Sydney, June 1, 2007 AEST (ABN Newswire) - As the Howard Government prepares its response to the Task Group on Emissions Trading's Report provided to the Government yesterday, Environment Ministers from each Australian State and Territory are meeting in Cairns to put the final touches on a mandatory greenhouse and energy reporting system for companies
Given that robust company emissions data is required to underpin an emissions trading scheme it is encouraging to see that companies are already progressing with voluntary reporting under the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). As of May 31, the official deadline for company responses to the CDP, more than 60% of ASX100 companies have indicated a willingness to disclose information and data on climate change and greenhouse gas emission.
Companies responding to the CDP will be at a distinct advantage when the state-based mandatory reporting system begins on 1 July 2008 (first reporting year 1 July 2008 ? 30 June 2009). As part of the CDP companies are asked to report their greenhouse emission and energy data, which has required them to develop data collection and reporting systems.
Last year over 70% of respondents provided some quantification of their emissions profile. While just under 10% of reporting companies provided the level of quantification and verification of emissions data that would be required for an emissions trading scheme, the practice of reporting under the CDP has encouraged a larger number of companies to develop emissions data collection and reporting systems.
Early indications from this year's CDP responses are that the number of companies undertaking some form of data verification has increased over the past year.
"We believe that early work on developing a greenhouse gas emissions inventory will give Transurban an advantage should we be required to take part in a mandatory reporting regime in the future. Participating in the CDP helps us focus on continually improving our data collection and verification, enabling us to develop more effective emissions reduction strategies," says Melissa Clarkson, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Transurban Group.
According to Joanne Saleeba, Executive Director, Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) questions being asked by companies through the CDP process evidences the range of issues and challenges that companies are grappling with when it comes to collecting and reporting on their greenhouse gas emissions. The IGCC along with Goldman Sachs JBWere and The Climate Institute have once again partnered with the CDP to expand the project to ASX100 and NZX50 listed companies.
"Whether its questions regarding the use of international standards, what emissions are included and excluded, how to avoid double counting or how to deal with mergers or acquisitions from one year to the next... all these issues need to be resolved for each company in the lead up to mandatory greenhouse reporting and more importantly emissions trading," said Andrew Gray, Head of Quantitative Research at Goldman Sachs JB Were.
While the official deadline for responses was May 31, the CDP Secretariat based in London has provided an extension to companies that would still like to respond to the information request.
"The need for companies to develop their emissions data collection and reporting systems doesn't finish at the end of the CDP process" said Nicolette Boele, Director Strategic Projects, The Climate Institute, "we hope that more companies will use the extension to disclose their emissions profile to investors and the broader community. We will continue to encourage companies to develop their energy and greenhouse reporting in the lead up to mandatory reporting and the introduction of an emissions trading scheme."
ABOUT CARBON DISCLOSURE PROJECT (CDP) The CDP provides a coordinating Secretariat for institutional investor collaboration regarding climate change. CDP's aim is twofold: to inform investors regarding the significant risks and opportunities presented by climate change; and secondly, to inform company management regarding the concerns of shareholders regarding the impact of these issues on company value. The CDP was launched in December 2000 at No 10 Downing St and the 2006 report represents the fourth time institutional investors have been asked to collectively sign a single global request for disclosure of shareholder relevant information regarding greenhouse gas emissions.
Australian and New Zealand Signatories to CDP5
ARIA (Australian Reward Investment Alliance) Catholic Superannuation Fund (CSF) Christian Super Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation HESTA Super Industry Funds Management Local Government Superannuation Scheme VicSuper Proprietary Limited AMP Capital Investors Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited Australian Ethical Investment Limited BT Financial Group Five Oceans Asset Management Pty Limited Hastings Funds Management Limited National Australia Bank Limited Portfolio Partners
ABOUT INVESTOR GROUP FOR CLIMATE CHANGE (IGCC) The Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) is a collaboration of Australian and New Zealand investors with over $225 billion in funds under management, who recognise that the financial return of an investment has the potential to be impacted by climate change. As such, the IGCC aims to ensure that the risks and opportunities associated with climate change are incorporated into investment decisions for the ultimate benefit of individual investors. The IGCC seeks to raise awareness of the potential impacts on investments, both positive and negative, resulting from climate change and to provide information and tools to assist the investment industry to understand and incorporate climate change into investment advice and investment decisions.
For further information, please go to: http://www.igcc.org.au
Members of IGCC
Australian Reward Investment Alliance AMP Capital Investors Babcock & Brown Environmental Investments Limited BT Financial Group Catholic Superannuation Fund Cleantech Ventures Colonial First State Global Asset Management Eureka Funds Management Five Oceans Asset Management Goldman Sachs JB Were The GPT Group HESTA Industry Funds Management Mercer Investment Consulting Portfolio Partners Starfish Ventures Suncorp Investment Management VicSuper Vision Super