There has never been a more important time for businesses to be able to demonstrate their investment in Corporate Social and Environmental policies. For many, these policies are scrutinized by prospective clients and even new employees before they choose to purchase or join.
The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act (NGER) was introduced in 2007 as a single national Australian framework to report on greenhouse gas emissions, energy production, and energy consumption.
The Australian statutory annual reporting requirement state that heavy fines can be handed down to companies who fail to lodge a report, or if underlying procedures fail an audit.
What it does not state is that this reporting has created much-needed business discipline to those seeking to track and reduce its energy use and emissions. Many businesses have been very successful in leveraging this information to demonstrate their commitment to the environment.
8 Tips to help you prepare and lodge your NGER reports:
- Check your reporting obligations. Your emissions may have changed due to corporate activity, while the reporting thresholds have come down. Reporting thresholds will fall further if future climate policy recommendations come into force.
- Check your organization structure. Joint ventures and contracted services create obligations. The parties need to decide who should have the responsibility to report.
- Prepare early and continuously. It is easier to keep a running record than collect the whole data set in one go. Easier still if your collection is platform-enabled.
- Make sure your data and reporting will stand up to scrutiny. The methodology you use is somewhat up to you. Just make sure (through expert advice if necessary), that it will stand up to an independent audit. You are at risk of significant fines if you are missing key information.
- Keep the Clean Energy Regulator informed. If you are running into trouble, better to let them know than bury your head in the sand. Whilst fines for non-compliance run well into six figures, the regulator has a pro-business stance.
- Keep your directors informed. They carry the can if the business stuffs up – and your career, in turn, could suffer.
- It’s the small things that catch you out. Poor asset registers and paper invoices will create a data and reporting nightmare. Better still, insist on electronic records (not scanned images) if you possibly can.
- One last thing, don’t leave it to the last minute. If you haven’t already started gathering data for this reporting year, now is a good time to start.
Automation can help you stay ahead of your NGERs reporting game.