ESG Snapshot: Issue 7

ESG Snapshot: Issue 7

Highlights include new Queensland and NSW land clearing data, an ACT draft integrated energy plan, and a draft global sustainability assurance standard.

Jobs include posts with the City of Newcastle, JB Hi-Fi Group, the SA EPA, and Sims Group. Events include the Australasian emissions reduction summit.

ESG Snapshot is a concise weekly update for C-suite executives and sustainability and climate professionals in Australia.

ESG Snapshot is 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

A draft decision of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee defers deciding whether the Great Barrier Reef be placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, but requests that Australia submit a progress report to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2024, ahead of a final decision.

The OECD has released  the Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) 2023 Global Report: Gender Equality in Times of Crisis, which examines gender-based discrimination in social institions across 179 countries.

A  Transition Plan Taskforce, established by the UK Treasury, to develop "the gold standard" for private sector transition plans has released a new status update.

The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has released what it describes as a landmark draft global standard for sustainability assurance engagements under frameworks including the ISSB. (See clip below by IAASB sustainability task force chair Josephine Jackson.)


The Australian Food and Grocery Council, WWF Australia, and DCCEEW, are among those who will give evidence at an 11 August hearing of a Senate committee inquiry into marine plastic pollution.

The federal government has released Key Factors Guidance for the offshore renewable energy industry.

EVs will need to reach 100% of new car sales by about 2040, in order for emissions from light vehicles to be largely eliminated by 2050, consistent with Australia’s net-zero target,  says a Climate Change Authority submission on fuel efficiency standards.

Five projects will share $12.4 million in International Clean Innovation Researcher Network grants awarded by the federal government.

Recipients include RMIT, which will receive $3 million to collaborate internationally on solar panel reuse and recycling, plus $2.87 million to work with international researchers on integrating renewables and EVs into the electricity grid.

Melbourne University has received $2 million to establish a researcher network for decarbonising the building industry, while CSIRO will use a $2.59 million grant to support international collaboration on grid integration, and another $1.97 million to support work on energy efficient smart buildings.

The Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Amendment (Using New Technologies To Fight Climate Change) Bill has passed the House of Representatives, with Opposition support, and will now go to the Senate.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has released Australia's first national wellbeing framework, Measuring What Matters, which sets out 50 indicators, under five wellbeing themes.  

Senator David Pocock has introduced his Climate Change Amendment (Duty of Care and Intergenerational Climate Equity) Bill, which would require decision-makers under legislation including the EPBC Act and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Act to consider the impact of  greenhouse gas emissions on the health and wellbeing of current and future Australian children.

In the case of decisions involving the exploration or extraction of coal, oil or gas, the decision maker would be prevented from making decisions where the resulting greenhouse gas emissions are likely to pose a material risk of harm to the health and wellbeing of current and future Australian children.

Grant opportunity. Applications close on 7 September for grants under the Saving Native Species program, with a total of $20 million available in this round.

A new EY briefing says the Safeguard Mechanism will drive significant new emissions abatement, and the price of Australian Carbon Credit Units could rise to about $80 before 2035.

The Senate has adjourned debate on the Nature Repair Market Bill until November 1, and the Committee inquiring into the Bill has had its deadline extended from July 31 to November 1.

NOPSEMA, the regulator of the offshore energy industry, is seeking nominations by 8 September to join its Community and Environment Reference Group.

A Senate committee inquiry into climate-related marine invasive species has had its reporting deadline extended from 31 July to 12 September.

Grant opportunity. Grants of between $30,000 and $500,000 are available through the latest funding round under the Our Marine Parks Grants Program. Applications close 27 September.

Consultation opportunity. The federal government is consulting on a proposed update of Australia's Critical Minerals List, with submissions due by 17 August.

Consultation opportunity. The federal government has released a discussion paper on developing a national framework for recycled content traceability. Submissions are due by 31 August.

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 federal government is seeking comments by 1 September on proposed scheduling decisions for managing three groups of PFAS chemicals that have been widely used in firefighting foams - PFOA, PFOS and PFHxS .

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.

Grant opportunity. ARENA has invited expressions of interest by 1 November for grants under a $30 million funding initiative to reduce emissions in the aviation sector.

Consultation opportunity. The federal government is seeking views by 18 August on a proposed revamp of the national hydrogen strategy.

ACCUs last traded on the spot market at $30.25, with spot Human-Induced Regeneration ACCUs trading at $34.50 according to broker Jarden.


The Queensland government says its latest 'SLATS' study of tree-clearing in the state shows the clearing of regulated vegetation reduced from about 98,000 hectares in 2019-20 to 61,000 hectares in 2020-21. However, the Wilderness Society said the scale of clearing in the state is still too high.

The state government will today launch a review of the Queensland Wind Farm Code and associated guidelines. Submissions close on 7 September.

The state government has appointed Professor Kerrie Wilson, a leading environmental scientist, as Queensland's new Chief Scientist.

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

New data from the Department of Planning and Environment shows a 7% decrease in hectares of native vegetation clearing in 2021, compared to 2020. The data also shows a 15% increase in clearing for agricultural purposes, a 35% decrease for native forest harvesting, and a 21% decrease in clearing for infrastructure.

The clearing of native woody vegetation increased by 31% in the period 2018–21 compared to 2009–17, the new data shows.

The state government will take the results into account in formulating its response to the review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act, which is due to be completed this month.

Two renewable energy projects - Squadron Energy's proposed 700MW Spicers Creek wind farm near Dubbo and Athena Energy's proposed 280MW Bendemeer solar farm near Tamworth - are currently on exhibition.

Consultation opportunity. The Department of Planning and Environment is seeking submissions by 11 August to its five-yearly review of the Biodiversity Assessment Method.

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

Consultation opportunity. The ACT government has released a draft integrated energy plan, with a webinar scheduled for 10 August and submissions due by 12 September.

Grant opportunity. The ACT government is offering grants to hospitality businesses to cover up to 50% of the cost of buying electric equipment to replace gas.


The state government has granted approval for Wind Prospect's 350MW Willatook wind farm near Port Fairy, with the Clean Energy Council criticising conditions that require construction to be suspended during the breeding season of the Brolga, which is a listed threatened species, and for larger buffers to protect the Brolga and the Southern Bent-wing Bat.

Grant opportunity. Sustainability Victoria is offering grants of up to $100,000 to businesses in Melbourne's western suburbs to help them reduce particulate pollution. Applications close on 30 August. Businesses can either apply individually or as collaborative partnerships.

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.

Consultation opportunity. Comments are due by 13 August on the state government's green paper on the energy transition.

Western Australia

The state government is negotiating with a major South Korean renewable energy consortium on the establishment of a green ammonia production facility near Geraldton that would produce up to one million tonnes of ammonia annually. The first exports are expected in 2027.

Horizon Power has purchased a vanadium redox flow battery, for pilot testing in Kununurra.

The state government has appointed Dr Melanie Strawbridge as Western Australia's new Soil and Land Conservation Commissioner.

The state government has awarded $100,000 to Murdoch University to test the suitability of a low-carbon concrete in roadworks. The concrete contains Collie flyash, and the grant was awarded under the Collie Futures Small Grants program.

Consultation opportunity. Submissions are due by 11 August to  Parliament's Public Accounts Committee inquiry into how the state government's progress in achieving ESG outcomes is assisting international investment. The committee will report in August next year.

Northern Territory

The Territory government has signed an MoU with Korea Midland Power (KOMIPO) and NT-based Larrakia Energy for a proposed 300MW solar farm that would be located near the Middle Arm Precinct. It would be the NT's largest solar farm, and Australia's largest Aboriginal-owned solar farm.

August 21, IGCC 2023 Climate Change and Investment Summit. A Sydney event, hosted by the Investor Group on Climate Change.
August 21 and 22, Kwinana major projects conference. An Informa event in Fremantle.
August 24, Mid-year environmental compliance update. A webinar hosted by the Australian Environment Business Network.
August 28 and 29, South Australian energy developments. An Adelaide event hosted by Informa.
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 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.
Company news and resources
Coles and Origin Energy have signed a customer aggregation agreement which will see Origin install solar PV and batteries at up to 100 supermarkets, with the goal of installing 20MW of PV over the next three years. Coles has previously pledged to rely on 100% renewables by mid-2025.
The Commonwealth Bank has launched a Green Buildings Tool that allows customers who are commercial building owners to estimate a building's baseline emissions footprint, and the impact of property upgrades on its energy and emissions profile.
Jobs Board
The City of Newcastle is hiring a project lead - climate change and sustainability
The SA EPA is hiring a senior adviser, site contamination.
JB Hi Fi Group has a vacancy for a Melbourne-based sustainability reporting advisor.
Sims Group is seeking a Sydney-based environmental specialist.

ANU is offering a climate essentials professional short course on 15 August.

The Monash Sustainable Development Institute is running a two-day course on climate change and business risk, on July 19 and 20 ($2,970).

LRQA is offering training courses on the ISO50001 standard on energy management.

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