Australia’s first approved Science Based Target offers cause for climate Optus-mism

As climate negotiators meet in Bonn to continue to flesh out the Paris Accord, the political outlook on climate change remains mixed. But the economics are changing fast and many big companies are already taking decisive action, including Singtel-Optus who this week published Australia’s first approved Science-Based Target.

This week nearly 200 countries are meeting in Bonn for the latest round of climate negotiations. Following the Paris Accord, the mood was buoyant – we finally had the long-awaited (and, for me at least, quite unexpected) global deal. But now negotiators are facing the challenge of ironing out the details and putting the deal into practice.

While the politics remain tricky both internationally and here in Australia, the economics are changing in a way that should make life significantly easier for the bureaucrats around the table in Germany. Every day new stories appear reporting the latest subsidy-free solar farm; the growing competitiveness of offshore wind and battery storage; or the mothballing of another dirty and expensive coal-fired power station.

What’s particularly exciting for us at Edge is the extent to which companies across the world are also ploughing their own, ambitious furrow. We’re delighted to say that amongst that group are a host of our clients, including Singtel-Optus who this week set Australia and Asia’s (ex. Japan) first Science-Based Target. Working on that project filled our team with renewed optimism that market forces can drive great outcomes and spur private sector leadership. The focus that the Singtel-Optus team are placing on driving down emissions is not based on some do-gooder, tree-hugging mentality, but instead on hard-nosed risk management and an understanding that sustainability and profitability go hand-in-hand in the modern economy.

Singtel-Optus is just the tip of the iceberg. While there are relatively few Aussie companies officially on the SBT list as of today, many are quietly developing their targets behind closed doors – in a number of cases with our help. At Edge, we’re currently crunching the numbers with the aim of, perhaps, being the first SME in Australia (if not world) to have our science-based emission targets approved. Sure, given our size, that’s hardly going to change the world, but it’s important that we walk the talk.

With so much going on, it’s a fascinating time to be working in the climate change space, and the prospect of seeing an avalanche of ambitious climate targets being published is a real cause for optimism.

We work with our partners, Ecofys, to develop Science Based Targets across a host of sectors. For more information on how we can help your business along that path, contact us.

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