Predictions and hopes for 2021

Rapidly approaching the end of the year, we are turning our heads to what’s coming next: the year 2021 and whatever surprises it may have in store for us. We have asked some of our team members to provide insights into their hopes and predictions for the sustainability space in 2021.

Nina Haysler – Manager, Human Rights & Strategy

  • Through Commonwealth Modern Slavery Statements, increased stakeholder scrutiny on companies will create pressure to take a “beyond compliance” approach. Further, “best practice” approaches will be looking at going beyond Supplier Self-Assessment Questionnaires.  The apparent lack of coverage on systems and actions to address Modern Slavery, and broader human rights, in Companies’ own operations will hopefully be addressed in 2021.

Sue Lacey – Principal, Climate Change & Energy

  • Given the major disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations in 2021 will increasingly use scenario thinking to stress-test strategies and identify opportunities to make them more resilient to future uncertainties (including climate change).    
  • In 2021 the hope is that political will to use science to inform policy will extend beyond health, giving scientific knowledge a greater voice in how governments respond to increasingly complex and interconnected environmental issues.

Ross Tunmer – Senior Manager, Energy

  • It is an exciting time to be in the energy space. COVID-19 has brought significant disruption to us all, including energy markets. However, there are some potential silver linings for 2021:
    • Governments at both Federal and State level will likely roll out incentive programs to improve energy efficiency or energy productivity as part of wider economic stimulus packages. Businesses should watch this space!
    • As we have already seen throughout the year, future energy prices have plummeted, so it is a good time to renegotiate your energy contracts.
    • Upcoming regulatory changes later in 2021, such as the Wholesale Demand Response Mechanism (WDRM), will further incentivise organisations to develop demand-side energy management practices.
    • I hope we continue to see innovation progressing Australia’s energy transition towards more renewable energy, including increasing large-scale battery uptake and a few hydrogen mega-projects.

Amélie Uhrig – Consultant, Environment & Climate Change

  • For 2021 I hope that the recommendations from the (long due) independent review of the EPBC (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation) Act will result in the major reforms necessary to address the alarming rate of biodiversity loss in Australia, including the development of legally enforceable national environmental standards and the establishment of an independent environmental regulator that monitors and enforce compliance with the Act.
  • While the biodiversity credit markets in Australia are still sparse and fragmented, in 2021 I envision there to be a flux of interest in developing a voluntary market which would provide an opportunity for businesses to minimise their impacts and even positively impact habitat loss and biodiversity. I also anticipate an increased appetite by businesses to embed natural capital approaches and strategies in their business decision making.