A group of some of the biggest Australian polluters have pledged to bring their companies to net-zero emissions by 2050.
BHP, BlueScope Steel, Woodside, the National Australia Bank and AustralianSuper have made the pledge to remove emissions from their Australian supply chains.
The group is known as the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative, and has the de facto support of the Federal Government after being backed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, as well as the CSIRO.
According to a report from the ABC’s Daniel Mercer, “key to the initiative will be finding ways to reduce pollution from emissions-intensive industries such as LNG, steelmaking, aluminium processing and chemical refining, which collectively generate exports worth $160 billion a year.”
Former CSIRO chairman and Australian of the Year, Simon McKeon will head the group, and has said that while industries might face challenges in morphing their carbon emissions, there are also a host of opportunities for these organisations in transitioning their energy use to renewables.
As renewable technologies continue to increase in efficiency, reduced costs will be translated to the organisation in question.
“For the first time in Australia we have created this club, call it what you like, with one focus- how do we get to net zero emissions and what are the best ideas around to assist us win becoming carbon neutral by 2050,” McKeon said.
“This is an opportunity from an Australian perspective to get a big ball rolling in relation to the big ideas that are bigger than just one corporate.”
McKeon added that the companies involved in the collective should be motivated into action not just from shareholder pressure, but increasing environmental demands from customers alike.
British Petroleum’s president, Frederic Baudry has conceded his organisation should “decarbonise” its operations, adding that having energy that is simply convenient is “no longer enough – it must also be cleaner.”
The report from the ABC also quotes Anna Skarbek, chief executive of ClimateWorks, a Monash University non-governmental organisation, who says that the work needed to transition energy supply chains is well worth it.
“Emissions aren’t contained within national borders and aren’t confined to what happens within a company’s four walls.”
“Globally, many countries and businesses are already moving to decarbonise supply chains in heavy industry sectors,” explains Skarbek. “There are huge opportunities for Australian businesses if they take a proactive approach to getting into this race,” she said.
Customers are increasingly demanding environmental concerns be taken seriously in the supply chain of organisations they buy from, so consider implementing an environmental management system like ISO 14001 in your organisation to ensure you’re actively responding to customer demands.