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Carbon Disclosure Project is closing in Aus, but there’s some good news to counter

John Connor, the Climate Institute
John Connor, the Climate Institute

The Carbon Disclosure Project has closed its doors in Sydney and director James Day and senior climate change engagement officer Gareth Johnston are moving on, along with two interns.

In separate news the Asset Owners Disclosure Project has been struggling in recent months but is understood to be now close to finding new managers.

It is understood CDP will continue servicing Australian clients from Hong Kong, where there will be an expansion of staff to more than 18.

The political reality was “another NGO pulling out of Australia”, an industry source told The Fifth Estate. But in Hong Kong business was booming, so too in China and India, with total CDP staff now at 188 globally.

In many ways the failure of the Australian office makes sense, the source said. Australia was focused on transactions – get a deal negotiated and then move on.

Asia was a different story. There was hunger for sustainability metrics, standards and disclosure, and much was driven by government, the source said.

Asia was about relationships.

“In Australia you’re only as good as your last deal; in Asia it’s about long-term relationships.”

The Asset Owners Disclosure Project has also been under pressure.

However John Connor, chief executive of the Climate Institute, which initiated the project, said the program was in transition and there were negotiations underway to find a new manager for the program.

“We’re in discussions with people who could take it over,” Connor said.

“It looks like we’ve got a good partner. And we’re certainly doing this year’s index; the intention is that that the index will be ongoing.”

However, Connor said all depended on finding funding.

“It’s extremely challenging here in Australia,” Connor said.

“There are transitions but the reality is disclosure is getting more and more important.”

On a brighter note, he said, was the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s call for climate risk to be key to financial screening.

The financial regulator’s statement that it would seek disclosure itself was excellent news, he said.

“I can’t tell you how delighted I was with that. We’ve been pushing APRA for years.

“It’s a transition to the rightful owners of disclosure, which are the long-term investors.”

Connor said sentiment in general was strong.

He pointed to Moody’s note last week that said US president Trump would not stop global momentum on the fight to reduce emissions.

And he also pointed to an Essential Media poll that said the recent blasting of renewables by Canberra had not driven down the climate agenda; in fact support had increased.

Essential Media said:

60 per cent (up six per cent since December) agree that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity and 25 per cent (down two per cent) believe that we may just be witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate.

By age groups, those aged under 35 split 70 per cent/15 per cent and those aged 55+ split 47 per cent/40 per cent. People with higher education were more likely to think climate change is happening and is caused by human activity – those with university degrees split 72 per cent/19 per cent

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