Sustainable Agriculture Through improved Environment Management Systems”, SE Queensland / Northern NSW Society of Horticultural Science Regional AUSHS Conference, Indooroopilly
2002 (February) The strategic framework for water recycling in Queensland. EPA-AWA water recycling strategy workshop, Bardon
2001 (December) “The bioenergy opportunity in sustainable development”, Bioenergy Australia 2001 Conference, Gold Coast
2001 (October) “Triple Bottom Line – what is it?” Local Government Community Development & Planning Conference, Gayndah
2001 (August) “Renewable Energy/Ethanol”, Queensland Regional Conservation Organisation Forum, Brisbane
2001 (June) “Reporting sustainability: the triple bottom line methodology”, Professional Development in Public Administration, CPA Australia, Brisbane
2000 (Nov) “Sustainable regional development: a 20 year vision” – EPA sustainability workshops, Cairns, Townsville, Gladstone with Paul Hawken, Natural Capital Institute, California.
2000 (July) “Learning Sustainability - Business lessons for tomorrow’s communities”, Shaping the Sustainable Millennium Conference, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane
2000 (June) “The Environment: Changing goal-posts and community expectation”, Plenary opening address - 2nd Australasian Pig Environmental Conference, Gatton
2000 (June) “Counting the salmon: The concept of sustainability and human heritage”, Sustainable Heritage Conference, Queensland Heritage Council Brisbane
2000 (May) “Building business opportunity by creating and preserving environmental value”, Seminar presentation - Infrastructure Association of Queensland, Brisbane
2000 (July) “Learning Sustainability - Business lessons for tomorrow’s communities”, Shaping the Sustainable Millennium Conference, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane
2000 (February) “Eco-Efficiency and Waste Management - Beyond 2000 and the role of the Sustainable Industries Division EPA”, Gladstone Region Waste Management Seminar, Gladstone
1999 (November) “Recycled organics - Expanding the horizons and perspective’s of the biomass industry”, EPA Recycled Organics Conference, Coolum
1999 (November) “Summary and Close”, Global Energy 2050 Seminar (EPA-DPI) Brisbane
1999 (May) “Environmental management systems and Eco-Efficiency” Australian Industry Group Outlook Conference, Brisbane
1997 (May) “Collaborative and commercial options in the development of a CRC in soils and land management”, National Forum on Future Directions in Soils and Land Research, National Farmers Federation and CRC Soils and Land Management, Sydney
1997 (March) “Putting the environment and economics back into waste management”, Key note speaker - 12th National Waste Management & Minimisation Conference, Hilton Hotel, Brisbane
1996 (December) National Trade and Investment Outlook Conference (NTIOC), Melbourne. Australian Government’s annual major trade conference. Lead speaker at the environment management industry and infrastructure session.
1996 (October) “The role of the consultant in industry internationalisation” - conference address, Environment Institute of Australia annual national conference, Adelaide.
1996 (February) Australian Environment Solutions (250 pp contributing editor Hallmark Editions, Melbourne.
1995 (December) Conference address: National Trade and Investment Outlook Conference, Melbourne - “Australia’s Environment Management Industries and opportunities for collaboration with overseas partners”.
1995 (October) Plenary Conference address: Environment Institute of Australia Annual Conference, Brisbane - “Internationalisation of the Australian environment management industry”.
1995 (July) Script editor of Commonwealth funded video produced by EMIAA promoting Australia’s environmental industries in key Asian markets.
1995 (June) Conference address International Trade in Services, Brisbane Convention Centre -” Environment education: opportunities for Australia in the Asia-Pacific”.
1994 (October) EMIAA Yearbook (250 pp) - editor and contributor; leading compendium of articles by Australian environment management experts; publication distributed throughout Australia and to five overseas countries by Market Australia.
1994 (June) Conference address Asia Water Summit ‘94 Kuala Lumpur,” Sewage and wastewater in the Asia-Pacific: the scale of the problem and possible solutions”.
1993 EMIAA Submission to the Industry Commission Inquiry into Environmental Waste Management Equipment Systems and Service.