Canberra, Dec. 12 . The Australian government has announced new laws that will force big companies to disclose their emissions reduction efforts.
In a speech on Monday, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the proposed Australian climate risk disclosure system would provide clarity and certainty for investors and businesses looking to manage climate risks and invest in new opportunities.
Under the plan, big businesses including banks would be compelled to reveal publicly what they are doing to reduce their carbon emissions and fight climate change.
Chalmers told the Australian Sustainable Finance Institute that credible disclosures would guarantee Australia remains competitive in global capital markets, with more investors seeing “a new harmony between profit and planet.”
“There’s now broad acceptance that proper disclosure of these financial risks and impact isn’t a nice-to-have extra,” he said.
“This information is need-to-know — essential to mobilizing the weight of our financial system behind the net zero transition.”
The treasurer also flagged a crackdown on “greenwashing” — the practice of companies exaggerating their green policies in a bid to attract climate-conscious customers.
He said the measures would make Australia a world-leader in sustainable finance.
Companies and the public can make submissions to the Treasury on the proposed laws until Feb. 17 before legislation is introduced to the parliament.
The proposed move has been welcomed by the finance industry.
Erwin Jackson, director of policy at the Investor Group on Climate Change, told the Guardian Australia that the country needed to catch up to the rest of the world on climate disclosures, saying it’s currently impossible for investors to get clear information.