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The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) works closely with other regulators to monitor carbon emissions claims. In particular, the CER has a strong relationship with regulators such as the Australian Security Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to share information and align regulatory priorities around greenwashing concerns.
The CER holds important data from carbon emissions and energy use reporting. We also issue Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), which are carbon offsets, and Renewable Energy Certificates as well as operate Registries that provide for such units and certificates to be traded and cancelled. Our data can be useful in assisting other regulators to determine whether carbon emissions claims may amount to greenwashing.
Greenwashing is the practice of misrepresenting the extent to which an entity, product or strategy is environmentally friendly, sustainable, or ethical. An example of greenwashing is misrepresenting the carbon emissions associated with the production of goods and services. This could lead to companies gaining financial and reputational benefits without the corresponding contribution to carbon abatement.
As Australia moves toward a net zero carbon emissions future, consumers and shareholders are preferencing products and companies that support that transition. Ensuring that claims made in relation to net carbon emissions reduction of businesses, or the carbon intensity of products and services, are accurate is critical.
Investigating greenwashing is primarily the remit of ASIC and the ACCC.
We continue to work with other regulators by sharing information and data to verify claims. We may refer concerns to ACCC and ASIC for appropriate regulatory action. The CER also has regulatory relationships with other entities such as the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). We liaise with these agencies to share data and intelligence.
Both the ACCC and ASIC have highlighted greenwashing in their recent enforcement priority announcements:
The CER is publishing the annual CERT report, which presents a snapshot of companies’ climate-related commitments, progress, and net emissions position using a standardised framework. This voluntary report includes key data and information that is either verified by the CER or independently assured by suitably qualified practitioners.
The CERT report provides transparency to consumers, investors, and the public about the actions some companies are taking to reduce their climate impact, presenting their climate-related information and data against a consistent framework, making this information more accessible and comparable. The design of the CERT report will evolve in the future, including to reflect the evolution of domestic and international mandatory and voluntary climate-related disclosure frameworks, for even greater transparency, accessibility, and comparability.
There are strong obligations on the entities we regulate to report relevant information accurately. The CER will act in accordance with our Compliance policy for education, monitoring and enforcement activities to ensure accurate reporting.
Entities supplying data should also be aware of their responsibilities under the:
If you have any concerns about greenwashing, please contact email@example.com.
Alternatively, you may make a confidential report around concerns of suspected fraud, disclosable conduct, or inappropriate workplace behaviour through How to Report on our website.
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The Clean Energy Regulator is a Government body responsible for accelerating carbon abatement for Australia.