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Environment, Political

Government must support proposal to close loophole in climate disclosures bill

Climate Integrity 2 mins read

Climate Integrity welcomes the amendments proposed by Greens Senator Nick McKim to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Financial Market Infrastructure and Other Measures) Bill 2024, that would see the legal immunity for corporations reduced from three-years to one.

The Bill, aimed at improving and mandating corporate climate disclosures, currently provides legal immunity to companies making false or misleading statements for three years.

Without the right to take legal action against entities for making misleading climate statements we are unlikely to see accountability, reporting best-practice, or science-based emissions reductions.

Climate Integrity’s recent report Net Zero Integrity: Assessment of the Net Zero Pledges of Australian Companies showed that many of the companies assessed are not on track to meet their own publicly stated emission reductions and net zero commitments. Without strong legislative and regulatory changes these low integrity practices will continue. 

A three-year immunity window will only see a continuation of greenwashing in company reporting and delay much needed climate action.

Climate Integrity Director, Claire Snyder, said civil society is a vital watchdog in challenging corporate power, and plays an important role in driving accountability and holding corporate actors responsible for their climate impacts - as we’ve seen in cases like ACCR v Santos and Greenpeace Australia v Woodside Energy. Any threat to that role is a threat to the overall health of our democracy. 

“For the next three years, it could be legal for greenwashing companies to mislead customers with inaccurate net zero claims - if the government Bill passes the Senate in its current form. 

“Corporate greenwashing in net zero pledges is widespread and legal action has been critical to hold companies to account. A three year legal immunity loophole is bad news for consumers, investors and our climate and we support its reduction to 12 months.”

Media contact: Rebecca Gredley on 0484 008 095 or rebecca.gredley@climatemediacentre.org.au

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