BUSINESS NEWS: Aussie house prices fall at fastest rate since GFC and 1980s crash

Australian house prices are falling at the fastest rate since the global financial crisis of 2008, according to analysis from CoreLogic. House prices fell by 1.3 per cent in July, the third consecutive month that prices have fallen. The largest falls were in Sydney (down 2.2 per cent) and Melbourne (down 1.5 per cent).

CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said: “Although the housing market is only three months into a decline… the rate of decline is comparable with the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, and the sharp downswing of the early 1980s.”

Launch of FiscalNote ESG Solutions as green finance comes under scrutiny 

FiscalNote, an AI-driven enterprise SaaS company that delivers legal and regulatory data and insights, has launched its carbon and ESG management software solution in Australia with Frank Meehan at the helm as managing director. Mr Meehan previously co-founded SparkLabs Cultiv8, Equilibrium AI, and SparkLabs Global Ventures.

This comes after the ACCC’s recent crackdown on false “clean and green” investment claims, as organisations face increased internal and external pressure to meet ESG requirements beyond Scope 1 carbon commitments. According to PwC, almost two-thirds of Australian companies have not published a detailed ESG strategy. 

Mr Meehan said that climate investments are under scrutiny and this platform aims to help organisations combat greenwashing. Following the rapid growth of green finance, ASIC recently outlined its expectations for the sector which topped $33.4 billion in Australia and New Zealand last year.

“Decarbonisation is a massive priority in the Australian private sector,” Mr Meehan said. “Over the past decade, companies have bought carbon credits at a rising cost to hit carbon neutral targets, but that kind of greenwashing approach isn’t going to fly in the next couple of years. To keep moving in the right direction, as scrutiny on greenwashing claims amplifies, companies need the right tools on hand to manage an incredibly complicated process that moves beyond Scope 1 Carbon Emissions.” 

Peak business and finance bodies call for sustainability-related disclosure

Twenty of Australia’s peak business and finance bodies are calling for sustainability reporting, including action on climate risk, through a new reporting regime that aims to set a global baseline. 

The group represents more than 400 companies, approximately 300 investors with US$33 trillion (A$47.20 trillion) assets under management, and 500,000 business and finance professionals. 

The group which includes Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors and the Investor Group on Climate Change, has welcomed the International Sustainability Standards Board draft sustainability standards, calling for clear, transparent, comprehensive and comparable disclosure of sustainability-related information as the foundation of a well-functioning global financial system.

Lenovo partners with Maersk, amid high demand for biofuels for shipping

Global consumer electronics company Lenovo has partnered with Maersk ECO Delivery solutions to reduce its carbon footprint in transportation for ocean freight shipments of its PC, smart devices, and infrastructure products from China to the Asia Pacific and Europe. 

Demand for Maersk ECO Delivery has grown more than 170 per cent year-on-year since 2019. According to the International Energy Agency, global demand for biofuels is set to grow by 28 per cent, or 41 billion litres, by 2026. 

Using biofuels for shipping reduces carbon dioxide emissions by over 80 per cent compared to fossil-fuel based fuels. This comes as part of the company’s goal to remove one million tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain by 2025. 

Caroline Wu, managing director of Maersk Greater China, said: “We are happy to provide sustainable ocean solutions for Lenovo to further decarbonise their supply chain. Lenovo has become the first technology industry exporter in China to opt for Maersk’s low emission ECO Delivery product, and we expect the growth in sales to continue in the coming years, as customers seek to execute on strengthened sustainability targets.” 

Australian battery recycler Envirostream executes agreement with Battery World for 100 more collection sites nationally

Lithium Australia subsidiary Envirostream has executed a battery recycling services agreement with Battery World Australia to provide battery recycling services for more than 110 sites across Australia, following a trial in South-East Queensland. This brings Envirostream’s collection sites to more than 800 nationally.

Lithium Australia chief financial officer Stuart Tarrant said: “This agreement is further validation of Envirostream’s credentials as the leader in the Australian battery recycling industry. The convenient drop-off points at Battery World stores seek to motivate Battery World customers to sustainably dispose of their spent batteries, lowering volumes sent into landfill. This agreement compliments those partners already signed, with other household names including Bunnings Warehouse and Officeworks.”

Battery World general manager Johnny Kennedy said: “As an Australian owned and operated company, Envirostream aligns perfectly to our commitment of doing our part to help our planet and mission to support local businesses. Our partnership with Envirostream will provide an easy solution for our customers to recycle their end-of-life batteries.”

Professor Suresh Thennadil

Northern Territory to receive first hydrogen-fueled generator 

In a first for the Northern Territory, Charles Darwin University (CDU) will establish a pilot hydrogen generator, storage, and fuel-cell system in Darwin. Thanks to funding from the federal government, the generator will be operated by CDU’s Energy and Resources Institute (ERI) for industry partners, students, and researchers to further develop and commercialise hydrogen as an energy source. 

ERI director Professor Suresh Thennadil said the Hydrogen Energy Storage System is part of NT’s green hydrogen future.

“There is still a lot of work to do for the NT to become a hydrogen producer for a global energy market that is investing heavily in alternative fuels,” Professor Thennadil said.

“ERI, with its REMHART grid systems hub, is perfectly placed to help drive this renewable energy industry in the NT by bringing dedicated researchers and industry together to work through the challenges.”

Climate damage costing Queensland farmers

Deloitte has measured the cost of recent Queensland flood events to a staggering $7.7 billion.

Farmers for Climate Action chief executive officer Dr Fiona Davis said climate change is costing both farmers and all Australians.

“Deloitte has found some 500,000 Australians were hurt by this latest climate-driven flood and it cost the state $7.7 billion. More than 2250 farmers sustained climate damage in this flood and their losses total more than $250 million.

“The farmers who grow our food can’t just keep taking repeat climate damage every year because they eventually run out of savings. We need deep emissions reductions this decade to protect farmers and allow them to continue to feed Australia and the world.”

Jefa Greenaway
Jefa Grenaway

Indigenous design thinking gains traction

In more evidence that the world of Indigenous design thinking is gaining traction, architect Jefa Greenaway is set to speak at the Property Council of Australia’s Designing with Country event on Friday 26 August in Sydney. 

He will speak alongside Warren & Mahoney principal Whare Timu, LCI Melbourne’s executive manager Claire Beale, and DLG Shape general manager Michael Manikas. Mr Greenaway recently spoke at The Fifth Estate’s Urban Greening event in Sydney, to great success.

GRESB’s new SFDR Reporting Solution now available for real estate managers

ESG data provider GRESB has launched an SFDR Reporting Solution for real estate, designed to help managers with Article 8 or Article 9 funds report on product- and entity-level ESG practices. 

The SFDR Reporting Solution includes all requisite information for Principal Adverse Impact Statements, which are a core requirement under SFDR. It highlights:

  • overall product characteristics and environmental impacts, as defined by SFDR
  • energy consumption, estimated GHG emissions, water usage and waste generation 
  • aggregated performance on each of the relevant Principal Adverse Impact Indicators

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