Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

According to a report, ten leading companies in Australia do not have concrete strategies in place to cease their use or support of fossil fuels.
Climate Environment World News

According to a report, ten leading companies in Australia do not have concrete strategies in place to cease their use or support of fossil fuels.

A report reveals that several prominent Australian companies, such as Coles, Telstra, Woolworths, and Qantas, have not outlined any concrete strategies to phase out their use of fossil fuels or to discontinue their support for the industry. This is despite having set goals to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The businesses were not accurately disclosing the effect of their operations on the direct or indirect contribution to climate change through deforestation.

The University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures conducted a study on the climate strategies and disclosures of Coles, Woolworths, Telstra, Rio Tinto, Qantas, BlueScope Steel, Origin, AGL, Cleanaway and South 32. These companies were chosen as significant contributors to emissions in their industries.

The report, which was funded by a newly established advocacy group called Climate Integrity in Australia, concluded that none of the 10 Australian companies had a thorough and independently verified plan with estimated costs for reducing their emissions. Furthermore, the report found that these plans did not align with a scientifically sound approach to rapidly decarbonize in order to limit global warming to 1.5C.

In late 2022, a UN expert group developed guidelines to evaluate companies’ climate pledges. This was in response to widespread concerns that these pledges were often ambiguous, contradictory, inadequate, overly dependent on offsetting measures, and potentially deceptive (known as greenwashing). The researchers used these guidelines to assess the companies.

According to the report, the degree to which Australian companies adhere to the recommendations of the UN group is disappointingly inadequate.

  • Join Guardian Australia’s complimentary morning and afternoon e-newsletters for a daily recap of news updates.

According to the report, less than half of the companies were making progress towards reaching their designated goals. Additionally, none of the companies had set targets or strategies to end their reliance on fossil fuels.

The report expressed concern over the lack of scientific support for the urgent phasing out of fossil fuels. It stated that without clear commitments to this goal, achieving net zero emissions would be challenging.

The study discovered that businesses had adopted numerous frameworks, evaluations, criteria, and disclosure mandates, many of which were optional.

The article stated that the companies did not provide sufficient data for researchers to comprehensively assess how they were including the effects of land clearing in their climate goals.

According to Claire Snyder, the director of Climate Integrity, there is a lack of uniformity in the successes and shortcomings of company plans. She believes this indicates a lack of clear standards or common understanding among companies about what constitutes a credible net zero plan.

Snyder proposed that Climate Integrity would advocate for policy modifications in Australia to ensure that the public can trust the credibility of companies’ statements and to provide the industry with clearer guidelines.

The Albanese administration plans to pass a law in the near future that will require companies to include specific details in their financial statements regarding potential risks associated with climate change.

According to Alison Atherton, a researcher from UTS and one of the authors of the report, the study revealed a significant level of inconsistency in the publicly available information provided by companies.

She stated that those making decisions, conducting research, and those who are consumers and investors should feel assured about these plans.

The international Science Based Targets initiative only confirmed targets for three companies: Woolworths, Coles, and Telstra.

Woolworths Group announced that they are making positive strides in decreasing their dependence on fossil fuels. They plan to transition all operations to using 100% renewable electricity within the next two years, and their fleet of 1,200 home delivery trucks will be converted to electric by 2030.

Skip over the advertisement for the newsletter.

Coles stated their dedication to reducing emissions and improving resource efficiency in areas within their control and influence.

The company reported that 90% of its emissions were produced within its supply chain and that it was collaborating with 75% of its suppliers to establish emissions reduction goals by 2027.

We are making good progress in reaching our goal to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by over 75% by June 2030 for Scope 1 and 2. This also encompasses our objective to use 100% renewable electricity by June 2025.

The emissions reduction targets for CO2 and methane set by Cleanaway, a waste management company, are firmly upheld. Methane, which contributes to three-quarters of the company’s footprint due to landfill releases, is a major focus. Cleanaway is actively working towards capturing methane and reducing emissions in its heavy vehicle fleet by implementing alternative fuels and conducting trials with hydrogen and electric trucks.

Tom Penny, head of environment at Telstra, stated that the company’s goal to decrease both direct and indirect emissions by 50% by 2030 encompasses initiatives to decrease reliance on fossil fuels.

“According to him, Telstra is dedicated to playing a significant role in addressing the issue of climate change. He further stated that the company is committed to investing in sufficient renewable energy sources by 2025 to offset their own electricity usage.”

AGL, the largest producer of greenhouse gases in Australia, announced its plan for transitioning to a more climate-friendly operation. This plan lays out how the company aims to reach net zero emissions by 2050, addressing both direct and indirect sources.

The goal is to shut down our final thermal power plant, Loy Yang A, by the end of fiscal year 2035. At that point, our operated Scope 1 and 2 emissions will be at net zero.

AGL announced plans to invest $8-10 billion in developing 12 gigawatts of renewable energy and backup power by 2035. The company aims to construct the necessary infrastructure to support Australia in achieving its climate goals.

According to Origin, gas will continue to be a significant component of the energy mix to support the fluctuating output of renewable energy. It will also be necessary for customers who are unable to switch to electricity and do not have any other viable alternative to gas at present.

The company was open to examination of its “suitably ambitious” strategies for addressing climate change. It predicted that it would achieve its 2030 goals primarily through direct actions, and would only use offsets for emissions that are difficult to reduce.

Qantas stated that the aviation industry is difficult to reduce emissions in, and that relying on high-quality offsets is crucial for meeting their emission reduction goals until sustainable aviation fuel and low/zero-emission technologies become more accessible.

The organization’s goal to incorporate 10% sustainable aviation fuel by 2030 will be largely achieved through a partnership with Airbus and Boeing, resulting in a potential acquisition of 500 million liters.

South 32, a mining company based in Perth, has set a goal to achieve net zero emissions in all aspects of its business by 2050. Additionally, the company has a shorter-term objective to reduce its operational emissions by 50% from 2021 levels by 2035.

The company in the mining and metals industry stated that their climate change action plan, which was originally published in 2022, will undergo a review every three years. The establishment of goals that align with the worldwide Paris agreement is considered a crucial step in evaluating potential strategies to adapt our business for success in a low-carbon environment.

The company did not have specific goals for reducing emissions from product usage, but was collaborating with suppliers and customers to decrease these emissions.

Bluescope Steel stated that it was unable to provide a response and Rio Tinto chose not to comment.

Source: theguardian.com