The introduction of carbon reporting obligations under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) Act 2007 from July 1 are expected to have little impact on the broad Australian business community, service providers claim. However, many are reporting a substantial increase of awareness of climate change issues among corporates.
The NGER Act aims to create public disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and provide the data basis for developing Australia's emissions trading scheme.
Under the new act, companies that emit 125 kilotonnes or more of greenhouse gases or use 500 terajoules or more of energy each year must monitor their usage and submit a report for the 2008-2009 financial year.
Similarly, companies that control facilities emitting 25 kilotonnes or more of greenhouse gases, or produce 100 terajoules or more of energy per year, must do the same. The Act is expected to initially affect 700 Australian companies and 1700 individual facilities over the next two years, with the threshold scaling down to companies emitting 50 kilotonnes of greenhouse gases.
IDC associate research director Asia-Pacific services group, Philip Carter, claimed regulatory requirements were prompting Australian organisations to evaluate their datacentres. According to the analyst group, 67 per cent of 100 Australian companies surveyed earlier this year were doing a full assessment of their datacentre. Of this, 51 per cent were doing carbon footprint analysis because of regulatory concerns.
Several IT service companies said they had not seen an increase in business because of NGER but agreed the overall green trend is intensifying.
"To be quite honest, I would say [business] directly related to the reporting [Act] is almost negligible," Dimension Data chief technology officer, Gerard Florian, said. "Twelve months ago there was a significant gap between where the IT priorities sat and where the business priorities sat. The government reporting period has helped to close the gap. I still think in a lot of places IT executives are trying to work out where they sit in this and what they need to do."
EDS green practice leader for Asia-Pacific, Sundeep Khisty, claimed corporate requests for green assessments had increased by 30-40 per cent over the last six months.
"I'll be very interested to see what happens after July 1 when the first shot is fired," he said. "I would say there would be some anxious moments."
Data#3 managing director, John Grant, said listed companies were aware of the need to report on their carbon 'score' and claimed many larger organisations had been putting processes in place to address this. But he didn't see a massive surge in reporting from July 1.
"This [carbon reporting] will rollout over time and will affect smaller companies," he said. "The Act sets the agenda and starts the process going through legislation to get conformity to environmentally sustainable performance criteria.
"There's not a lot happening around the legislation or forms of reporting - it's just been announced and people need to come to terms with it. There's a lot of work to be done in organisations to get them into the position where they can measure their carbon footprint and report on it."