Water polo australia announces climate sustainability panel

October 27, 2022

Water Polo Australia (WPA) is pleased to announce the members of the inaugural WPA Climate Sustainability Panel.

Led by WPA Board Director Susie Smith, the panel will meet regularly to map out a climate sustainability plan for Water Polo Australia.

Water Polo Australia (WPA) recognises that sport is not exempt from the impacts of climate change and that sport’s impact on the climate is significant. Sport globally has an emission footprint the size of Spain.

WPA is committed to action, and was recently accepted as one of a very small number of Australian based sporting organisations who are part of the United Nations Sports 4 Climate Action Framework (UNS4CAF). This strategic action plan will propose a way forward in line with the United Nations Sport for Climate Action Framework (UNS4CAF) principles and aligned with the Australian Government targets.

The WPA Climate Sustainability Plan will be based around the UNS4CAF’s five (5) principles to guide action are:

  1. Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility;
  2. Reduce overall climate impact;
  3. Educate for climate action;
  4. Promote sustainable and responsible consumption;
  5. Advocate for climate action through communication

Initially this plan will focus on WPA’s impact only, rather than all water polo in Australia, which is a far more significant undertaking. In time, on the back of the work undertaken now, this broader work may be possible.

Water Polo Australia CEO, Richard McInnes said “We were overwhelmed with the caliber of applicants seeking to be part of this work. Clearly climate sustainability is something that not only are members of our water polo community passionate about, but there is also a high degree of expertise and experience willing to help us build our plan.

I would like to thank all those who applied and to those who have been appointed to the panel. It is exciting to embark on this ground breaking work for water polo,” he said.


Damian Brown

Damien is a passionate sustainability and transformation executive with experience across a wide range of sectors and industries. His experience is varied with a focus on establishing effective organisations to meet sustainability challenges especially in the integration of sustainability innovation through technology into business models. Damien is driven to contribute to a sustainable future and strongly believes all sectors of our society play an essential and powerful role in delivering that.

In his role as Global Head of Consulting, Damien works with the world’s largest businesses, senior levels of government, and not for profits. He has an extensive technical background with postgraduate qualifications in business, environment and sustainability. He is adept at establishing strong stakeholder engagement and focuses on establishing partnerships for mutual business benefit.

Damien is excited to be a part of this committee and believes it is an excellent opportunity for the sport and the water polo community to make an impactful contribution to sustainability. Damien has a son actively involved in water polo through the Warriors Club in Brisbane and he hopes that the work of the committee will create understanding for him and his team-mates of how we all can contribute to a sustainable future through our day to day lives.

Greg Dingle Ph.D

Greg is a lecturer in Sport Management in the Department of Management & Marketing at the La Trobe University Business School and is currently teaching Systems Thinking and drafting a Business and Climate Change education program. He has published research in climate risks and impacts for sport, and associated vulnerability, resilience, and adaptation and is focused on translating climate risks and impacts into strategic thinking and climate adaptation options and pathways for sport organizations.

Stephanie Lebeau

Stephanie is a Sustainability Professional who has worked with corporate organisations in the past 15 years, providing strategic direction and leading the sustainability agenda, from development to execution. During these years, many challenges arise but Stephanie always sees opportunities when others see challenges.

While driving the carbon emissions discussions, Stephanie also possesses hands-on experience on the delivery of resource efficiencies projects with key achievements resulting in both cost savings and reduced environmental impacts (ie. diversion of waste from landfill, increased packaging recyclability, reduced energy consumption).

Stephanie is now working with sporting organisations, helping to rethink the way they operate by screening activities through the lens of sustainability. Stephanie believes that sports can become a big loud voice for climate action.

Terry Muir

Terry brings to the Panel lived experience in developing climate Sustainability Plans for sport, having developed Golf Minimum Standards for Environmental Management; Canada IPM Program for Ontario Golf Courses, developed procurement strategy for golf; suppliers Code of Conduct to Minimise Scope 3 emissions for Golf; Environmental and safety protocol for all major Australian golf events and is currently developing an SDG strategy for golf clubs, for the horse racing industry and the greyhound industry. He was invited to attend the United Nations Staff College program PACCDA 2022 – The Paris Agreement on Climate Change as a Development Agenda

Terry is also leading an initiative called “I’m in 4 Climate Action: and “Climate Champions”, with a goal of achieving 2,030 champions (to mirror the SDG 2030 Agenda). This initiative is empowering people and organisations to maximise their impact and create a world of shared prosperity and become change makers.

Annabel Sides

Annabel has had a career in sport and physical activity spanning over 25 years, working for organisations including Cricket Victoria, Sports Medicine Australia and VicHealth.

Volunteering has been a lifelong focus for Sides, across governance, coaching, managing and administrative roles in Water Polo, including being elected as the first female Chair of the Water Polo Victoria Board in 2011. Annabel played water polo, as a goalkeeper, at State level in Victoria for 13 years and was immensely proud to play in the inaugural year of the Australian Water Polo League women’s competition.

Annabel’s sport focus has always been on equity, diversity, and inclusion at all levels. A farming background, a passion for regenerative practices and upskilling in sport and sustainability has expanded this focus in sport to include climate action, climate justice, biodiversity, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Annabel has combined these passions and skills and Founded Green Planet Sport, a regenerative sport consultancy

Susie Smith

Former dual international Susie Smith is a current WPA Board Director, passionate about environment sustainability. Susie leads the panel based on her broad industry experience as the CEO of the Australian Greenhouse Industry network, Director of an ESG and Carbon Services consultancy, an independent Director of CRC Future Energy Exports as well as being a Member of the Climate Change Authority.

Katisha Webb (intern)

Katisha Webb is a third-year Bachelor of Business Management student at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and is undertaking an internship with WPA which contributes towards academic credit for her studies. She has previous experience with WPA, being involved with the gender diversity project at the beginning of 2022, which involved increasing women participation in elite coaching and officiating roles. Katisha also held the role of Sustainability Coordinator at her previous job, which involved being responsible for driving sustainability within the organisation and overseeing the implementation of various initiatives which support sustainable practices, involving the environment, staff members and the general community. One of the main tasks of this role was undertaking a carbon footprint analysis, which included scoping the footprint, identifying collection methodology, activity data collection, and implementing reduction strategies. Katisha also actively engages in extra-curricular activities, whereby she has been selected in the QUT international case competition team where she competes against other world-leading universities in consulting challenges, presenting solutions to real-world business problems. Katisha is extremely passionate about sport and sustainability and hopes to contribute towards the transition towards a more sustainable future through her involvement in the WPA climate sustainability working group.

Christina Wilson

Christina is currently the Head of Operations and Events at Sports Environment Alliance (SEA), supporting the sporting community across Australia and New Zealand on its sustainability journey. As part of her role, she is working with sporting organisations on strategies and tools to minimise and measure their environmental impact as well as building cooperative and collaborative partnerships with purpose. She has been the General Manager – Live Events for SolarBuddy, a global organisation helping children living in energy poverty and was responsible for developing and managing corporate CSR programs. She has 20 years’ experience in project and event management and has designed and implemented concepts for sustainable operations and events, including the SEA Summit and SEA Changer Awards, SEA’s annual flagship event. Christina has a certificate in sustainability and behaviour change (University Of California, San Diego – Extension). She has developed community engagement programs with the view to drive change to create a more sustainable world, by prioritising activities with the highest possible impact and developing easy to implement action plans. She is currently obtaining a qualification with the UN System Staff College on “Circular Economy and the 2030 Agenda” and is part of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.