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Ask a Stupid Question Day webinar

We’ve all done it, had that question we wanted to ask that just sounded astoundingly stupid. We’re embarrassed that it even occurred to us and worse, that we didn’t know the answer when it seemed so simple. The truth is there is no such thing as a stupid question, except the one that you choose not to ask. We never learn anything if we’re afraid to ask the question to begin with, whether that’s by researching it or asking someone who might know. Ask a Stupid Question Day encourages you to overcome your fear of sounding uneducated, and opening yourself to learning by asking your stupidest questions.

The Supply Chain Sustainability School compiled a panel of experts to answer your questions on Wednesday, 30 September 2020, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM.


  • Ainsley Simpson Chief Executive Officer Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA)
  • Alison Rahill Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network & Executive Officer Anti-Slavery Taskforce Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney
  • Andrew Hogben Group Procurement Manager Construction Mirvac & Deputy Chair School Advisory Board
  • Christopher Errington Head of Procurement and Property Services The GPT Group
  • Fiona Sergi Sustainable Procurement Lead Sustainability Victoria
  • Jim Green General Manager Strategic Procurement John Holland Group
  • Michelle Thomas Acting CEO GECA
  • Ricky Bridge Group GM Sustainability, Reporting and Data Analytics Downer Group & Chair School Advisory Board
  • Richard Evans Managing Director of Talent Nation
  • Robin Mellon CEO Better Sydney & former CEO of the School


    This webinar has been divided into micro-videos for easy viewing

    1. Please translate: “We need a PPP/ESG/CSR/TBL strategy with KPIs that link with GRI, DJSI, UNGC and SDGs.”
    2. When will the ‘sustainability’ fad end?
    3. When did social stuff become part of sustainability?
    4. a) Are Sustainability Managers becoming a thing of the past? It feels like it’s just becoming part of everyone’s job and not a standalone role.
      b) Is sustainability a luxury in today’s age? How did sustainability roles withstand the mass COVID cuts in 2020?
    5. a) Is there any point recycling if China isn’t taking imports anymore?
      b) Are people starting to make up recycling terms or are all of these really used? Down-cycle, up-cycle, recyclable, recycled, pre-consumer post-industrial recycled content, post-consumer recycled content, circular economy.
    6. Do Climate Change forecasts factor in solar flares?
    7. Is climate change so far gone that we should stop trying to mitigate the effects and devote all our resources to adaptation?
    8. a) Can you explain CO2e using plain English?
      b) Are carbon and GHG the same thing?
    9. How do I convince a flat-earther to ‘believe’ in climate change?
    10. Where can I find a supplier of recycled goods?
    11. Are LCA, EPDs and ecolabels the same thing? What’s the point in getting certified ratings these days when sustainability requirements are mainstream?
    12. a) So much effort is wasted on designing the perfect project only to have builders switch materials, take short cuts and change designs onsite, how can we stop this?
      b) Architects design these spectacular things that defy physics and use materials from the other side of the world that no one here has used before and then blame us builders and subbies when it doesn’t work in reality. How can we stop this?
    13. Where do I begin with Sustainable Procurement?
    14. Do big business ever not just take the cheapest tender? Have you had any quality or reliability issues with Indigenous businesses? Can subbies get extensions and compensation if we hire trainees and women?
    15. a) There are so many issues with the world today, why should I care about how people are treated in other countries?
      b) Don’t get me wrong I think modern slavery is horrible but isn’t it better than the alternative in some countries where there is famine, homelessness, no welfare system, no healthcare, no employment?
    16. I’ve been swamped with so many questionnaires about modern slavery from businesses who have to produce annual statements that I have no time left to try to do anything about it myself. What are the five things smaller businesses should be doing this year to address modern slavery?
    17. Has COVID put more people as risk of being exploited by their bosses? I’m hearing more and more stories of salary and wage reductions, ‘unpaid overtime’ and ‘if you don’t like it leave’ policies.

    Jargon and acronyms

    glossary of sustainability jargon

    If you’re just starting to work in the sustainability field you may have noticed that we love a good TLA (three-letter acronym). To help decode the conversation we’ve created a glossary of sustainability jargon and acronyms.