ESG Snapshot: Issue 15

ESG Snapshot: Issue 15

Highlights include:
EPA's new climate role. A just-passed South Australian Bill has important ramifications.  
Climate scrutiny. New climate performance assessments are out for 14 Australian businesses.
100 firms targeted over nature impacts. An investor alliance has listed 100 companies that it will target, seeking  greater action to reverse nature loss.

Do you want to work in a very senior role in DCCEEW, or in a climate and energy advisory role, or in waste and recycling? See this issue's jobs board! Do you want to attend a conference on plastics, or on the intersecting climate and biodiversity crises? See this issue's event listings!

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Global investor alliance Climate Action 100+ has released its assessments of 14 Australian large-emitting companies.

The 14 companies are Adbri, AGL, BlueScope, Boral, Incitec Pivot, Orica, Origin Energy, Qantas, Santos, South32, Woodside, Woolworths, BHP and Rio Tinto.

Global investor alliance Nature Action 100, which is modelled on Climate Action 100+, has named 100 companies that will be the focus of its engagement work. They include 3M, Amco, Anglo American, BHP, Glencore, Orica, Rio Tinto, and Unilever.

The International Energy Agency has released a report titled Net Zero Roadmap: A Global Pathway to Keep the 1.5 °C Goal in Reach.  

"There is no low international co-operation route to limit warming to 1.5 °C and no slow route either," the report says. "By 2035, emissions need to decline by 80% in advanced economies and 60% in emerging market and developing economies compared to the 2022 level."

US President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris have hosted the inaugural White House Climate Resilience Summit, and released a National Climate Resilience Framework.

The White House has also ordered all agencies to consider the social cost of greenhouse gases when preparing their budgets, and in their procurement.

The UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owners Alliance has released a new report on Unlocking Investment in Net Zero.

BCSDA has issued a video briefing on the UN Climate Action Summit and NYC Climate Week.


The Council of Financial Regulators (comprising the Reserve Bank, APRA, ASIC and Treasury) has released a summary of its activities on climate change in FY23.

The paper says FY24 priorities will include using a range of analytic tools and modelling, and improving the transparency of sustainability-related information.

The Clean Energy Regulator has released the latest quarterly market data for the large-scale RET.

A soil carbon project in Queensland has been issued with 94,666 ACCUs - the first issued to the project since it was registered in 2017. The issuance is the largest made to date under a soil carbon method.

Statutory development. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has gazetted the Legislation (Deferral of Sunsetting—Recovery Plans) Certificate (No. 2) 2023, which defers the standard sunsetting date for instruments for making or revoking EPBC recovery plans by two years, to 1 October 2025.

The move will provide more time to prepare new legislative instruments, as part of EPBC Act reforms.

A new Climate Council report says  ‘maintaining a safe and liveable climate’ should be an object of the EPBC Act, and a matter of significance that triggers the assessment of lifetime emissions (scope 1,2 and 3) of all projects. The federal Greens have expressed support for the report recommendations.

A new Beyond Zero Emissions report, based on ACIL Allen modelling, concludes shared transmission and green hydrogen pipeline infrastructure can massively reduce the cost of decarbonisation.

Australia and France will conduct a joint study into critical minerals supply chains.

The Independent Expert Scientific Committee on coal seam gas and large coal mines has released its review of activities in FY23.

A new greenhouse gas analysis from CSIRO, has led to the European Commission again renewing its 2017 recognition the low-emissions credentials of Australia's canola, which is used in the EU as a feedstock for biodiesel production.

Consultation opportunity. DCCEEW is consulting on proposed scheduling decisions under the Industrial Chemicals Environment Management Standard (IChEMS) for four brominated flame retardants. Comments are due by 25 October.

The federal government has provided a $3 million funding boost to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to strengthen Sea Country partnerships with Traditional Owners.

Grant opportunity. The federal government is offering grants of up to $15 million for carbon capture or use projects. Expressions of interest must be lodged by 31 October.

The Climate Change Authority will host a 17 October webinar on its latest review of the ACCU scheme.

Consultation opportunity. Submissions are due by 20 October on the federal government's issues paper on a roadmap for establishing an Australian offshore oil and gas decommissioning industry.

Consultation opportunity. A new federal government green paper on aviation out to 2050 floats the possibility of measures such as Sustainable Aviation Fuel targets, or a low carbon fuel standard. Comments are due by 30 November.

Grant opportunity. The Powering the Regions Fund is offering grants of between $1 million and $100 million to help cement, lime, alumina and aluminium facilities decarbonise. Applications must be submitted by 2 November.

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.


CleanCo has a growth pipeline that includes more than 2.3GW of new renewable projects in various stages of development, according to its latest annual report. It also has a committed pipeline of 1,000MW in offtakes from renewable energy projects that are expected to commence commercial operation from FY24.

The state government has also tabled in Parliament annual reports for agencies including the Department of Environment and Science, Energy Queensland, and the GasFields Commission.

Consultation opportunity. The state government has released a draft Queensland Water Strategy, with comments due by 3 October.

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.

New South Wales

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Sustainable Buildings) 2022 takes effect on 1 October. The policy will for the first time, introduce sustainability requirements for significant non-residential developments into a state planning instrument.

Law firm Clayton Utz has released a briefing note on the Sustainable Buildings SEPP.

The Department of Planning and Environment has placed on exhibition the EIS for transmission infrastructure for the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone. Comments are due by 25 October.

The project would enable 4.5GW  of new network capacity to be unlocked by about the mid-2020s.

The EPA has issued an updated strategic plan.  

Consultation opportunity. The state government is consulting on a proposed critical minerals and high-tech metals strategy, with comments due by 17 November.


Victoria's Ombudsman has released a report critical of the Department of Transport and Planning’s implementation of the state's road-use charge on zero and low emission vehicles.

The state government has launched a $10 million Residential Electrification Grants program – with companies eligible for grants if they provide bulk installations to more than 50 new or existing homes. The move is designed to remove the need for homeowners to apply for individual rebates. Expressions of interest for funding close on 24 November.

Consultation opportunity. The state government has released a discussion paper on the use of renewable gas by industry. Submissions are due by 6 October.

Grant opportunity. The state government is offering second-round grants under the Nature Fund, which promotes collaboration with private and philanthropic groups. A total of $3.5 million is on offer. Expressions of interest are due by 6 November.

Consultation opportunity. The state government is consulting on a proposed new sustainability strategy for Tasmania, with submissions due by 6 October.

Issue highlight and statutory development. Parliament has passed the Environment Protection (Objects of Act and Board Attributes) Amendment Bill.

The Bill inserts references to climate change mitigation and adaptation into the objects of the state's Environment Protection Act, and adds a reference to requiring polluters to limit the risk of environmental harm "in relation to a changing climate".

Until now, the Environment Protection Act made no mention of climate change, and the amending legislation is significant in part because the EPA must consider the objects of the Act when considering development applications, and applications for licences.

Passage of the Bill also paves the way for the development of an environment protection policy that will "establish that emitters are required to say what their emissions will be and what they will be doing to reduce them", according to SA Climate Change Minister Susan Close.

The Bill also specifies that the EPA Board's membership must include persons with practical knowledge of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The federal and state governments have finalised a $100 million grant agreement to develop infrastructure at Port Bonython, near Whyalla, and prepare it to become South Australia's first large-scale export terminal for hydrogen. The federal component of $70 million will come from the Regional Hydrogen Hubs program.

Along with private sector funding, the redeveloped Port Bonython is expected to host projects worth up to $13 billion that jointly generate as much as 1.8 million tonnes of hydrogen by 2030.

Statutory development. Debate has continued in the Legislative Assembly on the government's Pastoral Land Management and Conservation (Use of Pastoral Land) Amendment Bill, which confirms the Pastoral Board's ability to approve a range of uses of pastoral leases, including for conservation and carbon farming.

The Opposition has continued its broad support for the Bill, but signalled it might move some amendments in the Legislative Council.

Currently, 21 pastoral leases are already wholly used for conservation with the approval of the Pastoral Board, with five leases used for carbon farming.

Statutory development. Debate has continued in the Legislative Assembly on the Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Bill.

Western Australia

Statutory development and consultation opportunity. The state government is seeking views by 22 November on draft regulations to ban e-waste from landfills.

Grant opportunity. The federal and state governments are offering grants totalling $30 million in the second round of the Recycling Modernisation Fund. Applications must be submitted by 13 October.

Avenira Ltd and Taiwan’s ALEEES have signed a binding licence and technology transfer agreement for a proposed lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) battery cathode manufacturing facility at the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct.

The  agreement gives Avenira the authority and specifications to manufacture LFP battery cathode material in Darwin. The manufacturing plant will be Australia’s first commercial-scale facility of its kind, designed to deliver 30,000 tonnes of LFP powder annually, for use in EV and energy storage batteries.

October 9 to 12, Plastics and the circular economy. A conference in Melbourne. 
October 9 and 13, the Tasmanian Renewable Hydrogen Industry Network is hosting events in Hobart (October 9) and Launceston (October 13).
October 9 and 10, AFR energy and climate summit. An event in Sydney, hosted by the Financial Review.
October 25, Chloe Munro scholarship event. An October 25 event in Melbourne, to announce this year's recipients of the Chloe Munro Scholarship for Transformational Leadership.
October 25 and 26, All-Energy Australia. An event in Melbourne.
October 25 and 26, Decommissioning offshore infrastructure. A conference in Perth, hosted by Informa.
October 26 and 27, Asia-Pacific hydrogen summit and exhibition. An event in Sydney, hosted by the Sustainable Energy Council and the Australian Hydrogen Council.
October 31 to November 2, The 2023 energy from waste conference. An event in Sydney, hosted by the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia.
November 3, the National Environmental Law Association annual conference. To be held in Melbourne, with the theme of 'Intersecting crises of climate change and biodiversity loss - where to next for Australian environmental law?'
November 7 to 9, The 21st world wind energy conference. An event in Hobart, hosted by the World Wind Energy Association.
November 9, ANU Solar Oration 2023: Generation change – and the role of solar PV. Delivered by Professor Renate Egan, executive director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics.
November 22 and 23, Climate Ready Australia national summit. In Brisbane and online, hosted by Griffith University's Climate Action Beacon and Climate Ready Initiative.
November 28, ANU Energy update. Speakers to be advised.
November 29 and 30, Climate smart engineering. A conference in Melbourne, hosted by Engineers Australia.
Company news and resources
Health fund nib has released its latest climate disclosure report and sustainability report
UK-headquartered HSBC has announced plans to make available US$1 billion of financing to early-stage climate tech companies around the world.
Global food company Mars has released a net-zero emissions roadmap that involves a 50% cut in emissions across its full value chain by 2030.
Orica has announced accelerated climate change targets, as part of a sustainability investor day.

It has added a new short-term target of reducing net operational emissions to 30% below 2019 levels by 2026. It has also strengthened its 2030 target, and will now aim to cut operational emissions by at leat 45% from 2019 levels (up from the previous target of 40%).

In addition, it has established a goal of reducing scope 3 emissions by 25% by 2035, from a 2022 baseline.
Jobs Board
CIMIC Group is inviting applications for its environmental/sustainability graduates program, with the roles based in Brisbane.
The City of Adelaide is recruiting a senior sustainability advisor.
DCCEEW is recruiting a deputy secretary to lead its Environment Group, which is responsible for matters including Nature Positive approvals, enviornmental permitting and compliance, and establishing the future EPA.
NSW's Department of Planning has a vacancy for a senior scientist - climate impacts, and the Department of regional NSW is hiring a principal, sustainability and climate resilience
GrainCorp is seeking an environment and sustainability advisor, based in Sydney or regionally.
NOPSEMA, which regulates offshore energy industries, is hiring specialists to assist in the regulation of offshore renewables. 
Renewal SA is hiring a sustainability lead.
Shell has a vacancy for a Perth-based carbon farming project officer.
TransGrid is seeking a senior biodiversity advisor
The Victorian Waste Management Authority is hiring an executive officer

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