ESG Snapshot: Issue 10

ESG Snapshot: Issue 10

Highlights include a proposed code on managing modern slavery risks in renewable energy value-chains, a biosolids regulation review, a net-zero infrastructure initiative, and plans by Port of Hastings for a wind turbine terminal.

Events include a rail decarbonisation conference. Jobs include roles with City of Melbourne, Transurban and Telstra.

ESG Snapshot is a concise weekly update produced by the Business Council of Sustainable Development Australia (BCSDA), which is the local network partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

News items are listed by jurisdiction. However, they can also be searched by relevant Sustainable Development Goal category. To do this, go to the SDG key at the end of this issue and click on the icon for the SDG that interests you.

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Key International Developments

The NZ government has released the report of an Expert Working Group on Managed Retreat, which has advised on responses to sea level rise and extreme weather.

A new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund has been launched at a Global Environment Facility summit meeting in Vancouver, with Canada and the UK the only countries to initially announce contributions.

The fund is intended to help developing countries meet the 23 targets of the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework.

CDP has released its latest financial services disclosures report, which assesses the current state of environmental reporting by the world's major financial institutions.  

Fossil-fuel subsidies surged to a record US$7 trillion last year, according to a new analysis from the IMF.

The first major CO2 transport and storage project in the Netherlands - which will store 2.5 million tonnes annually under the North Sea - can now proceed, after a court ruled that the ecological assessment for the project was adequate. A final investment decision is expected next year.

A webinar coinciding with the global launch of the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) will take place on 19 September.

A new report from the American Clean Power Association estimates that federal support for the sector has led to the announcement of private investments totaling $271 billion in domestic clean energy and manufacturing projects over the past 12 months.

This exceeds combined investments made in the sector over the previous eight years.

Subsidies announced for low-carbon hydrogen have quadrupled over the last two years to exceed US$280 billion, according to a new update from BloombergNEF. The US is leading the way, with $137 billion expected to flow to eligible projects over the next 10 years, mostly in the form of tax credits.


Seven private peak bodies and three federal agencies have jointly launched the Infrastructure Net Zero initiative.

The ten founders are the Australian Constructors Association, the Australasian Railways Association, Consult Australia, the Green Building Council of Australia, Infrastructure Australia, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, the Infrastructure Sustainability Council, Roads Australia, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.

The federal government has struck a new agreement with the NSW, South Australian and ACT governments to deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, including 450 gigalitres of water for the environment, although by the delayed deadline of the end of 2027.

Legislation to implement the new agreement will be introduced into federal Parliament next month. The Victorian government does not support the new agreement, nor does the National Farmers Federation.

Consultation opportunity. DCCEEW has released a discussion paper on implementing recommendations of the Chubb review, which includes sections raising the possibility of adjusting auction procedures and fixed contract exit arrangements. Comments are due by 3 October. Workshops are also planned.

The federal government has released the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the March 2023 quarter, which includes a special section on emissions from harvested native forests.

The federal government has released submissions received during its fuel efficiency standard consultation.

The CEFC invested $1.9 billion in 2022-23 , including a record $1.2 billion in renewable energy and grid-related projects, according to its latest investment update.

CSIRO and corporate advisor RFC Ambrian have formed a new company, Hadean Energy, to commercialise a highly efficient solid oxide electrolysis technology for producing green hydrogen, which will be trialled by BlueScope.

Grant opportunity. ARENA is inviting applications by 19 December under the Regional Microgrids Program, with $75 million to be allocated to First Nations communities, and $50 million to regional microgrid pilot projects.  

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen last week attended the UNFCCC Pacific Regional High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change in Suva, and convened a Pacific Climate Change Ministers Roundtable.

Consultation opportunity. DFAT is seeking submissions by 30 September on the implementation of the Singapore-Australia Green Economy Agreement (GEA).

DFAT's Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) is calling for applications from potential business partners to trial new ideas or implement established, high-quality solutions for delivering renewable energy to remote and rural communities in the Pacific and Timor-Leste. Concept notes must be submitted by 23 October.

The federal government has confirmed that the first Global Nature Positive Summit will be held in Sydney next October. The summit will focus on transparency and reporting, investment in nature, and partnerships and capacity development.

Work is under way to submit a bid to the federal government early next year seeking funding to establish a Nature Positive Economy Cooperative Research Centre.

Independent Senator David Pocock is going on a "listening tour" of regional areas to discuss with landowners their concerns about fossil fuel projects and renewable energy projects on their land.

The Australian National Audit Office has released an audit of DCCEEW's implementation of the wildlife and habitat bushfire recovery program, finding the department's administration of the program was largely effective.

BCSDA has released its submission in response to a federal government consultation on a proposed product stewardship scheme for small electrical and electronic equipment (SEEE) and solar PV systems.

The federal government has appointed marine scientist Professor Emma Johnston AO to the board of the CSIRO.

The Investor Group on Climate Change has released a Road to Resilience Strategy to stimulate investment in climate resilience, and has also announced this year's winners of the IGCC climate awards.

The Wilderness Society has released a report commissioned from EY that examines financial investment from the EU and North America into sectors that constitute a deforestation and forest degradation risk in Australia.

Industry and research bodies in Australia and Japan have agreed to conduct research, development and demonstration work to examine the technical feasibility of transporting CO2 by ship from Asia to Australia for storage.

Grant opportunity. The federal government is offering grants of between $1 million and $20 million for projects that deliver solutions for hard-to-recycle plastics. Applications must be submitted by 13 November.

Consultation opportunity. The ACCC has published draft guidance on environmental and sustainability claims, with comments due by 15 September.

Consultation opportunity. Submissions are due by 29 September to a Senate Economics Standing Committee inquiry into residential electrification.

ACCUs last traded on the spot market at $31.00, with spot Human-Induced Regeneration ACCUs trading at $35.00, according to broker Jarden.


Statutory development. The state government has gazetted the Mineral Resources Amendment Regulation 2023, which reduces the rent for existing and new exploration permits for a mineral other than coal. The rent will be reduced to zero dollars for five years, to encourage exploration for critical minerals.

Grant opportunity. A total of $53.5 million is available under the latest round of funding offered through the Industry Partnership Program. The funding round aims to develop industries that will be in demand as the world decarbonises.

The federal and Queensland governments have jointly awarded $12.79 million to six recycling projects in the state.

The largest grants have gone to Re.Group ($4.5 million for a glass beneficiation plant), Disruptive Packaging ($3.4 million for a sustainable food packaging plant in Yatala), and IQ Renew ($3.2 million for a plastics recycling facility in Toowoomba).

The state government has allocated $151 million to help local governments implement food and garden organics (FOGO) collections, with Gold Coast, Ipswich and Brisbane to be the first beneficiary councils.

The Department of Environment and Science has issued an environmental protection order to the director of a company called Reclaim PV Recycling Pty Ltd, after finding a stockpile of about 100,000 solar panels at its site.  

Consultation opportunity. The state government is seeking views on proposed updates to the Queensland Wind Farm Code and associated planning guidelines. Submissions close on 4 September.

Grant opportunity. Farmers and other landholders can now apply for the next round of funding under the state's Carbon Farming Advice Scheme, which provides grants of up to $10,000 to obtain carbon farming advice from approved advisors.

New South Wales

Consultation opportunity. The EPA has launched a biosolids regulatory review, with comments due by 3 October, and webinars are planned.

The report of the Independent Review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act has been tabled in state Parliament, along with the Final Report of the Statutory Review of the native vegetation provisions (Part 5A and Schedule 5A and Schedule 5B) of the Local Land Services Act 2013.

Meanwhile, the Department of Planning and Environment has released a summary of public submissions received by the review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The NSW Anti-Slavery Commissioner and the Clean Energy Council will work together to develop a Code of Practice on managing modern slavery risks in renewable energy value-chains.

A NSW parliamentary committee inquiry into the feasibility of undergrounding renewable energy transmission infrastructure has released transcript of its latest hearing.

Grant opportunity. The EPA is inviting applications from councils for the latest round of grants to establish food and garden organic (FOGO) kerbside collections. Applications close on 10 October.

Consultation opportunity. The state government is seeking feedback by 11 September on a proposed amendment to the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan that would allow aerial shooting of feral horses.

The state government has invited expressions of interest (closing 8 September) from landholders in the Upper Hunter interested in receiving annual payments in exchange for implementing an agreed conservation management plan.

Award opportunity. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2023 NSW Sustainability Awards. Entries close 8 September.

Grant opportunity. The ACT government is offering rebates to small business of up to $10,000 to improve their energy efficiency.

The ACT government has released Caring for Dhawura Ngunnawal, its natural resource management plan for the next 20 years.

The ACT government will develop a plan to phase-out wood heaters, in response to a report on wood heaters by the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment.


The state government has released a referral for a renewable energy terminal within the Port of Hastings that would serve as a base of operations for the assembly of offshore wind farms along the Victorian coast.

The state government and AGL have struck an agreement on the future of the Loy Yang A coal-fired power station, with the details of the agreement kept secret.

Under the terms of the agreement, AGL has confirmed the power station will close in 2035.

Statutory development. Parliament has passed the  Minerals Resources (Sustainable Development) Amendment Bill, which overhauls the administration of quarrying and mining activities in the state.

The federal and state governments have awarded a $24 million grant to Visy, for a $42.5 million project that will result in the company's Coolaroo plant recycling an additional 95,000 tonnes of mixed paper and cardboard every year.  

Grant opportunity. The state government has launched a $3 million pilot grant program, providing assistance to landowners in the North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA) region interested in 'environmental plantings' carbon farming projects.

The state government has raised the income limit for eligibility for its Solar Homes grant program from $180,000 a year to $210,000 a year.

The government is now also offering home owners discounted home energy rating assessments, through the Victorian Energy Upgrades scheme.

Grant opportunity. Applications close on 4 September for grants under the Recycling Modernisation Fund's plastics technology stream, which is offering grants of between $1 million and $20 million.

The state government has convened a workshop with the waste industry, to help develop an emissions reduction plan for the sector. The government is developing seven sectoral emissions reduction plans, and has previously held a workshop with the transport industry.

The Clean Energy Council has released its submission to the state government's green paper on the energy transition.

Western Australia

BP has completed a feasibility study for a large-scale green hydrogen hub in Kwinana.

Grant opportunity. Round 2 of the Carbon for Farmers Voucher Program, which provides up to $15,000 for farmers to access professional advice on carbon farming, is open for applications until 29 September.

Grant opportunity. The WA Waste Authority is offering grants of up to $250,000 for waste and recycling infrastructure, with applications closing on 2 October.

Northern Territory

Statutory development and consultation opportunity. The Territory government is seeking comments by 18 September on a draft Mining Bill.

September 5, Smart energy Queensland. A Brisbane event, hosted by the Smart Energy Council.
September 5 and 6, Rail decarbonisation. A conference in Melbourne, hosted by Informa.
September 5 to 7, ISC Connect. An event in Melbourne hosted by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council and the Major Transport Infrastructure Authority.
September 19, International TNFD recommendations launch webinar. Hosted by the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures.
September 13 and 14, NT resources industry environmental management and decarbonisation forum. ). A Darwin event, hosted by Informa.
September 14 and 15, Australasian emissions reduction summit. An event in Sydney, hosted by the Carbon Market Institute.
September 18 to 20, EcologiQ greener infrastructure conference. An event in Melbourne, hosted by Victoria's Big Build.
September 19 to 20, Goldfields-Esperance major projects. A conference in Perth, hosted by Informa.
September 20 to 21, Critical minerals and energy investment. An event in Perth, supported by the WA and SA governments.
Company news and resources
Air New Zealand has released its latest sustainability report, which notes that Sam Mostyn AO is now the Chair of its sustainability advisory panel. 
The latest annual report from energy infrastructure business APA Group for the first time incoporates the group's sustainability reporting, and is accompanied by a separate sustainability data workbook. A separate climate report will be released later this year.
Energy transmission business AusNet will fund a $1.5 million electrification pilot project for vulnerable households in Victoria.
EnergyAustralia has released its inaugural climate action transition plan.
NAB has released a report commissioned from Deloitte Access Economics that concludes there is a cumulative $435 billion opportunity for Australia's economy out to 2050 arising from ensuring it is competitive in goods and commodities that help achieve global net-zero.
Gold producer Northern Star has released its latest sustainability report.
Jobs Board
City of Melbourne is hiring a project officer, waste and recycling hubs.
Huon Valley Council is seeking a climate change officer
MRA Consulting Group has a vacancy for a Sydney-based graduate/junior environmental consultant in its planning team.
Telstra is hiring a senior climate and investment specialist and a climate and environment specialist, both based in Melbourne.
Transurban is recruiting a Sydney-based climate change manager

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