The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said consumers and markets were developing sustainability expectations and businesses that failed to meet those demands could be overlooked.
NSW Government announced a policy of 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2030 which lobby groups said “left Queensland in the dust”.
Chief commercial officer Alex Zafiriadis said the expectations were already apparent and if businesses could not prove they were sustainably focused they were at risk of missing out.
The shift in expectations comes under the umbrella of the ESG movement (environment, sustainability and governance) which has been picked up by investment funds and used to pressure companies to change their policies.
Climate change is often the big issue and has forced investment and business away from coal and is now pressuring the Federal Government to cut greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2050.
Zafiriades said small business could not expect to avoid scrutiny on the issue.
“We know events like the 2032 Olympics will create billions in procurement opportunities for projects over the next 10 years and we’re expecting sustainable businesses which produce goods and services with a low or offset carbon footprint will be more competitive,” he said.
“Even at a more local level, consumers are increasingly aware of their carbon footprint with trends towards favouring businesses which offer sustainable options, right down to the every day purchases. ”
He said meeting the ESG expectations had an added benefit for companies because they would be more diversified, resilient and and competitive
Lobby group Solar Citizens said Queensland was set to host the world’s first climate positive Olympics in 2032 and yet it was losing the race to slashing emissions.
Energy strategist Stephanie Gray said it was time for Queensland to show leadership.
“Our research shows that climate action is good for Queensland jobs. An extra 22,000 jobs would be created across Queensland’s regions by 2030 if we turbocharged the rollout of renewable energy,” Gray said.
“Burning fossil fuels like coal is the biggest source of climate pollution but the State government has no plans to retire their six state-owned coal stations early, which means even achieving our existing emission reduction targets will be an uphill battle.
“The energy sector is by far the biggest polluter in Queensland, accounting for about 40% of emissions. We simply can’t be serious about climate action without planning for early coal retirements.”
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