Dermot Duncan, head of our Climate Change Team, has recently
launched, in association with GHD (International Technical
Consultants) a Climate Change Risk and Opportunities Diagnostic
Upon his return to Australia in July this year, having practiced
in Climate Change in the United Kingdom for the past 7 years,
Dermot realised that businesses are struggling to understand their
responsibilities and opportunities in respect of Climate Change and
that his experience and the Diagnostic could help formulate their
The Diagnostic enables business to use a structured and
transparent process to identify the core legal drivers to Climate
Change. The Diagnostic then identifies the auditing, disclosure,
reporting, technical, funding, legislative, contractual and
operational options available to assist you implement your own
Climate Change Strategy. Such an approach can ensure your business
has a structured approach and is able to identify any
'gaps' that exist in your current strategy. It will also
assist your business effectively communicate your Climate Change
strategy to the market as well as reduce the risk of liability your
business faces for 'greenwashing'.
A snapshot of the Diagnostic and an evaluation questionnaire can
be downloaded at
Primary Drivers of Change
Some businesses are already reporting under the Energy
Efficiency Opportunity Act 2006 (Cth) (EEO
Act) as well as the National Greenhouse & Energy
Reporting Act 2007 (Cth) (NGER Act). The NGER
Act is intended to supersede the EEO Act and underpin the
monitoring and reporting obligations under the Carbon Pollution
Reduction Scheme (CPRS). However many business may
not know that the 'corporate group' thresholds in s.13 of
the NGER Act actually decrease during the first three years of the
NGER Act's operation and are likely to capture many
Other drivers include,
a businesses' corporate obligations (whether it is listed
or unlisted) under ss.180, 181 and 299, 299A of the Corporations
Act where it is clear that business must consider the
'environment' when operating their business. Listed
companies must also comply with ASX Corporate Governance
Principles, in particular, Principle 3 (Ethical Decision
Making) and Principle 7 (Risk
a businesses' Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility
Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
which are now a feature of investors' investment analysis which
is evidenced through their 'screening' of investments as
well as 'shareholder resolutions'; and
Reputational Risks to Business.
Dermot acknowledges that some businesses have pushed their
Climate Change Strategy to the bottom of the pile recently:
however, businesses need to address their Climate Change risk head
on if they wish to adapt and prosper as there are opportunities as
well as risks.
Swaab was recently named winner 'Best Law
Firm in Australia (Revenue < $20m)' and 'Attribute Award
for Exceptional Service (Australia Wide)' and at the
2008 BRW- Client Choice Awards.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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