We have expanded the list of climate policies we assess company engagement with to incorporate land-use related policy, referring to legislative or regulatory measures to enhance and protect ecosystems and land where carbon is being stored. Assessments under this category are currently underweighted in terms of their contribution to the overall company metrics. This weighting will be progressively increased over the next 6 months.
We adjusted the terminology used to describe the queries running down the left-hand side of our scoring matrix and added additional explanatory text to the info-boxes. This has no impact on the scores and methodology. It has been done following user feedback to improve clarity.
Climate Lobbying Overview: The Ai Group has actively engaged on Australian climate regulation, in its top-line messaging it appears to support ambitious action on climate change and the need for climate & energy policy. That said, Ai group appears to be somewhat unsupportive of certain, detailed policy measures and appears to continue to support the role of fossil fuels in the energy mix.
Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Ai Group is a founding member of the Climate Roundtable, which supports the Paris Agreement and in December 2019, updated its statement to support a ‘well below 2C’ limit with efforts to pursue 1.5C. In 2020, Ai Group has stated it endorses both the Paris Agreement and a goal to reach net-zero by 2050. In December 2021, CEO Innes Willox stated support for Labor’s climate plan, while in opposition, stressing that Australia must commit to net-zero to remain globally competitive. He then supported the passing of the climate change bill in September 2022 that legislated Australia’s emissions targets.
Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: AI Group's engagement with climate-related regulations appears to be mixed. Ai Group submitted a consultation response on the Safeguard Mechanism Reforms in September 2022, in which it appeared supportive. It supported the removal of ‘headroom’ from the policy and supported baseline decline rates ‘as firm as possible’ and advocated for the policymakers to consider introducing a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism for Australia. In August 2021, Ai Group released a report on the effects the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) would have on Australia, where it appeared to support the CBAM while encouraging the end of free allowance and encouraging Australia to consider implementing its own CBAM. On energy efficiency, the Ai Group supported measures in its 2020 post pandemic policy such as fuel switching and gas efficiency while in 2021 CEO Innes Willox advocated to policymakers for a big federal push on energy efficiency. Later in June 2022, he appeared to also support more ambitious greenhouse gas targets, stating that a 43% reduction was a floor and a deeper 2035 target is needed.
Positioning on Energy Transition: Ai Group appears to have advocated mixed positions on the energy mix. In its federal election policy statement, released in March 2022, Ai Group appeared to support the growth of renewables and hydrogen in the energy mix while also appearing to support a move away from fossil gas, adding that new fossil gas should only be facilitated when it is aligned with emissions goals. Nevertheless, the association appears to be supportive of the continued role for gas in the energy mix in the short and medium term, stating that it will continue to play a role as a backup source in an October 2022 press release. Additionally, in an op-ed in the AFR in August 2022, CEO Innes Willox appeared to support a reduction of fossil gas in the energy mix but appeared to also suggest that new supply is necessary. Previously, in March 2021, the association appeared to support a gas-fired recovery for Australia after the Covid-19 pandemic, although in its submission to National Gas Infrastructure Plan in March 2021 it appeared to recognize that fossil gas use must be reduced, but suggests that it supports the role fossil gas has to play in the near/medium term.