WA business to benefit from Australia becoming a climate leader

CCIWA Chief Economist

Aaron Morey

The majority of WA businesses are prepared to pay more for energy to reduce their emissions, and have highlighted the importance of Australia having strong climate ambitions and a clear strategy for achieving them. These are the key findings from extensive engagement with CCIWA members, with hundreds of businesses of all sizes taking part in workshops and surveys on climate change and energy ahead of COP26.

For the first time in Australia, the results reveal the willingness of businesses to pay for lower carbon emissions. More than two in three (68%) businesses would be prepared to pay higher energy bills in order to see lower emissions.

On average, WA businesses indicated they would be willing to pay a 12% premium for their energy to reduce emissions, a figure which was consistent among metro and regional businesses. It was higher among finance (21%), health care (19%) and agriculture businesses (15%).

Businesses of all sizes are also looking for a clear commitment and credible pathway on achieving net zero by 2050. Three quarters (72.8%) of WA businesses support a hard 2050 target, while more than half (53.7%) indicate support for a 2040 target. Without a commitment, WA businesses say they would struggle to attract and secure investment, or meet the expectations of customers and staff, risking significant economic and reputational damage.

WA businesses have also highlighted the importance of a credible carbon offsets market. This is particularly important for an industrial economy like WA, which will rely more heavily on carbon offsets to achieve net zero targets.

Critically, lower emissions cannot come at the expense of reliability. Asked to nominate the most important feature of their energy supply, 53% nominated reliability, ahead of cost (36.9%) and reduced emissions (9.2%).

A significant barrier is uncertainty about how best to get there. More businesses expressed being unsure about the adequacy of measures like an emissions trading scheme (45%), emissions reduction fund (44%), or a carbon tariff (38%), than were ‘for’ or ‘against’ them. The clearest view was on Government financial support for low emissions technology, which 46% of businesses viewed as inadequate.

CCIWA will continue to work with its membership to identify the most suitable policy settings at both a federal and state level. The results clarify that it is critical for Federal and State Governments to partner with key business groups to lift preparedness and support transition. CCIWA looks forward to discussing these issues at the upcoming ‘Conversations on Climate Change’ breakfast with WA’s Minister for Climate Action, Hon. Amber-Jade Sanderson.

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