A report from RMIT says business needs more support to achieve net zero emissions, including more stringent and consistent reporting, re-introducing carbon pricing and reforming the carbon credit systems.

Australian businesses are calling out for the Australian Government to give more clarity and guidance on how to reduce emissions.

With more than 70 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions coming from the business sector, there is an overwhelming consensus that clearer and more consistent government policy is needed to support and guide businesses to align with the 2015 Paris Agreement.

RMIT University highlights how the Australian Government could draw on the latest scientific expertise and existing knowledge to provide a clear path forward for businesses to reduce their emissions.

Lead author of the report and climate change theme leader at RMIT’s Business and Human Rights Centre, Dr Leanne Morrison, said that while many Australian businesses are developing their own policies, they would welcome clearer Government guidance and more consistent nationwide regulation.

Recommendations include a national emissions target which is internationally accepted to be in accordance with the Agreement is one that aims for net zero by 2035.

Reintroducing a carbon price mechanism would be the most effective way to meet a national target of net zero by 2035.

It would allow Australian exports to avoid attracting international carbon duties that would significantly impact their competitiveness in global markets.

Mandated corporate carbon reporting mechanisms would include reporting on absolute emissions, calculated based on the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol and mandatory reporting of Scope 3 emissions, which are emissions not emitted by the company directly, but associated with activities such as purchased materials and products once they have been sold.

For example, for a coal mining company their Scope 3 emissions would include emissions from their customers burning that coal.

Audit and assurance of emissions reporting regulations should mandate a standard for all Australian reporting entities to use mechanisms for carbon management and reporting emissions, which should be externally audited by independent parties to ensure completeness and confidence.

A reform of carbon credit systems needs to be conducted by a robust independent body, which includes Indigenous land management practices as a legitimate form of carbon credit calculation, based on Indigenous wisdoms and research.

Carbon credit systems should be assured by credible independent parties, based on scientific evidence of overall reduction or absorption of carbon, in addition to existing levels.

This assurance should be updated regularly according to advances in climate science.

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