[MEDIA RELEASE] Carbon Industry Code of Conduct One Step Closer to Fully Operational

bradkerin Media Release

Australia’s world-first Carbon Industry Code of Conduct now has a Code Review Panel, signalling a key milestone in the development of Australia’s growing emissions reduction and carbon sequestration industry, and protections for farmers, consumers and native title interests.

The Carbon Market Institute, which administers the voluntary Code, has appointed former Clean Energy Regulator (CER) board member Virginia Malley, and regulatory and finance experts Kim Lawrence and Ross Carter to be the independent arbitrators of Code compliance when it expands to become fully operational on July 1, 2021.

John Connor, CEO of the Carbon Market Institute, says: “The Code sets out best practice standards that signatories in the carbon industry must adhere to. This increases trust, accountability, transparency and consumer protection in the sector.

“Appointing an expert Code Review Panel to investigate complaints and breaches, enforce sanctions, and begin inquiries into compliance demonstrates the level of maturity and professionalisation that this sector has reached.”

The Code, which defines industry best practice for carbon project developers, currently has 11 foundation signatories and 11 further signatories, with more expected to join once it is formalised on July 1, 2021.

Based on publicly available data, current Signatories account for over a third of registered projects and almost half of the Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) issued to projects registered since the Code’s inception on 1 July 2018. State governments are using Code participation as investment criteria, and as a third-party assurance tool to underpin the integrity of their own sub-national carbon markets.

Chair of the Code Review Panel, Virginia Malley says: “Against a backdrop of vigorous carbon market growth, the Code’s role in fostering and sustaining best practice in carbon project development is increasingly important.

“The integrity of each carbon unit underpins the market as a whole and the Panel’s role is linked directly to the Code’s objectives of consumer protection, open interactions with landholders, market integrity and demonstrable international leadership.”

Ross Carter, Panel member, says: “Community trust and confidence are absolutely critical in any sphere, and this is very much the case in Australian carbon markets. That’s why I think the Code is a significant step for the industry to take.”

Kim Lawrence, Panel member, says: “As Australian consumers increasingly expect more action on carbon reduction, and corporates respond with stronger emissions reduction targets, confidence in the integrity and value of the Australian carbon market will be critical to its growth.”

The Panel, with combined skills and experience in consumer protection, regulation, law, finance, and the carbon industry will work to identify systemic issues of poor practice in the Australian carbon industry, with a particular view to promote consumer protection.

The sector is ten years old with 971 carbon farming projects around Australia registered with the CER. 94 million ACCUs have been issued, equivalent to offsetting Australia’s entire transport emissions, which is Australia’s third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, for one year.

Australia’s domestic carbon industry must at least triple by 2030 to help keep global warming to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

CMI and CER have developed a video case study series profiling carbon farmers and the economic, employment and environmental benefits of carbon farming, videos available here: long version or short version.

CODE REVIEW PANEL BIOS

Virginia Malley (Chair): Virginia has over 30 years’ experience in the design, execution and oversight of strategic
governance, risk management and compliance frameworks for financial and environmental institutions. A former Clean Energy Regulator board member from 2012 to 2020 and Macquarie Group employee from 1987 – 2012, she now serves on various boards and committees including the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, Perpetual Equity Investment Company Limited, Future Super Group and Pinnacle Fund Services Ltd. Virginia undertook the independent review of the Carbon Industry Code of Conduct in 2019-20, consulting with the major participants and stakeholders in carbon project development in Australia.

Ross Carter: Ross is a regulatory expert with over 30 years of experience in the design and implementation of policy and regulation. This includes over a decade working for the Federal government across climate change related policy, programs and regulation. He has held key leadership, governance and decision-making roles in significant independent regulatory institutions such as the NSW EPA and Clean Energy Regulator. His current roles include Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports and the Chair of Dams Safety NSW.

Kim Lawrence: Kim has wide ranging commercial experience encompassing the energy, mining, commodities markets and banking and finance sectors. She is a member of ARENA’s Advisory Panel, a non-executive director of Conservation International Australia and has previously held senior finance and investment roles at the CEFC, Low Carbon Australia and in Macquarie Group’s American commodities markets business. She also has strong legal and compliance experience in the finance sector including Legal Counsel of the Commonwealth Government
Corporation.

The Carbon Market Institute is the independent industry association for business leading the transition to net zero emissions. To interview CEO John Connor contact Clare Price 0490 252 743 clare.price@carbonmarketinstitute.org