LARGE Australian organisations are becoming more aware of the business risks around climate change but have held back taking action in the current fog of legislative uncertainty, a new survey reveals.
A survey of 119 business managers found that as a result of an uncertain regulatory environment, businesses are refusing to kickstart concrete preparations for a carbon constrained future.
The survey, conducted by global business and risk consulting firm, Protiviti, found that 48 per cent of managers were unable to undertake long term business planning and 44 per cent had delayed implementing a comprehensive carbon risk management framework for their organisation.
According to Gary Anderson, managing director of Protiviti, the findings reveal won't really budge on a carbon future until the carbon legislation is signed, sealed and delivered.
“As long as the politicians keep wavering about carbon policy, it will be business as usual for Australian companies who will continue to put off making real changes to the way they operate. The unpredictability of the legislation is currently so extreme that many companies think their best option is just to wait and see,” said Anderson.
The extent of corporate inaction contrasts sharply with an overall rise in awareness about the business risks of climate change. A total of 44 per cent of respondents rated the risk posed by the CPRS to their business as either medium, high or extreme, up 10 per cent on the previous quarter.
“The silver lining is that companies are giving closer consideration to assessing the true extent of their carbon risk. Clearly there’s a desire to size to up the problem even if they may have no urgency to do anything about it,” said Anderson.
Law firms have sent their climate change experts to Copenhagen, meanwhile, to report back to clients on the events and discussions coming from the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Deacons sent Elisa de Wit, the firm's climate change practice leader, has joined seven of her colleagues from the soon-to-merge with Deacons firm Norton Rose. Freehills is sending Renee Garner, who blogs about her experiences from the conference.
Minter Ellison also sent its climate change expert Cheryl Edwardes, a special counsel and former WA Environment Minister, to Copenhagen for the talks. Edwardes has been feeding information back to her key clients. She will be following it up with post conference reports to clients in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to assist them with forward planning.