ESG Snapshot: Issue 42

ESG Snapshot: Issue 42

Highlights in this week's issue include:

  • Parties show their hands. The federal Opposition is wary of a climate disclosure Bill, while the Greens and Senator Pocock want mandatory scenario analysis.
  • 'Scorched earth'. The Victorian Opposition will try to overturn a planning amendment that smooths the way for new renewables infrastructure.
  • ISP must evolve. Energy ministers want Australia's next Integrated System Plan done differently.
  • Not a wrap. The ACCC's prosecution of the manufacturer of Glad products over alleged greenwashing could soon be followed by other court cases.
  • Methane changes. The government has proposed measures to tighten the rules for earning carbon credits by capturing landfill gas.
  • NGER audits and changes. Four NGER reporters will undergo further scrutiny by the Clean Energy Regulator, and NGER methane measuring methods are set to be tightened.

Interested in working for Fortescue, K-Mart, Queensland Treasury, NAB, or climate departments in NSW or Victoria? Check out this issue's jobs board!

Plus new reports from the Superpower Institute, the Grattan Institute, Pollination, the Clean Energy Investor Group, and ACOSS.

ESG Snapshot is published weekly by the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia.


Statutory development - climate risk disclosure. The Coalition is wary of a government Bill mandating climate risk disclosure, a new Senate committee report on the Bill shows.

Coalition members of a Senate committee inquiring into the Bill said they had "significant concerns about the scope, design, and implementation" of the Bill's climate disclosure provisions. 

"The Coalition will continue to reserve its final position ... until it is satisfied these concerns are properly addressed," Coalition senators said. 

The Greens, in their additional comments, call for mandatory scenario analysis, as did independent Senator David Pocock.

The comments by the various parties suggest that the government will need to make scenario analysis mandatory in order to secure passage of the legislation, if the Opposition decides to vote against the Bill.

The forthcoming Future Made in Australia Act will specify five key tests for determining whether government support will be considered, according to Treasurer Jim Chalmers:

  • Is the industry one where we can be competitive, and more productive?
  • Does it contribute to an orderly path to net zero?
  • Can it "build the capabilities of our people and especially our regions"?
  • Will it improve Australia’s national security and economic resilience?
  • Does it recognise the key role of the private sector and deliver genuine value for money for government?

The Act will also outline criteria for two streams - a national interest stream, and a net zero transformation stream, Chalmers told the Lowy Institute.

Energy ministers have revealed how they want the Australian Energy Market Operator to approach the preparation of its next Integrated System Plan.

Ministers want a better integration of gas into the 2026 ISP, which will involve AEMO collecting information on gas pipeline closures or conversions, and on the long-term ramifications of biomethane and hydrogen for gas generator fuel costs.

They also want:

  • better demand forecasting.
  • an analysis of alternative coal-fired generation shutdown scenarios".
  • consideration of community sentiment impacts.

The Australian National Audit Office has concluded that the Clean Energy Regulator's administration of the ACCU scheme is "largely effective", in a new audit report.

The audit report makes only one recommendation, which is directed at DCCEEW, and not at the Clean Energy Regulator.

Court proceedings and Senate inquiry. The ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Clorox Australia Pty Ltd, the manufacturer of GLAD-branded kitchen and garbage bags, for allegedly making false or misleading representations that some of its bags were partly made of recycled 'ocean plastic'.

The ACCC alleges that Clorox represented that its GLAD Kitchen Tidy Bags and Garbage Bags were comprised of 50% recycled 'ocean plastic' collected from an ocean or sea, when they were instead partly made from plastic that was collected from communities in Indonesia up to 50 kilometres from a shoreline.

Referencing the case in recent testimony to a Senate greenwashing inquiry, the ACCC's Rami Greiss said "we have a number of other very advanced investigations". 

Rami Greiss, executive general manager of the ACCC's consumer and fair trading division, told the Senate greenwashing inquiry that its 2023 internet sweep for greenwashing had identified problems at small and large businesses, and further investigation had revealed some of the claims turned out "not to be problematic".

Some of the concerning claims were made by Climate Active certified companies, Greiss said, and Committee chair Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has asked for the names of these companies.

In questioning on the term "carbon neutral", Independent Senator David Pocock asked for "all correspondence between the ACCC and the department in relation to the Climate Active scheme and the notes from any meetings that occurred between the department and Climate Active". 

Ad Standards director Richard Bean told the Senate greenwashing inquiry that he expected a new environmental claims code under development by Ad Standards would "likely" lead to an uptick in consumer complaints. A draft of the code was released earlier this year.

Representatives of Glencore told the Senate greenwashing inquiry that although the company has recently dropped its coal annual production cap of 150 million tonnes, which was introduced in 2019, the company now has "enhanced" emissions reduction targets that mean production won't exceed the cap.

A group of 14 Australian and international marine and climate scientists has written to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese describing the extent of bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, and saying Australia's new national nature protection laws must be delivered before the end of this term.

"They must include a clear requirement to assess whether projects will cause more climate harm for nature as part of the assessment process," the letter says.

New grants for startups and SMEs. Applications for grants of up to $5 million to help innovative startups and SMEs to commercialise their ideas are now available through the Industry Growth Program. Grant scheme priorities include renewables, and value-adding in resources.

Meanwhile, the Australian Hydrogen Council (through its business arm Hydrogen Mobility Australia) has received a $920,000 grant to advise start-ups and SMEs that are participating in the Industry Growth Program.

More than half of the branded plastic pollution found in the environment is linked to 56 companies, according to a new study by CSIRO and 12 other international organisations.

The top brands globally were: The Coca-Cola Company, linked to 11% of branded items, followed by PepsiCo (5%), Nestlé (3%), and Danone (3%). 

The Clean Energy Regulator has included four NGER reporters (three of them covered by the Safeguard) in its annual audit program "because we were unable to satisfactorily verify the accuracy of their reports based on a desktop assessment".

Consultation - NGER. DCCEEW is consulting on the latest proposed annual changes to the NGER Scheme, which include:

  • phasing out the use of default emission factors to calculate fugitive emissions from open-cut coal mines.
  • publicly disclosing the method used by coal, oil and fossil gas companies to calculate fugitive methane emissions.

Comments are due by 24 May.

Consultation opportunity - landfill gas. DCCEEW has released a discussion paper on proposed changes to the ACCU Scheme's landfill gas methods. Comments are due by 31 May.

DCCEEW has also released submissions to its consultation paper on proposed second tranche changes to the ACCU scheme.

The federal government has appointed former secretary of the federal environment department, Dr Paul Grimes, to the independent committee that oversees the integrity of ACCU scheme methods.

Dr Grimes has also held senior roles in the NSW public service (where he was secretary of Treasury), and in the South Australian and Victorian public services.

"If we are to successfully meet the great global challenge of climate change, we must have government programs and regulations that have deep integrity and rigour," Grimes said.

"It is wonderful being able to join the committee and contribute to its work supporting the ACCU Scheme alongside the dedicated public servants in DCCEEW and the Clean Energy Regulator."

A joint parliamentary committee inquiry into strengthening Australia's approach to trade negotiations has recommended that the government establish a consistent approach to assessing trade and investment agreements that includes impact analyses of the economic, social, and environmental implications. 

The committee also recommends that the government include human rights, labour and environmental chapters in its trade agreements that reflect, and where appropriate contain specific references to, relevant UN and ILO conventions. 

Transcript of a Senate committee hearing into the Net Zero Economy Authority Bill is now available.

New reports:

Open consultations:

New South Wales

The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust has appointed two new board members - former National Farmers Federation Chair Fiona Simson and Professor Phil Duncan.

Simson was recently also appointed to the board of the Climate Change Authority.

Land at the former Lake Munmorah coal-fired power station on the Central Coast has been declared significantly contaminated by the EPA and will be cleaned-up. 

Part of the site is contaminated with hydrocarbons and PFAS. Generator Property Management owns the site, and is responsible for the clean-up.


The Opposition will attempt to revoke in the Legislative Council a Planning Scheme Amendment that removes the right for opponents of renewable energy projects to make appeals to VCAT.

The motion would need the support of most minor parties in order to succeed.

Shadow Minister for Energy, Affordability and Security, David Davis, said the government was "adopting a scorched earth policy, imposing wind and solar farms and long-distance high voltage transmission wires on communities without their approval or social licence".

The newly appointed board of the State Electricity Commission will be chaired by high-profile renewable energy industry figure and former ACT climate change and energy minister Simon Corbell.

Other board members include Anna Skarbek, Jo Benvenuti and Damien Barnes.

The federal government has issued the first offshore wind feasibility licences for the seas of Gippsland, with recipients including the proponent of the Star of the South project.

Other recipients are High Sea Wind Pty Ltd, Gippsland Skies Pty Ltd, Blue Mackerel North Pty Ltd, Kut-Wut Brataualung Pty Ltd, and Ørsted Offshore Australia 1 Pty Ltd (Gippsland 01).

The Government intends to grant another six feasibility licences, subject to First Nations consultation, to Iberdrola Australia OW 2 Pty Ltd (Aurora Green), Greater Gippsland 2 OWP Project Pty Ltd (Gippsland Dawn), Navigator North Project Pty Ltd, Ørsted Offshore Australia 1 Pty Ltd (Gippsland 02), Kent Offshore Wind Pty Ltd, and the Great Eastern Offshore Wind Farm Project Co Pty Ltd.

The 12 projects could generate 25 GW of electricity, which is more electricity that the entire state of Victoria generated last year.

Western Australia

Grant opportunity - decarbonisation. Applications for grants of between $5 million and $15 million are now being accepted by a state government/Chevron backed fund.

The fund supports large research and innovation activities that significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions or test, demonstrate and deploy technologies that support lower carbon projects. Applications must be lodged by 6 June.

Grant opportunity - clean energy. The state government is offering grants of up to $4 million in the latest round of its Clean Energy Future Fund. The fund supports innovative projects to decarbonise existing industry, develop new renewable energy businesses and improve energy efficiency.

Applications must be submitted by 10 June.

Events, jobs, company news, and key international developments are listed below.

ESG Snapshot is distributed to C-suite executives and sustainability and climate professionals in companies and organisations that are members of BCSDA, which is the local network partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. For membership enquiries, contact ESG Snapshot is available to BCSDA non-members on a six-week trial basis.

BCSDA welcomes enquiries from organisations and companies interested in distributing ESG Snapshot under their own logo to their members, clients or suppliers.
Coming up on 1 July - BCSDA's Fiona Wain Oration. To be delivered by inaugural Grattan Institute chief executive Professor John Daley AM, in honour of former BCSDA chief executive and sustainability pioneer, Fiona Wain.
May 8, Australia-China decarbonisation roundtable. An event in Beijing and online. Hosted by ANU.
May 8, Navigating mandatory reporting: Roadmaps and supplier engagement strategies. An event in Sydney and online, hosted by Moir Group, and featuring Aletta Boshoff, BDO's partner and national leader, IFRS & corporate reporting, ESG & sustainability.
May 9, Australian product stewardship forum. An event in Sydney, hosted by the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence.
May 14, Industrial decarbonisation summit. An event in Sydney, hosted by the Energy Efficiency Council.
May 15 and 16, Energy Efficiency Council national conference. A two-day event in Sydney.
May 20 to 22, Carbon farming industry forum. An event in Cairns hosted by the Carbon Market Institute.
May 22, Nature and biodiversity seminar. An event in Melbourne hosted by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors.
May 29 and 30, Fourth annual Australian renewable energy zones conference. An event in Sydney, hosted by Informa.
June 4, Clean energy investor conference 2024. An event in Melbourne, hosted by the Clean Energy Investor Group.
June 5 and 6, Tasmanian energy development conference. An event in Devonport, hosted by Informa.
23 August, Climate governance forum. An event in Sydney, hosted by the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
November 5, Sustainability leaders summit. An event in Auckland.
Jobs Board
The Australian Meat Industry Council has a vacancy for a Melbourne-based manager of sustainability and standards.
Coca Cola Amatil is hiring a Brisbane-based packaging sustainability lead.
DHL has a vacancy for a Sydney-based sustainability specialist.
Fortescue is hiring a Port Hedland-based environment advisor.
K-Mart is seeking a Melbourne-based sustainability graduate.
NAB is recruiting a Sydney-based senior associate, sustainable finance.
The NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment & Water is establishing a talent pool for senior policy and programs officers.
Queensland Treasury is recruiting a senior associate - sustainability.
Victoria's Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action is hiring a climate change policy advisor.
WA Health has a vacancy for a sustainability manager.
Company news and resources

CDRC Global has opened a facility in the Melbourne suburb of Tottenham that turns plastics found in e-waste into a resin that can be used in concrete and asphalt. The facility, which will process about 6,650 tonnes of plastics annually, was built with the help of a $500,000 state government grant.

Birdwood Business Energy has received a $942,944 grant from ARENA for a $2.58 million project to inform commercial and industrial businesses of their load flexibility opportunities.

Birdwood Energy will manage the project in partnership with the Australian National University and the Energy Efficiency Council.

Victorian energy network United Energy has received a $3.54 million grant for an $8 million Flexible Services Trial that will test new and novel ways to integrate more renewables.

Australian start-up Xefco will receive $2.5 million in finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to further develop its patented technology that can significantly reduce the use of water, energy and chemicals in textile production.

A meeting of the G7 economies has committed to phase out existing unabated coal power generation in their energy systems "during the first half of 2030s or in a timeline consistent with keeping a limit of 1.5°C temperature rise within reach".

The meeting communiqué urges all countries to finalise new international pledges (NDCs) by early 2025 that are aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, as informed by the best available science.

It also refers to "the gravity and urgency arising from the interlinked and mutually reinforcing global crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution".

The independent taskforce established to ensure the supply-side integrity of international carbon credits has confirmed that Verra, the world's largest carbon crediting program, has met its high-integrity Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) "after making significant changes to its procedures".

A shareholder resolution proposed by Green Century Capital Management for the annual general meeting of Pepsico, requesting that the company release regular biodiversity dependency and impact assessments has received the support of 18% of shareholders.

PepsiCo's board had recommended rejection of the resolution, arguing it was neither necessary nor in the best interests of the company.

Green Century said it constituted a significant number of shareholders that had "stood up for nature".

Australian news items in all issues of ESG Snapshot can be searched by relevant Sustainable Development Goal category. To do this, click on the '17 SDGs' link at the top of this web page, or on any of the SDG keys below.

Click to search via SDG

SDG 10
SDG 11
SDG 12
SDG 13
SDG 14
SDG 15
SDG 16
SDG 17