To define policy engagement, InfluenceMap relies on the 2013 Guide for Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy issued by the secretariat of the UNFCCC and the UNEP under the UN's Caring for Climate collaboration of the UN Global Compact. This document defines a list of corporate activities that constitute corporate climate engagement, covering direct and indirect tactics. These range from social media; public relations; sponsoring research; direct contact with regulators and elected officials; funding of campaigns and political parties; and participation in policy advisory committees.
Since this assessment focuses on Australian policy, it is instructive to note the relative levels of transparency between federal and state government regarding consultation submissions by corporate entities affects InfluenceMap’s ability to track and assess evidence. As such, coverage on specific policies may vary depending on the transparency of the consultation process for individual policies.
This analysis and scoring are focused on an organization's comments, interactions, and influence on policy and legislation. It does not consider internal strategy (including emissions targets), activities, and performance of a company on climate change related issues.
InfluenceMap's scoring process is policy neutral. It does not assess the quality of governmental policy but rather the positions of companies and industry groups relative to this policy. This is achieved by using the statements and ambitions of government-mandated bodies tasked to propose or implement sustainable finance policy as the benchmarks against which corporate and industry association policy positions are scored.
For this analysis, InfluenceMap used the recommendations of the Climate Change Authority, found here, to create policy-specific benchmarks for federal climate and energy-related policies. For policies created by State governments, InfluenceMap used the original statements of ambition by either the state government or state Environmental Protection Authority where relevant. Non-policy specific statements, such as top-line statements about net zero emissions by 2050 or comments on the energy mix, are scored using benchmarks devised from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Special Report on 1.5C, released October 2018. These benchmarks only apply to statements made after 2018.
Scored evidence is coded by InfluenceMap as: ‘strongly supporting’, ‘supporting’, ‘no position/mixed position’, ‘not supporting/supporting with exceptions’, or ‘opposing’ with reference to the benchmarks explained above. These categories correspond to a numerical five-point scale between +2 and -2, where +2 indicates strong support and -2 indicates opposition.
InfluenceMap searches for new evidence on each entity on a weekly basis. When new evidence is found, it is added to the entity's profile. InfluenceMap uses a weighting system when calculating the entities' Organization and Total Scores, which weights the most recent evidence pieces more heavily, with older evidence pieces gradually weighted out of the entity's score. InfluenceMap retains older pieces in the system, however, for the historical record. The earliest piece of evidence in this data, for example, set comes from 2013 in relation to the 2011 Clean Energy Act. This evidence piece, however, has no impact on the entity's Organization Score as it comes from 2013.
When scoring the lobbying of a company, InfluenceMap looks for evidence of lobbying in every region in which said company operates. For example, the evidence InfluenceMap has collected and scored for BP, a company that operates globally comes from lobbying in regions including the US, the EU, Australia, Canada, the UK etc. As such, the organization scores and engagement intensities calculated for each of the entities covered in this research include lobbying in regions outside of Australia. The focus of this platform specifically is Australia, and in order to highlight Australian climate lobbying specifically, the policy-focused tools in this platform only draw evidence relevant to Australian climate policy. However, evidence from regions outside of Australia is included in individual company profiles and scores.
The initial aim of this research was to cover the lobbying of the entities most relevant to climate change in Australia and included a universe of 50 companies and 20 industry associations. These were selected by taking the 100 largest emitters of carbon dioxide (based on Scope 1 and 2 emissions from 2017-2018) and the 100 largest companies by revenue (in $ from 2017-2018). These values were normalised by linearly mapping each onto a 0-100 scale and then combined to create an overall ‘importance score’, weighting emissions. The final list was then constructed by starting with the 10 Australian Carbon Majors as identified by research by the University of New South Wales which incorporates the largest companies global scope 3 emissions. To this list, the highest ‘importance’ scoring companies (excluding subsidiaries, state-owned companies, and joint ventures) were chosen for the research.
This list will be progressively expanded to offer an increasingly complete analysis of Corporate Australia. Australia-based companies are added to InfluenceMap’s total universe of over 500 companies based on a number of factors, including the Forbes 2000 and S&P 100 company rankings, the companies selected for engagement by the Climate Action 100+ initiative, and other instances of external demand for information on particular companies.
InfluenceMap originally analysed how 14 individual policies were lobbied on by Corporate Australia as case studies.
The 14 policies selected represented the 10 policies with the highest level of public engagement from companies and industry associations according to InfluenceMap’s database (5 selected from federal level and 5 selected from state level). The remaining 4 policies were deemed to be either historically or currently very significant. These included the Independent MP Zali Steggall’s 2020 Climate Change Bill, the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act (which was open to consultation on the inclusion of a ‘climate trigger’ at the time of doing this research), the use of Kyoto credits to meet Australia’s NDC, and the 2011 Clean Energy Act as a policy of historical significance.
Since then, InfluenceMap has continued to add critical climate policies as they develop. This has included for example, the Safeguard Mechanism, the National EV Strategy and the 2022 Climate Change Bill.