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Regulatory action on greenwashing

Greenwashing is an enforcement priority for regulators in Australia, including ASIC and ACCC. 

In the recent case of ASIC v LGSS Pty Ltd [2024] FCA 587 (Active Super case), ASIC was successful against the trustee of Active Super. In this case Active Super was found to have made false or misleading representations that it did not invest in certain sectors or activities. The purpose of these representations was to promote the superannuation fund’s ESG credentials. The court found that Active Super did actually invest in those sectors either directly or indirectly through its investment funds. 

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Future Gas Strategy

The Future Gas Strategy was released on 9 May. Gas continues to be important to Australia through the energy transition with natural gas currently meeting 27% of our energy needs and nearly 20% of export income. The Minister for Resources, Madeleine King, highlights in the document that gas is a transition fuel that is required until renewable alternatives are viable. She also highlights the need for greenhouse gas emissions associated with gas to decline, abated or offset. In line with this the Strategy anticipates that demand for gas may increase until alternative energy sources are available but by 2050 demand is expected to be significantly reduced. 

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Recent environmental cases in Australia

Two recent cases involving environmental actions provide some guidance on how the law and Ministerial decision making can apply.  

Recently two judicial review proceedings were dismissed by the Federal Court. The case was brought by Environmental Justice Australia and has been called the Living Wonders case. The case sought to challenge the Federal Environment Minister’s failure to adequately consider climate change risk when assessing two coal mine expansions under s78 of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.