ClearView Wealth Limited (ClearView), an ASX-listed Australian financial services group specialising in advised life insurance, superannuation and wealth management is focusing on tackling climate change by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of its operations.
We caught up with Managing Director Simon Swanson and ESG Coordinator Winnie Tsang to learn about ClearView’s climate journey, and the process of becoming a carbon neutral organisation for its business operations in FY22.
Reducing emissions in its business operations is important for ClearView’s people and shareholders.
Simon explains that climate change has had a significant impact on the life insurance industry, listing extreme heat, severe weather events, air pollution, infectious diseases, and water and food security as key issues.
“Climate change is top of mind for our industry, and ClearView’s customers, people and shareholders are all interested in our perspective on it, and what we’re doing about it,” explains Simon.
“As part of ClearView’s strategic focus on Corporate Social Responsibility, we obtained our Climate Active certification for FY21, which recognised us as a Certified Carbon Neutral Organisation for our business operations. And we’re proud to announce that we’ve recently obtained our second Climate Active certification for our business operations in FY22, meaning that we can maintain our carbon neutral status.”
Climate Active is an Australian Government-backed program that provides certification to organisations that have achieved carbon neutrality through the process of measuring, reducing and then offsetting carbon emissions.
Achieving Climate Active carbon neutral certification with the support of Pathzero
ClearView engaged Pathzero to support the submission for its second Climate Active certification, for FY22. Pathzero helped ClearView to establish its emissions boundary, verify and validate the boundary, and guided it on its emissions reduction initiatives – all prerequisites to achieving Climate Active certification.
Pathzero also helped ClearView to explore whether there was a need to recalculate its base year for its second-year submission. This helped ClearView to develop a deeper understanding of the Climate Active process and the GHG Protocol’s Corporate Standard and what may be expected in the future.
“It’s been great to work with Pathzero on our second Climate Active certification for our business operations. They have a wealth of knowledge about the market and the processes we needed to engage with,” explains Winnie.
“We were impressed with the Pathzero Clarity platform, which allowed us to move away from using spreadsheets and provided a clear process for measuring and reducing our emissions and selecting carbon offsets.”
Winnie was also impressed with Pathzero’s communication.
“Measuring and reducing our organisation’s emissions is complex, and the guidance from Sustainability Consultant Andrew Churchill and his team really helped us to understand this area in detail and feel confident about the actions we were taking.”
Simon agrees, adding that the Pathzero team worked in close collaboration with ClearView.
“This collaboration combined nicely with the platform itself,” says Simon. “When people and technology work together, you get a great outcome.”
Focusing on reducing scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions
The Pathzero platform provides a library of emissions reduction initiatives for organisations, and ClearView selected several of these for its Climate Active application.
The initiatives tackle all three scopes of a company’s greenhouse gas emissions as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This includes:
- scope 1 emissions – direct emissions from owned or controlled sources
- scope 2 emissions – indirect emissions from purchased electricity
- scope 3 emissions – indirect emissions in the company’s value chain.
For scope 1, ClearView will switch 100% of its fleet to hybrid models by 2030, and for scope 2 it will optimise its office layout to reduce electricity consumption.
Simon explains, “From an office perspective, the higher your greenhouse gas emissions are, the more you make a negative contribution to climate change. We’re now thinking about how to organise the office and how to make it more efficient.”
Like many professional services organisations, scope 3 reflects the largest proportion of ClearView’s greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce emissions, ClearView will implement a sustainability component to their procurement process to identify and prioritise potential suppliers who are actively addressing their contribution towards climate change.
“Being in the services industry, climate change is an important consideration when it comes to our supply chain as a large proportion of our emissions will be from the companies that we engage with,” explains Winnie.
“We’ll be reviewing those suppliers and vendors and educating our staff so that they can make more conscious choices on the suppliers they engage with.”
Building internal awareness and bringing people along on the journey
A big focus for ClearView has been to build internal awareness and educate staff on the impact of climate change, and the actions that staff can take to help reduce emissions.
“Implementing our climate strategy isn’t a simple process of saying what we’re doing about it. It’s also about bringing people along on the journey and helping them to understand why we’re doing it,” explains Simon.
Winnie notes, “We’ve been building internal awareness about climate change and Corporate Social Responsibility. ClearView launched a committee in 2021 and there are also pockets of the company who actively want to get involved, which is very positive.”
“Our people are excited about the action we’re taking on climate change. They like to see the organisation doing good things,” adds Simon.
Selecting carbon offsets
To become carbon neutral, businesses and organisations calculate the greenhouse gas emissions generated by their activity, such as electricity use and travel. Once organisations have reduced their emissions as much as possible by changing the way they operate, any remaining emissions can then be offset by purchasing carbon offsets.
According to Climate Active’s definition, “Carbon offset units are generated from activities that prevent, reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere. When the offsets purchased by an organisation equal the emissions produced, they are carbon neutral.”
Simon explains, “Climate change is a global issue and ClearView has purchased carbon offsets in Australia, as well as neighbouring countries such as New Caledonia, Indonesia and Sumatra.”
What's next for ClearView?
Winnie explains that ClearView will be looking into its reduction strategy to understand how it can further reduce its emissions.
“We’ll be looking into our reduction strategy in more detail, and eventually, we’d like to commit to achieving net zero emissions of our business operations.”
Simon adds, “I think the perfect world is actually where you don't have to buy offsets. If we can stop creating emissions, we won't have to buy offsets. So, the harder you drive your emissions down, the better the outcome. And it keeps the cost of the offsets down so other companies can buy them too.”
ClearView Wealth Limited is an ASX-listed Australian financial services group. For over a decade it has served customers with a clear vision: to support Australians to achieve their financial and wellbeing goals while being a positive force for its staff, community and the environment.
The Pathzero Solution
Pathzero unites private market participants including asset owners, asset managers and portfolio companies on a common platform enabling the disclosure of carbon emissions and the actions being taken to address them.