Federal ‘green bank’ and Mike Cannon Brookes back new ‘agrifood’ fund


The global agricultural sector accounts for about 14 per cent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Mr Cannon-Brookes said in a statement: “Innovation in agriculture is desperately needed across the world to make our planet more sustainable.

Mike Cannon-Brookes. Credit:Louie Douvis

Kick-starting this industry in Australia will take guts and expertise, and the CEFC brings both.

Mike Cannon-Brookes

“Kick-starting this industry in Australia will take guts and expertise, and the CEFC brings both.”

The CEFC was established under the Gillard government in 2012 to spur investment in clean energy while it introduced a carbon pricing scheme.  The organisation has deployed more than $5 billion into clean energy initiatives, mostly through loans for green energy projects. It also has access to $200 million in growth capital for direct investments into clean energy start-ups.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age revealed earlier this year that private investors were circling the CEFC amid hopes the government might look to privatise the organisation. The UK government sold its “green bank” to Australia’s Macquarie Group for £2.3 billion in 2017.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said in a statement: “The agricultural sector poses a demanding climate change challenge: how to produce more food, more efficiently, for a growing population amid a more extreme climate, while also reducing greenhouse gas intensity and emissions.”

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Mr Cannon-Brookes, an outspoken advocate for action on climate change, has repeatedly clashed with the Morrison government over energy policy.  Grok is also a major investor in climate-themed startups including Brighte, a solar financing company, and HST Solar, a software platform for the design and engineering of solar projects.

Mr Cannon-Brookes has also said he would back a $20 billion project to build the world’s biggest solar farm in the Northern Territory.

“There’s no doubt that new ideas in agriculture will play a massive role in reducing carbon emissions, while also delivering return on investment. The economic upside for Australia’s
economy is also huge,” Mr Cannon-Brookes said in the statement.

“Sarah and Matt have a solid track record of finding those new ideas, and then making them
work. I can’t wait to see the innovation in food tech and agriculture that they deliver.”



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