Crackdown on businesses faking clean energy credentials

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has announced a crackdown on companies over-egging their clean energy credentials as the government boosts investment in renewables.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has announced a crackdown on companies over-egging their clean energy credentials as the government boosts investment in renewables. Photo: AAP

Australia will work to secure more investment in clean energy by making sure claims made by businesses about clean energy projects stack up.

The federal government will co-fund a sustainable finance taxonomy to stamp out “greenwashing”, where funds over-represent their clean energy credentials, to boost investor confidence.

The Australian Sustainable Finance Institute’s Kristy Graham welcomed the announcement, saying the absence of a sustainable finance taxonomy had been a significant barrier to clean energy investment.

“The taxonomy will provide a common standard for what is sustainable and transition finance, channelling more capital to support the transition in Australia,” she said.

An extra $4.3 million will be put towards cracking down on businesses making misleading claims about their product’s sustainability or energy efficiency.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the corporate watchdog needed to be able to take action against greenwashing where it exists.

“We want investors to have maximum confidence in their investments in cleaner and cheaper energy,” he said.

“In order to do that, we need to get the taxonomy right. We need to get the regulatory regime right.”

The announcement came after Dr Chalmers convened a clean energy investment roundtable in Brisbane, where he brought together Australia’s leading banking heads, superannuation funds and renewables experts.

The group represented more than $2 trillion in asset management and discussed priority investments as Australia transitions to clean energy sources, sustainable finance growth and opportunities to help consumers save money on electricity bills.

A sovereign green bonds program will be introduced to enable investors to back public projects contributing to Australia reaching net-zero emissions.

“We need to give as many opportunities for people to invest as we can,” Dr Chalmers said of the bonds.

Cheaper home loans and cheaper financing for home upgrades will also help Australians meet stronger energy efficiency standards as the government expands and upgrades the energy rating scheme.

The treasurer has hosted a series of round-table discussions to help align the government’s agenda with private-sector organisations and increase investment in national priorities.

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen, who was also at the roundtable, said the climate emergency was Australia’s jobs opportunity.

In October, the government committed more than $24 billion for economic opportunities presented by the net-zero transformation.

The upcoming budget is expected to continue investment in this area.


Topics: energy
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