Since the establishment of Australia’s first voluntary carbon trading exchange in July 2007, and Australia’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement (which sets binding limits on emissions and envisages global emissions trading); there has been much discussion and debate in relation to the Safeguard Mechanism now that the Emissions Reduction Fund has posted its final auction.
There is also much debate in relation to the national energy market reform, the potential introduction of a Clean Energy Target and their effects on climate change.
Climate Change Law
Climate Change is a global issue that will require urgent action by Governments, Business and Individuals over the coming decades. Laws are already in place in Europe with the aim of limiting greenhouse emissions, and following the Paris Agreement reached at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) in December 2016 which has been ratified by 168 countries; it is inevitable that further laws will gradually be implemented worldwide to combat this issue which will affect many businesses across Australia. Climate Change law, both in Australia and abroad, is consistently changing. At Rockliffs, we are able to assist you with the following:
- Advising on national and some aspects of international climate change policy;
- Assisting with the structuring and funding of carbon reduction projects, including CDM, JII and Voluntary projects, including any M&A aspects
- Carbon Trading Strategies
- Advising on property and carbon rights with respect to carbon reduction projects
Nathan Rockliff has been working in this area in London, New York and Sydney for the over 10 years, and is also a co-founder of Commodity Bourses Limited (CBL Markets), a company which has been operating since 2009 as online exchange platform for various global environmental commodities which facilitates & encourages investment, entrepreneurship and forward thinking in the cleantech, renewable energy and carbon markets to help achieve a low carbon economy. For more information, please refer to their website, www.cblmarkets.com.
“Green Marketing”- Compliance with the Australian Consumer Law
As a result of the impending introduction of the Safeguard Mechanism and the increased public awareness on the issues surrounding climate change; environmental and “green” claims are increasingly being used by companies as a marketing tool to enhance their products in the ever-growing ‘environmentally friendly’ marketplace.
Companies engaging in such business must ensure that such marketing and representations are not misleading and deceptive in accordance with Section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law. Pursuant to section 18 of the ACL, a business must not engage in conduct that misleads or deceives, or is likely to mislead or deceive, consumers or other businesses. This applies even if you did not intend to mislead or deceive anybody, or if nobody has suffered any damage or loss as a result.
The ACCC acting as the watchdog in this particular area has already instituted proceedings against several Australian companies for making “green” or environmental claims in contravention of the Act.
Companies operating in this commercial area should ensure that a suitable compliance program is established to ensure that their business and marketing operations do not breach the ACL.
For start-up businesses intending to commence operations in the carbon trading, green and energy sectors, please refer to our information on setting up a business, which includes information in relation to our Intellectual Property Law and Corporate Finance Advisory services.