Climate change resilience
We will strive to improve the emissions intensity of our businesses and improve their resilience to climate change.
As significant climate change becomes more likely, reducing the carbon emissions of our operations and understanding the specific risks created by climate change increasingly becomes important. In the last year, we have continued to improve the energy efficiency of our businesses and reduce our direct emissions where possible. Our risk process assesses a range of risks, including those presented as a result of climate change and the increase in severe weather events.
This year our reported total emissions were 4,866 thousand tonnes CO2e, 4.1 per cent lower than last year, despite the growth of our business. Our Scope 1 and 2 emissions intensity decreased by eight per cent from 71 to 65 tonnes CO2e per million dollars revenue, largely due to initiatives at Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers and Resources and Coles. The decrease in emissions at Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers is due to improvements with the abatement catalyst in its nitric acid plants. Innovations in the arrangement of the nitric acid plants have ensured no nitrous oxide slips around the catalyst bed. The reduction was also partly due to the second nitric acid plant being offline for three months, due to a mechanical failure in the plant.
Part of the reduction in our reported emissions this year is due to more accurate measurement. Under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act, a number of measurement approaches are available. This year, our Resources business adopted Method 2 for reporting fugitive emissions, which provides a more accurate calculation of its emissions. Coles' greenhouse gas emissions continued to reduce this year, despite expanding its store network. This was achieved by continuing energy efficiency initiatives and improving recycling rates for solid waste from 63 per cent to 65 per cent and significantly reducing its waste to landfill by 12.5 per cent or 11,830 tonnes.
Our emissions increased by 6.8 per cent at Target because, at the start of the financial year, trading hours were extended across a majority of stores, with many stores opening at 8:00am and remaining open until 10:00pm and some stores becoming 24 hour traders. This varied by state according to local trading and employment legislation.
Greenhouse gas emissions
4,866Tonnes CO2e: '000
Click here to read more about how we report carbon emissions.
This year, our energy use increased by four per cent, mainly driven by a 14.8 per cent increase in coal production in our Resources division. Coles' energy consumption remained stable despite its expanding store network due to energy efficiency initiatives. Coles has also improved its methods for capturing and reporting energy use data. Our divisions have a range of energy efficiency initiatives underway, such as those trialed at Coles’ ‘Supermarket of the future’ and LED lighting projects at Kmart and Blackwoods.
Our December 2013 Energy Efficiency Opportunities report is available here which outlines energy efficiency opportunities that were assessed and implemented during the year. Irrespective of the repeal of the reporting requirements under the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006, our businesses will continue to identify, investigate and implement energy efficiency opportunities in the ordinary course of their business.
The uncertainty surrounding carbon regulation during the year had an impact on mid-term project planning. Up to the end of this reporting period (30 June 2014) our businesses were preparing for the likely repeal of the carbon pricing mechanism under the Clean Energy Act to ensure that any savings that resulted from its repeal were realised and passed on to customers and to ensure that they are ready to participate in any future emissions reduction schemes.
Wesfarmers will continue to work constructively with the government of the day in relation to carbon regulation, understanding the importance of an effective, efficient and fair carbon regulation approach, to address climate change.
Click here for information on Wesfarmers’ approach to investing in coal assets.