Commonwealth Bank (CBA) recently executed a carbon offset trade on behalf of superannuation-backed fund manager ISPT, surrendering 97,000 Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) in a transaction that sets ISPT on the path to be carbon positive by 2025. This is the first time CBA has surrendered ACCUs on behalf of a client.

One ACCU represents one metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent that is either stored or avoided by a project registered with the federal government’s Clean Energy Regulator. To offset their carbon footprint, institutions purchase ACCUs on the open market and then surrender them to the regulator.

ISPT has chosen carbon offsets to take immediate action on climate change as part of their broader carbon neutral pathway strategy for the second-year in a row, pending certification. The superannuation backed fund manager used ACCUs in 2020 to achieve carbon neutral certification for the base building operations of ISPT’s owned and operated properties and their corporate offices. Certification was provided by Climate Active, the Australian government’s carbon neutral certification scheme. 

ISPT’s use of the carbon market to reach its transition goals represents one part of a broader plan to make its operations sustainable and carbon neutral. ISPT’s carbon neutral pathway is focused on managing climate risks in its portfolio and operations through improving the energy efficiency of its buildings, rapidly increasing onsite renewable energy generation, securing off-site renewable energy through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), and then by offsetting the remainder of emissions through the surrender of ACCUs.

Alicia Maynard, ISPT’s General Manager, Sustainability & Technical Services, said the company had partnered with CBA because of the bank’s ability to source a large volume of high-quality offsets and surrender them on behalf of ISPT.

“At ISPT, we recognise our responsibility to anticipate and manage the impacts of climate change as part of our responsible investment approach. This is why we have taken action now, for a second year in a row, to achieve carbon neutrality across 100 per cent of our owned and operated properties where we have full operational control, and in doing so, will support positive environmental, social and economic outcomes for Australians,” she said.

Alex Toone, Managing Director of Commodities and Trade at CBA, said the bank is continuing to invest in its already robust carbon market capabilities. “Helping institutions, businesses and individuals measure, reduce and offset their carbon footprints and meet their net zero ambitions is a key priority for CBA. As the nation’s biggest bank, we can play a leading role in accelerating the growth of a liquid and transparent carbon market in Australia, and are investing accordingly so we can support more carbon offset transactions for our clients in the months ahead.”

The carbon offsets surrendered on behalf of ISPT were generated by three projects: the Paroo River North Environmental Project, the Central Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Project and the Tallering Station Human Induced Regeneration Project. Two of these are indigenous carbon farming projects.