Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

State of the Environment Report: An indictment but not a final verdict

What we must do now to improve biodiversity and community-outcomes

The latest State of the Environment (SoE) report makes for sobering reading. The report finds that the state and trend of the environment in Australia is poor and deteriorating, exacerbated by climate change, habitat loss, pollution, resources extraction, and invasive species.

In the past two centuries, Australia has lost more mammals to extinction than any other continent.  

Nearly 300,000 hectares of primary forest has been cleared between 2015 and 2019, and a larger area still of sparsely vegetated or non-woody vegetation cleared and converted for other uses such as pasture and grazing. The impact of the devastating 2019-20 bushfires on native flora and fauna was catastrophic and the full repercussions will only become evident in the coming years.

The results of this report card on the management of our natural environment is confronting.

It is also the wake-up call that Australia needs.

The release of the State of the Environment Report presents an opportunity to refocus, prioritise and move forward. We need to rise to the challenge and shift this destructive trajectory to a more positive one.

The positives we can take from the latest State of the Environment (SoE) report?

Incorporating Indigenous Voice

On the bright side, for the first time we have seen the inclusion and recognition of Indigenous voice and expertise, as “essential for meeting the environmental challenges of today and the future” (Minister Plibersek, National Press Club 19 July 2022). The State of the Environment Report is co-chaired and every chapter co-authored by First Nations scientists. It is also the first time the SoE Report has comprehensively outlined the links between the environment and human well-being.

What is needed now, is action to embed the recognition of Indigenous voice and wisdom, into practice. Organisations such as the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation, offer solutions, such as a mechanism to upscale cultural burning, that Australia has barely begun to tap into. It is critical that we harness every opportunity at our disposal to change course.  

There are other reasons to be optimistic for the future of the environment.

Increasing awareness and regulation for Corporates

Corporates and financial institutions will continue to bring focus to how their activities (operations or financial investments) positively or negatively impact on natural capital and biodiversity. This is in response to increased regulatory oversight, social or economic responsibility as shareholders, investors, and other organisations up and down the supply chain scrutinising their exposure.

Climate and biodiversity litigation is on the rise. The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures is now in its second round of consultation and one step closer to implementation. Standardised means for measuring and accounting for changes in the environment, backed by science such as the Accounting for Nature framework, continue to mature and gain global recognition.

Benefits of carbon offsets as nature-based solutions

In addition, we are witnessing substantial increases in global (and local) financial investment flows toward nature-based solutions, in recognition of the opportunities for addressing the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.

As our fellow industry peers at Pollination point out, the carbon offset market is attracting this investment because it represents an existing, functioning mechanism that can make a material contribution toward reversing environmental loss.

At Ndevr Environmental, we are witnessing increasing and sustained interest from businesses who are seeking support to help identify, evaluate, develop or implement land-based carbon offset projects under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), in order to self-generate high-quality and robust carbon offset credits. We’ve explored how to do this here:  How to Self-Generate Carbon Credits – Building an Offsets Strategy and Land-based Carbon Offsets – from Strategy to Implementation.

We acknowledge that this system is not perfect and welcome the recently announced review, led by former Australian Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb, as an opportunity to strengthen and restore trust in the scheme. We also acknowledge that the current rates of land clearing need to be significantly stemmed, for which adequate and appropriate regulation is required, so that carbon offset projects are not merely putting back what is being taken out.    

However, from our experience, a great deal of positive land stewardship outcomes, for the benefit of biodiversity and local communities, can be achieved through well-designed land-based carbon offset projects.

This of course depends on how these projects are developed.

  • They must be robust and verifiable, and connected with the local community.
  • They must start with an acknowledgment of corporate values and responsibilities towards biodiversity and social outcomes.
  • They must recognise how carbon offsets fit into the broader corporate emissions reduction strategy.  
  • They must be implemented and managed responsibly and remain true to this spirit.

Well-designed carbon offset projects have the potential to be powerful nature-based tools in the fight against continued land clearing, species decline and climate change.

This is an evolving space, but we need to be implementing actionable solutions now to combat the years of neglect, mismanagement and damage to our environment.

We firmly believe carbon offset markets present an existing conduit to incentivise best practice land stewardship and start the important work of reversing decades of land clearing, restoring our native habitats and protecting our threatened species.  

Image credit: Matt Herington. Forest Farm restoration project, Tintebar NSW.

So although the State of the Environment report is damming, as we’ve outlined, it’s not the final verdict. There are positive shifts and awareness and momentum building to protect biodiversity and implement nature-based solutions. As the report states:

“Immediate action with innovative management and collaboration can turn things around”.

State of the Environment Report 2021

We need to embrace an all-in effort, increase action now and leverage the mechanisms and frameworks at our disposal.

Want to learn more about nature-based solutions or carbon offset projects?

We are established carbon market advisors and can provide further guidance on carbon abatement estimates and eligibility due diligence, economic analysis, project implementation and other strategic advisory support. Reach out to Michaela or Matt for advice on building an offsets strategy or eligibility of a property for implementing a carbon project: environment@ndevrenvironmental.com.au or call 03 7035 1740. If you need advice on a wider climate change or sustainability strategy, we can help with that too.

MAKE AN ENQUIRY

Please complete the form below and we’ll be in contact with you shortly.





    ATIYAH

    CARBON NEUTRAL PRODUCT

    ​AWESOME STREETFOOD, ZERO CARBON – that’s Atiyah. With its launch in 2020, Atiyah became Australia’s first 100% renewable-run street food zero-carbon kitchen certified under Climate Active. Atiyah sets operational carbon efficiency benchmarks and raises awareness about the global warming impact of food choices. They even disclosed the footprint of every item on their menu to empower their customers’ low-carbon lifestyle. We assist ATIYAH with their carbon neutrality certification.

    ORIGIN

    CARBON NEUTRAL ORGANISATION & PRODUCT

    Responsible business is at the heart of what Intrepid does. Intrepid has been a pioneer in measuring and reporting carbon emissions since 2010. When it joined the Climate Active family in 2018, it became the largest global provider of carbon neutral certified travel adventures and the first company to voluntarily include all global operations in its certification.

    NEXTDC

    CARBON NEUTRAL ORGANISATION & PRODUCT NEXTDC are one of Australia‘s most trusted providers of data centre solutions. Since 2018 we’ve been assisting them with their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) accounting and in March 2021, the company broke ground with the launch of NEXTneutral, an innovative Climate Active-compliant colocation opt-in program for their customers. Learn more.

    GOODMAN

    COMMERCIAL & INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY
    Goodman Group is an ASX20 global property expert in logistics and business space. It owns, develops and manages industrial property in 17 countries. We provide strategic advisory on Goodman’s operational GHG inventory and trajectory, the GHG intensity of its investment portfolio, net zero pathway and carbon neutral certification, as well as the renewable energy delivery strategy.

    ISPT

    PROPERTY FUND MANAGEMENT
    ISPT is one of Australia’s largest unlisted property fund managers, with over $11.9 billion of funds under management. We assist ISPT with its net zero pathway, land-based offset strategy as well as maintaining its carbon neutral certification. When ISPT joined the Climate Active network, it pioneered many concepts. It became the first participant under Climate Active to voluntarily include base building operations on all its owned and operated properties into its organisational certification and, as an industry first, procured 100% Australian Carbon Credit Offset Units (ACCUs).

    BHP

    METALS & MINING
    BHP is an ASX listed, world-leading resources company and are among the world’s top producers of major commodities, including iron ore, metallurgical coal and copper. They also have substantial interests in oil, gas and energy coal. We assist BHP comply with energy and greenhouse gas legislation and advise facilities on matters related to energy use and production emissions.

    Intrepid

    TRAVEL
    Intrepid Travel is the largest small group adventure travel company in the world. Responsible business is at the heart of what Intrepid does. We assist Intrepid with their Human Rights reporting obligations as well as many aspects of its GHG accounting and reporting. This includes its Science-based target (SBT), making them the first tour operator with approved SBT. When Intrepid joined the Climate Active family in 2018, it became the largest global provider of carbon neutral certified travel adventures and the first company to voluntarily include all global operations in its certification.

    LION

    BEVERAGES
    Lion is a global beverage company with a portfolio of brands in beer, cider, wine, spirits, seltzers, and non-alcoholic drinks. Lion has four large and four small Australian breweries, and its brands include XXXX, GOLD, Tooheys New, and Little Creatures. We assisted Lion to become Australia’s first large-scale brewer to be certified as carbon neutral under Climate Active in 2020.

    QANTAS Airline

    AIRLINE
    Founded in the Queensland outback in 1920, Qantas has grown to be Australia’s largest domestic and international airline. We have worked with Qantas since 2016 on a variety of emissions reduction projects.

    ORICA

    METALS & MINING
    Orica is the world’s largest provider of commercial explosives and innovative blasting systems to the mining, quarrying, oil and gas and construction markets, a leading supplier of sodium cyanide for gold extraction, and a specialist provider of ground support services in mining and tunnelling. We assist Orica with their regulatory reporting such as NGERs and also carbon abatement projects.

    Fulton Hogan

    CONSTRUCTION
    Fulton Hogan has more than 80 years experience in the transport, water, energy, mining, civil construction and land development infrastructure in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific.
    We assist Fulton Hogan comply with NGER and NPI legislation for their extensive national operations. We work Fulton’s team to streamline reporting procedures to avoid duplicating data handling and transparently demonstrate data flows and aggregations.

    TOYOTA AUSTRALIA

    AUTOMOTIVE
    Toyota Australia was founded in 1963 and is one of Australia’s leading automotive companies. We have worked with Toyota since 2018 on many aspects of its GHG accounting, target setting, reduction initiatives, and reporting. We continue to inform strategic decisions around the contribution of the Australian business to the realisation of Toyota’s global Environmental Challenge 2050.

    H&H Group / Swisse Wellness

    CONSUMER GOODS
    H&H Group is a global health and nutrition company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Consumer brands include Biostime, Solid Gold Pet, Dodie, Good Goût, Aurelia Probiotic Skincare, CBII, and Swisse Wellness, a vitamin, supplement, and skincare brand, born in Australia in 1969. We have been working with Swisse and the group on many aspects of its GHG accounting and reporting, including the ongoing management of its Climate Active certification.

    AGL ENERGY

    ENERGY
    AGL is one of Australia’s leading energy companies offering electricity, gas, solar and renewable energy services, plus internet and mobile plans. We have assisted AGL for over five years on a variety of activities including audit and assurance projects.

    VIVA ENERGY

    ENERGY
    Viva Energy is a leading energy company which supplies about a quarter of Australia’s fuel requirements. Viva Energy make, import, blend and deliver fuels, lubricants, solvents and bitumen through extensive national and international supply chains. We assist Viva Energy with a range of energy and greenhouse gas related projects. These include annual NGER reporting, Safeguard baseline setting, advice on Emission Reduction Fund opportunities and emission trajectories.