Over the past decade the BCA has consistently sought to weaken Australia’s already inadequate environment laws.
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has written to nine key companies, asking them to reconsider their membership of the Business Council of Australia (BCA) if they find the peak business lobby group’s climate and nature policies and public statements do not align with the companies’ own positions on climate and nature.
The letters have been sent to the Chief Executive Officers of ANZ, NAB, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, Coles, Medibank, Coca Cola Amatil and Qantas.
The letters ask CEOs to ‘assess the climate and nature policies and public statements of the BCA against your own’ and to engage with the BCA on areas of concern.
But, the letters conclude, ‘if you assess, as other companies have, that the BCA is unwilling to constructively engage with your organisation on climate and nature conservation policy, we ask that you conduct a transparent review of your BCA membership, with particular focus on the alignment of your climate and nature conservation policies’.
This month BCA chief Jennifer Westacott took aim at Australia’s national environment law, saying it was stymieing resources projects and risking jobs.
“These companies are committed to become more environmentally responsible, but the BCA is not representing their goals and ambitions,” said ACF’s CEO, Kelly O’Shanassy.
“Over the past decade the BCA has consistently sought to weaken Australia’s already inadequate environment laws. The BCA has advocated for the removal of federal oversight of environmental approvals, opposed federal protection for freshwater impacted by coal seam gas and coal mining and is working to limit the legal rights of Australians to appeal against environmentally harmful decisions.
“The BCA’s lobbying is happening while scientists warn a million animals and plant species across the planet now face extinction and the natural systems on which humans depend for food, water and a stable climate are rapidly declining.
“The business community has an important role in shaping a better Australia, where we preserve our natural world and natural capital through sustainable development, but the BCA appears to be out of touch with the aims of many of its member companies.”