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 Business Council of Australia (BCA) appears to be improving its positioning on climate policy, nevertheless the BCA has traditionally had mixed engagement on climate-related regulations and appears to support the continuation of fossil gas in the energy mix.
Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy The Business Council of Australia (BCA) appears to support the need to act on climate in its top-line messaging. In August 2022, in the BCA’s submission on the Climate Change Bill, it stated support for the legislation of Australia’s net-zero by 2050 target. In a separate submission to the consultation on the Safeguard Mechanism Reforms in September 2022, it stated support for climate policy to achieve this target. In its 2021 report titled ‘Achieving a Net Zero Economy’ the BCA appeared to support the Paris Agreement and stated that Australia should avoid the use of Kyoto credits to achieve its Paris NDC’s.
Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations The BCA appears to have a mixed engagement with climate-related regulations. In its submission to the consultation on the Safeguard Mechanism Reforms in September 2022, it appeared to hold a mixed position on the reforms. It supported the introduction of crediting and trading and the removal of headroom, while advocating for federal policy targeting the decarbonization of the electricity sector. However, the BCA appears to supporting a delay in the implementation of the reforms while also supporting the reforms to accommodate international offsetting without placing clear limits on their use. It also does not appear to take a clear position on the baseline decline rate.
On renewable energy policy, In its 2021 report titled ‘Achieving a Net Zero Economy’, BCA supported the Morrison government's extension of the remits of ARENA and CEFC to cover non-renewable fuel sources. However, it also advocated for the introduction of an energy efficiency scheme for low income households. In its April 2022 election statement, the BCA advocated for a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 46-50% by 2030. Nevertheless, BCA CEO Jennifer Westacott ultimately endorsed the Albanese government's 43% by 2030 target in an interview with Sky News in October 2022.
Positioning on Energy Transition: The BCA appears to support the continued role of fossil gas in the energy mix. In its April 2022 election statement, it appeared to support the energy transition, but stating that the priority must be reliability, affordability and security. Additionally, in its 2021 report titled ‘Achieving a Net Zero Economy’, the association stated that fossil gas and fossil gas infrastructure would be needed in the transition with no mention of emissions abatement, citing apparent reliability issues with renewable energy. BCA CEO Westacott has advocated for the continued role of fossil gas in multiple interviews with the media in 2022, including with Sky News and RN Breakfast, stating that ‘ideological debates’ must stop and gas is a ‘critical medium-term fuel’.
On the decarbonization of transport, in November 2021, the association supported plans to accelerate EV uptake, with Westcott stating “We support an approach that gives consumers the choice to make this switch by removing the barriers to EV uptake". The BCA has been an opponent of state-level policy action on the energy mix, particularly opposing renewable energy targets, stating support for national targets instead.