14 November 2012 — ASX200 companies are increasingly comfortable with carbon pricing, with property companies and banks the strongest carbon performers in the index overall, according to a new report issued by the Carbon Disclosure Project.

The report also identifies five ASX200 climate change leaders recognised on both the CDP 2012 ASX200 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index and the CDP 2012 ASX200 Carbon Performance Leadership Index.

They were Commonwealth Property Office Fund, CFS Retail Property Trust, Mirvac Group, National Australia Bank and Insurance Australia Group. Qantas Airways and Commonwealth Property Office Fund were the equal highest scoring companies on the CDP 2012 ASX200 CDLI.

  • Photo: Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne, a CFS Retail Property Trust property

The report said the number of ASX200 responding companies identifying risks from carbon pricing fell 12 per cent on last year, and only 3 per cent of responding companies rated risks associated with carbon pricing as high.

The Australia and New Zealand Climate Change Report 2012, written by Deloitte Australia, analyses climate change disclosures made by ASX200 companies, including 71 ASX100 companies and NZX50 companies to investors through CDP.

Deloitte Australia report writer Brad Pollock said most businesses were handling the introduction of carbon pricing with minimal upheaval.

“Companies have continued to take action on the implementation of energy efficiency opportunities at an even greater rate and scale than 2011,” he said.

However, of concern, Mr Pollock said, was the continuing low number of ASX200 companies in high emitting sectors with emission reduction targets.

“The focus on implementation of energy efficiency initiatives, at times in the absence of clear corporate emission reduction targets, indicates a less than strategic approach by many companies, and may be contributing to delayed action and higher than necessary costs to businesses in the medium to longer term.”

While property companies and banks are the strongest carbon performers in the ASX200 overall, ASX200 airlines and retailers made significant improvements in the quality of their CDP climate change disclosures this year.

Overall companies showed some signs of progress in climate change disclosure this year, with the average carbon disclosure score for ASX200 companies having increased by three points this year, and an increase in the minimum disclosure score required for inclusion on the ASX200 CDLI (86, a significant increase on the 2011 score requirement of 74 for the previously combined ASX200 and NZX50 CDLI).
CPA fund manager Charles Moore said the result from CDP once again confirmed the company was “a leader in our approach to responsible property investment”.

“For us, it’s not about big budget capital expenditure projects, it is about managing our assets more efficiently. Being included in the CPLI is a reflection of the success of our RPI program over the past five years.

“Since 2007, our office buildings have become 30.4 per cent more energy efficient, 21.3 per cent more water efficient and have 30.2 per cent lower carbon emissions per square metre.”

Meanwhile CFS Retail Property Fund manager Michael Gorman said being included in the CPLI was a reflection of the real efficiencies gained in assets over the past four years.

He said since 2008, the company’s shopping centres had become 8.6 per cent more energy efficient, 29.4 per cent more water efficient and have 15.1 per cent lower carbon emissions per square metre.