Monday, 15 June 2009

Breaking news

Complaint lodged with ACCC over ‘misleading’ corporate carbon claims

The Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian Climate Justice Program have asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to investigate whether six companies have engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct when making public statements on climate change policy.

The complaint (see below) sets out 14 instances in which six corporations have made statements about the impacts of the Government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

The complaint alleges these statements are exaggerated and contradictory when compared with the companies’ disclosures to shareholders and independent analysis.

The six companies named in the complaint are Rio Tinto, Woodside, Xstrata, Boral, Caltex and BlueScope Steel.

“We believe there is a prima facie case for investigating possible breaches of the Trade Practices Act,” said ACF executive director Don Henry.

“Some of Australia’s biggest corporate polluters appear to be presenting the worst case to government and the public, in an effort to gain excessive free permits, while presenting the best case to investors, in order to keep their share prices up.

“We are asking the ACCC to investigate whether our politicians, policymakers and the public have been deceived by the likes of Rio Tinto, Woodside and Xstrata.

Recent analysis by RiskMetrics shows corporate welfare has blown out to $16.4 billion under the most recent version of the emissions trading legislation.

“It is reprehensible for corporations to be saying one thing to politicians and the public and something completely different to their shareholders,” Mr Henry said.

“Big polluters shouldn’t get a free ride under the emissions trading scheme just because they’ve got the loudest voices.

“ACF urges business to be part of the solution to climate change, not just part of the problem.

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