ESG Snapshot: Issue 16

ESG Snapshot: Issue 16

Highlights include:
Emission limits. A new rule makes important changes to calculating some Safeguard Mechanism limits.
Mandatory climate disclosure. There's a new guide for Australian directors.
Incoming. Victoria has a new Environment Minister.
Transported. NSW has a new net-zero policy for road and rail freight.

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The EU's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) came into force on October 1 in its transitional phase. The Australian government is investigating the merits of a similar mechanism.

Issue highlight. Singapore has released new guidance on the types of international carbon credits that can be used by companies that are subject to the nation's rapidly rising carbon tax.

Companies can use international credits to offset up to 5% of their emissions.

Singapore's carbon tax will rise from S$5 in 2023, to $25 next year, then to $45 per tonne from 2026 to 2027, with a view to reaching up to $80 by 2030. It is levied on facilities emitting more than 25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas annually.

The UNFCCC has released a synthesis of the submissions it received regarding potential new commitments for inclusion in the COP28 Global Stocktake of progress.

The UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) program is developing a new initiative to help investors collaboratively contribute to the global goal of halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.

New Zealand's Financial Markets Authority has released guidance on keeping proper climate-related disclosure records.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has joined the Race to Zero campaign, which is led by the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions. Race to Zero is one of the world's largest net-zero campaigns and aims to halve global emissions by 2030.


The federal government has gazetted National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Safeguard Mechanism) Amendment (Production Variables Update) Rules that update production variables and industry average emission intensities.

The variables and intensity values are used to calculate emission limits (known as baselines) that apply to facilities covered by the Safeguard Mechanism.

Consultation opportunity. A new federal consultation paper canvasses views on a proposed Future Gas Strategy that will provide a medium (to 2035) and long-term (to 2050) plan for domestic gas production and consumption. Comments are due by 13 November.

The paper discusses Australia's LNG exports, and the use of fossil gas for industrial heat and as a feedstock.

Issue highlight. Environmental markets business GreenCollar has issued its first NaturePlus credits - a total of 8,557 credits generated from a sustainable grazing and carbon farming project in western NSW, with Queensland-based credits soon to follow.

Each NaturePlus credit represents habitat or species restoration or conservation outcomes achieved over one hectare. NaturePlus projects are registered under the independently developed Accounting for Nature framework.

The AfN framework sets the overarching standard for measuring the trend in ecological health for different environmental assets (such as agricultural soils, native vegetation, and fauna).

Credits generated across a land or seascape are categorised into tiers according to whether they overlap areas of state, national or international significance. GreenCollar has also released the NaturePlus Standard, guide, and claims guidance.

An independent review of the NaturePlus scheme is also one of three new documents on voluntary biodiversity credit schemes released by Pollination Group.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors has released a director's guide to mandatory climate reporting.

"Successful businesses will approach climate reporting as a strategic opportunity to demonstrate the value and the resilience of their organisation, rather than a compliance 'tick box' exercise," it says.

The federal government has released a report prepared by Jobs and Skills Australia on the workforce needed for a net-zero economy.

Based on preliminary modelling, it concludes Australia will need close to two million workers in building and engineering trades by 2050, an increase of around 40% on current numbers.

Depending on different policy approaches to reaching renewable energy goals, the preliminary modelling shows Australia will need approximately 26,000 to 42,000 more electricians in the next seven years.

The Australian Energy Regulator's latest annual State of the Energy Market report, which examines electricity and gas markets, concludes that the greatest challenge for the energy transition is delivering major transmission projects in a timely, least-cost manner.

Videos of keynote addresses from the Investor Group on Climate Change summit in Sydney are now available. Speakers include Professor Mark Howden, Frank Jotzo, Assistant Climate Change Minister Jenny McAllister, and farmer and scientist Dr Anika Molesworth.

The Business Council of Australia has released its submission in response to the ACCC's draft guidance for business on environmental and sustainability claims.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has released its submission to the Australian Carbon Credit Unit review.

Transcript of the September hearings of a Senate inquiry into Australia's disaster resilience are now available.

Court ruling. Justice Craig Colvin of the Federal Court has ruled that NOPSEMA's decision to accept Woodside's marine seismic survey environment plan for Scarborough was invalid, because of Woodside's inadequate consultation with Indigenous stakeholders.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Edify Energy's 600MW Smoky Creek solar farm, to be located south of Rockhampton, has received EPBC approval.

Grant opportunity. The state government is inviting first-round applications from small- and medium-sized businesses for rebates of up to $12,500 for the installation of energy-efficient equipment.

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 government has released a new net-zero emissions policy for heavy road and rail freight.

The strategy covers regulatory matters, such as removing regulatory incentives for high-emitting vehicles, advocating for the adoption of Euro VI and Euro VII emissions standards, and working with other jurisdictions on appropriate road user charging for low- and zero-emissions vehicles.

The Department of Planning and Environment has released issue two of its Biodiversity Credits Catalogue, which lists credits for sale and contains landholder stewardship stories.

The 14 grant winners under a $6 million EPA Bin Trim funding round include MRA Consulting Group, which has received $498,000 to establish circular food court networks and target shopping centre waste, while Revolve Recycling will use its $500,000 to establish a  'Green Wheels' accreditation scheme for personal transport.

Other recipients include Albury City Council ($500,000 to recover food waste from SMEs), Edge Environment ($495,000 for a waste reduction project targeting restaurants), and Metcash ($500,000 to deploy waste diversion measures in its supermarkets).  

The Department of Planning and Environment has placed on exhibition the EIS for ACEN Australia's 600MW Birriwa solar farm, which will include a battery storage component, with comments due by 19 October.

Consultation opportunity. Submissions are due by 31 October on the EPA's biosolids regulatory review.

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


New Premier Jacinta Allen has named Steve Dimopoulos as Victoria's new Environment Minister, replacing Ingrid Stitt, who takes on the mental health, ageing and multicultural affairs portfolios. Dimopoulos was previously parliamentary secretary to former Premier Dan Andrews and to Treasurer Tim Pallas.

Lily D’Ambrosio retains the post of Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Energy and Resources, and Minister for the State Electricity Commission.

UK circular economy expert Wayne Hubbard, CEO of ReLondon, is interviewed by Aurecon's circular economy leader Jodie Bricout in a new webinar organised by Sustainability Victoria (see below).

Expressions of interest for grants under the $10 million Residential Electrification Grants program close on 24 November. Companies are eligible to apply 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.

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 has released a discussion paper on a proposed revamp of its 20-year infrastructure strategy. The paper covers issue including the circular economy, decarbonisation, enabling infrastructure, and resilience. Comments are due by November 13.

Regional Development South Australia has released a new compilation of the investment intentions of the public and private sectors over the next five years, identifying a $62.56 billion regional investment pipeline.

Western Australia

The state government is seeking expressions of interest from large businesses that intend seeking significantly more low-emissions electricity from the South-West grid before 2030, or that plan to connect large-scale generation projects to the South-West grid in the same timeframe.

The EoI process aims to clarify  the customer base that will shape future major transmission projects (including potential renewable energy generation hubs), and to prioritise areas for grid investment.

Registrations of interest must be submitted by 1 November.

The state government will convene a WA Energy Transition Summit on 17 November, co-hosted with CEDA, to discuss WA's role in the transition to a low-carbon future.

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

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 20, Australian carbon capture, utilisation and storage conference. An event in Perth, hosted by Informa.
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.
December 4 and 5, AdaptNSW forum. An event convened by the NSW government. 
Company news and resources
Brickworks has released its latest sustainability report, which includes a new carbon target - achieving a 15% reduction in operational emissions by 2030, across its Australian and North American operations, from a 2022 baseline.
Honeywell has released its latest global ESG report.
Meta has released its latest responsible business report.
Tellus Holdings is seeking approval to increase the tonnage of waste accepted at its Sandy Ridge hazardous waste facility in WA from the current approved limit of 100,000 tonnes annually to 280,000 tonnes annually.
Jobs Board
Aurecon is hiring a Melbourne-based climate risk and resilience specialist
Boeing Aerostructures Australia has a vacancy for a Melbourne-based environment and sustainability specialist.
The Clean Energy Regulator is recruiting for the role of executive general manager of the scheme operations division, which comprises the vegetation and scheme transformation branch, the soil, emissions avoidance and contracts branch, and the NGER and the Safeguard branch. 
WA's Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation has a vacancy for a project manager, climate adaptation.
ElectraNet is hiring an Adelaide-based manager, sustainability.
Inghams has a vacancy for a Sydney-based head of sustainability and environment.
Squadron Energy is hiring a Hunter Valley-based project officer
WA's Water Corporation is seeking an environmental advisor.

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