Australia’s richest people have always built their wealth by satisfying the needs of their times. Once it was in property, retail and entertainment. More recently it’s been resources and digital technology. Now it is in making their vast business interests more environmentally sustainable.
Fortescue’s Andrew Forrest wants to do with green fuels what he did in iron ore. With Elon Musk-like audacity he has announced new-era hydrogen and ammonia industries on the scale that the oil majors produce petrol and diesel.
If Mr Forrest is sometimes viewed as ahead of his time, then the Pratt family has built its Visy empire for decades from the paper that others threw away.
And Rupert Murdoch’s son-in-law and former News Corp director Alasdair MacLeod is developing soil management methods that might allow Australian farmland to efficiently soak up greenhouse gases and earn carbon credits from global companies.