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In case you missed it, the Clean Energy Regulator recently released the final guidelines for the upcoming pilot program of the Corporate Emissions Reduction Transparency (CERT) report. The new CERT report allows Australian businesses to report on progress towards their net-zero and emissions reduction targets, by providing a framework that enables stakeholders to review and understand progress towards reducing their Scope 1 and 2 emissions, in a clear and consistent manner.
Here is a rundown of the guidelines and what you need to know to participate in the CERT pilot program and why you should. Note the deadline to participate is fast approaching on January 30th 2022.
Participation is Voluntary – but will Demonstrate Leadership
Participation in the CERT pilot program is open to corporations reporting under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme with total annual emissions greater than 50,000 tonnes CO2-e.
While participation is voluntary, public scrutiny of companies’ progress towards emissions reduction is likely to increase with the first publication. The report aims to provide investors, shareholders, and the general public, a clear and consistent summary of action taken by companies to reduce their emissions. Companies such as Coles and Woodside have indicated support for the report, and are among the several large companies that have already signed up for participation in the pilot.
Businesses reporting under NGERs that have shown strong action in reducing their net and absolute emissions, will be able to use the CERT report as an opportunity to demonstrate and promote their leadership in taking climate action.
Emissions Reduction Commitments
The new CERT report guidelines outline two key types of commitments ‘Commitment (progress verified)’ and ‘Other commitment (company assured)’.
A ‘Commitment (progress verified)’ is a commitment that has all the framing elements to allow the Clean Energy Regulator to calculate and verify progress from activities occurring in Australia. This includes elements such as the year the commitment is intended to be met (the target year), the boundary and scopes of emissions covered, and the accounting approaches used to assess the commitments. Commitment (progress verified) commitments could be in the form of renewable electricity targets, or emissions reduction against a baseline or a percentage of gross emissions reduced.
Progress monitored for Commitments (progress verified) aligns with existing carbon accounting and emission reduction frameworks, such as carbon neutral certification under the Climate Active framework and Science-based Targets (SBT).
These commitments can be verified using data and registries available to the Clean Energy Regulator, with progress reported as a percentage value and as an absolute reduction. Progress may be negative where net emissions have increased, however participants can include a short statement on the context of results.
An ‘Other commitment (company assured)’ is a commitment where progress cannot be verified by the Clean Energy Regulator. This might include for example targets to reduce Scope 3 emissions, or commitments that would lead to reductions in the participant’s or supply chain partners’ emissions.
Participants can provide figures and a short statement describing progress against their Other commitments, however these would not be verified by the Clean Energy Regulator.
How to Sign up to the CERT pilot program and Key Dates
All data relevant to reporting emissions reduction, such as the surrender of Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) and Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), must be reported by 15 March 2022 to be included in the first CERT report, set to be published in Q2-2022.
If you’re interested in discussing the developments, opportunities, and risks for your business under the CERT, or need support understanding the reporting requirements, contact Louise Walsh by email. We offer a range of services to support reporting under the CERT, including Climate Active certification support, auditing, benchmarking assessments, development of Science Based Targets and procurement of carbon offsets and renewable energy.
The Regulator also has a handy FAQs sheet on their website, but if you need specialist advice experts we are here to help. Learn more about our wider Clean Energy Regulator compliance services for the Safeguard Mechanism and NGERs here.