ClimateWorks to launch platform to track business pledges on zero emissions

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ClimateWorks will create a new register of corporate and government pledges to tackle climate change to track contributions towards Paris Agreement.

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ClimateWorks Australia will launch a new initiative to track the climate change and zero emissions energy pledges of Australian companies, governments and organisations in a single platform.

The last few years have seen the emergence of a wide range of initiatives for businesses to pledge different actions for renewable energy, climate change and energy efficiency, particularly with the lack of a coherent climate and energy policy coming from the Federal Government.

Currently companies may make climate change related pledges under a range of initiatives, including to power their operations completely with renewable power under an initiative like RE100, or to achieve carbon neutral certification under National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS).

A growing number of Australian companies have made pledges through RE100, including Bank Australia, which recently became the first bank to purchase all of its electricity use from renewable sources.

The emergence of a competitive commercial energy market in Australia has meant that purchasing renewable energy under a power purchase agreement can be an effective way of managing an organisation’s energy costs.  The Sydney Opera House is the latest organisation to do this, contracting a wind and solar farm to provide the equivalent of its annual electricity consumption.

By collecting this information in a single platform, ClimateWorks hopes to bring consistency and transparency to the pledges that organisations have been making with regards to their energy use and contributions to tackling climate change.

“Many major global companies have made it part of their business strategy to shift to net zero emissions. Australia now has companies and governments doing the same but lacks an easily accessible place to see all of these,” ClimateWorks Australia CEO Anna Skarbek said.

“Currently organisations can announce their emissions reduction plans in public statements or sustainability reports or by signing up to pledge platforms such as We Mean Business or the RE100 initiative. The diverse ways that organisations make these announcements means that the full picture of Australian organisations’ commitments towards net zero emissions is not well understood or recognised.”

“This tracker will bring together information about efforts by Australian organisations to reduce their emissions in line with the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier, as required by Australia’s full commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.”

The Net Zero Momentum Tracker, to be launched in partnership with the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, will collate information about the pledges groups have made, helping to track the consistency of pledges with the progress needed to meet the goals under the Paris Agreement.

“Companies are beginning to embed climate mitigation strategies into their business model and are making this known publicly to their customers, investors and regulators.” director of Monash University’s Net Zero Program, Scott Ferraro said.

“This Net Zero Momentum Tracker will help others see that these decisions are being made across different sectors of businesses and industry bodies and government jurisdictions.”

Property group Stockland welcomed the initiative and hoped that the platform will help provide transparency to corporate and government climate change commitments and demonstrate areas where action is being undertaken.

“Net zero emissions is the end goal of the Paris Agreement and my company understands that it’s essential to the future of the company and the planet that we achieve the Paris goal. By showing who else has already embedded this into their plans, the Net Zero Momentum Tracker will help to motivate others, and allow us to learn from each other.” Stockland’s head of sustainability and corporate procurement, Davina Rooney said.

Stockland has undertaken a range of efforts reduce the emissions associated with its property portfolio, including a substantial roll out of rooftop solar installations across its retail property portfolio.

ClimateWorks anticipates the platform will be launched in the second half of 2019, with the register progressively updated as organisations make new pledges.

ClimateWorks also hopes to be able to use the results of the tracker, and the ability to identify market trends related to corporate sustainability pledges, to feed back information and research to businesses, industry groups and policymakers.

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