Climate change in detail

Carbon footprinting

Greenhouse gas reporting isn’t only important for those organisations that have obligations to report to the government. We encourage all organisations to measure and report both internally and externally on their greenhouse gas footprint.

Greenhouse gas information is increasingly requested in government tenders and by customers and investors. Measurement of greenhouse gas emissions can also assist internally in identifying efficiency opportunities. Net Balance can assist in compiling your greenhouse gas footprint or provide verification prior to public disclosure of your greenhouse gas performance. Our staff are well-versed in the main standards for greenhouse gas inventory development including ISO 14064, the GHG Protocol and PAS 2050.

National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS)

In an effort to demonstrate leadership and help mitigate their carbon emissions, a large number of organisations have committed to achieving carbon neutrality. To reassure consumers about the validity of carbon neutral claims, the Australian Government released the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) in 2010.

Net Balance can assist your organisation in achieving NCOS certification in the following ways:

Stepping you through the requirements of NCOS

Assessing your emissions boundary

Developing your emissions inventory

Choosing and purchasing reputable offsets that meet your organisation’s strategic objectives

Providing verification required as part of your NCOS application.

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) audit, verification and assurance

The financial, regulatory and reputational risks associated with NGER reporting, and the future impact of a carbon price, make climate change reporting a Board-level issue. Companies are being challenged to meet their legislative obligations, and there are hefty financial penalties for not doing so. 

Net Balance has one of the largest teams of Registered Greenhouse and Energy Auditors (RGEAs) in the country. We have undertaken over 80 NGER audits in sectors ranging from utilities through to mining, retail, banking and manufacturing. Through this experience, we have developed an audit framework that allows us to undertake our audits efficiently and effectively. Our sectoral knowledge means that you spend less time explaining your business and processes to us, which reduces the audit burden on your employees.

Our approach is to deliver audits that provide value to you through recommending improvements to your reporting systems to increase the efficiency of the process and to yield more accurate numbers, while also providing comfort to your senior management and the Clean Energy Regulator that your reporting is being done in accordance with the relevant legislation.

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) assistance and advisory

The financial, regulatory and reputational risks associated with NGER, and the impact of the carbon price, make climate change reporting a Board-level issue. Companies are being challenged to not only meet their legislative obligations, but to create effective management systems to forecast carbon exposure and track performance improvements.

Our people have specific knowledge of major industry sectors and have worked for some of Australia’s largest companies, including experience providing audit and verification services to more than 20 of the ASX100. Our services will provide your Board with the confidence that your NGER submission is complete and accurate and will go beyond risk management to identify inefficiencies and improvements to make your NGER reporting simpler, more efficient and more robust.

Additionally, we can help you understand how the legislation specifically impacts your industry and how changes to the legislation affect you. We understand that every industry and organisation is different, with its own specific issues for NGER reporting.

Greenhouse and energy life cycle assessment (LCA) and product labelling

Increasingly, governments and businesses are taking into account environmental impact when they make product sourcing decisions. Consumers are also considering the impact of their purchasing decisions. These trends are leading to more and more organisations seeking competitive advantage through the use of comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) to demonstrate their products’ benefits. LCAs can be applied to either products or services and can help in product design, process optimisation and marketing.

Net Balance has significant experience undertaking life cycle assessment in accordance with both the ISO 14040 and PAS 2050 Standards. We have also undertaken verification of LCAs, including ones used for achieving certification under the National Carbon Offset Standard.

Carbon and Clean Energy Legislation briefings

Net Balance helps our clients develop flexible action plans to prepare for the impacts of the carbon price. 

We have experience in the following areas:

The Clean Energy Act 2011 and eighteen associated Acts became legislation on 8 November 2011. The legislative package sets out the instruments to implement the Clean Energy Future plan (released 7 July 2011) and its centrepiece, a carbon price. 

The carbon price was $23 at commencement, and is increasing by 2.5 per cent per annum for three years – the period known as the ‘carbon tax’. The price will therefore be $24.15 in 2013/14 and $25.40 in 2014/15. On 1 July 2015, the transitional fixed price period will end and the carbon price will become a cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme with a floating price. The price will then be set by the market.

There is uncertainty how the market will react at the end of the transitional period, and if the carbon price will rise or fall. 

Most businesses will not be directly liable for the carbon price. Directly liable firms may increase their prices in order to compensate for the carbon costs they incur. The remainder of the Australian economy is likely to feel the impact of the carbon price to the extent that directly liable entities increase prices to compensate for the carbon costs that are passed on by firms throughout the economy. 

Net Balance has experience developing and delivering briefings on the carbon price and its expected impacts for companies in a range of different sectors.

Clean Energy Legislation and Carbon Price compliance

On 1 July 2012, Australia put a price on carbon through the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Legislation (CEL) package. This package is broad-ranging and complex, and businesses face a steep learning curve in adjusting to the new economic reality.

Companies that are directly liable under the carbon pricing mechanism need to understand and meet a number of compliance tasks and dates. They also need to develop suitable internal systems to quantify their carbon output, and link this information with their financial systems to understand the full implications of the carbon price on their operations.

Further to this, liable entities should be aware of the opportunities for free carbon permits and other grants and transitional funding available from the Government.

Net Balance can assist liable entities in all aspects of CEL compliance, and our team includes several Category 1 and 2 Greenhouse and Energy Auditors registered with the Clean Energy Regulator. Our services in this area include:

See also: Audit, verification and assurance services for NGER reporters

Climate change adaptation processes

Responding to climate change risk is an iterative process, which can be tackled in a systematic way by going through the steps of identifying, assessing, prioritising, responding and feeding back lessons into the process. Net Balance can provide strategic advice and tools to assist in all aspects of the process.

Risk and vulnerability assessment

Before devising and evaluating adaptation actions, organisations need to understand what they are adapting to. The risk and vulnerability assessment is a diagnostic process, building a sound understanding of what risks your organisation is facing. The examination of the risk context and an honest assessment of uncertainty surrounding these risks is also part of this initial step. We can help to identify the specific climate change risks that may impact your organisation, and the extent to which you are likely to be affected. We can also assist in building a sound understanding of particular areas of vulnerability within your organisation or community, to allow your efforts and resources to be prioritised.

Strategy development and implementation

Net Balance has worked with many organisations in developing their adaptation strategies, including creating processes to prioritise adaptation actions, and designing appropriate implementation mechanisms. Net Balance’s practical focus delivers action-oriented strategies that fit our clients’ organisational culture. Implementation support is also provided to our clients as embedding climate change adaptation consideration is often critical to success. The Climate Change Adaptation Toolkit we developed is an example of our commitment to helping communities and organisations in this respect.

Adaptation action and strategy evaluation

Complex problems require a commitment to a process of continuous learning and improvement. Evaluation of adaptation actions is therefore an essential part of any strategic approach to adaptation. Net Balance draws on its experience in sustainability and triple bottom-line evaluations to inform its development of evaluation frameworks and carry out outcome-oriented evaluation of related adaptation and response actions.

Our team has a strong understanding of all aspects of the adaptation process, we are able to assist your organisation at any stage of the climate change adaptation process.

Climate Change Adaptation Toolkit

The impacts of climate change are already being experienced in our community - from heat waves and intense bushfires to devastating floods. Despite adaptation being discussed for a number of years, organisations are still grappling with how best to respond to this complex problem.

Net Balance, in collaboration with RMIT and the City of Greater Geelong, has developed an Adaptation toolkit. The Toolkit will assist organisations to prioritise their climate risks and adaptation actions and make climate change risk consideration a part of their everyday operations.

Based on practical experience, the Toolkit takes organisations beyond risk assessments – exploring implications of uncertainty on risk and adaptation actions and supports embedding climate change within the decision making processes.

The Toolkit aims to support organisations to:

  • Integrate adaptation and support effective and efficient risk management
  • Be more responsive to climate change shocks and trends form linkages across different work areas, internally and externally
  • Make effective and consistent decisions regarding climate change.

The Toolkit consists of three tools, stepping the user through key considerations of climate change risks, and potential adaptation actions.

Tool 1: Exploring the Risk Context - explores in detail key climate change risks previously identified. The tool explores the interaction between the risk and their broader social, economic and environmental context. It also outlines a process for considering, overcoming or accepting, and documenting the uncertainty associated with each relevant climate change risks.

Tool 2: Developing Adaptation Actions - provides a process for identifying, exploring and evaluating adaptation options, to assist organisations to prioritise actions.

Tool 3: Screening for Climate Change Interactions - outlines a process for decision makers across an organisation to consider any interactions between a new proposal/project and climate change risks and adaptation actions.

To download the Toolkit User Guide PDF, please click here.

To download the Toolkit PDF, please click here.