CEOs take note: you could be held personally liable, and face fines of up to $220,000 if your company’s IT systems don’t comply with greenhouse gas emissions reporting requirements.
Allens Arthur Robinson partner Niranjan Arasaratnam said that it is highly unusual for legislation to single out CEOs for personal liability, and many busy CEOs may still in the dark about the personal risks involved, despite the fact that companies are already required to measure their emissions.
“Also, normally management is fined a portion of the company’s penalty, but the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 whacks the CEO with the full amount,” he added.
Arasaratnam believes that because of rapidly approaching reporting deadline of 31 October 2009, companies needing to implement reporting systems may be placed in a vulnerable position against suppliers. He emphasised, however, that a “robust procurement and contracting process” should be followed when purchasing and implementing reporting systems, to minimise the risks of a failed implementation.
“Some organisations may be able to cope just using spreadsheets, [but] others will need to procure specialised IT reporting systems and monitoring systems, including sensors and metering devices. It is critical that these IT systems produce accurate and timely reports of the required data,” he said.
A report released recently by Allens advised companies purchasing new reporting systems to ensure their contracts allow for flexibility – in terms of changes to the systems, specifications and performance requirements – to accommodate inevitable changes to the reporting requirements. The report also stated that contracts should also address how different vendors will co-operate to achieve the desired reporting outcomes, rather than adopting the “point the finger” approach typical of vendors.
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