Climate change survey

Our survey collects information from our environment protection licensees to help us understand how to support them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change on their operations.

The survey results will inform changes to our regulatory approach that are sensible and effective. It supports Action 5(a) of our Climate Action Plan 2023–26.

Survey responses were due by 5pm, Friday 15 September 2023.

We are now following up with our licensees to submit their responses.

The survey is mandatory under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act (1997).

Licensees can access the survey via a unique link that will be emailed or mailed directly to the designated licence contact(s).

Before you start the survey, you could read through the indicative questions (PDF 229KB) you may be asked.

In January 2023, we released our climate change policy and action plan. These documents outline a comprehensive regulatory approach and set of actions to address the causes and consequences of climate change in NSW.

We are supporting and building on the NSW Government’s climate change policies and initiatives, helping industry to decarbonise and build greater preparedness and resilience to climate change risks. Our focus is on enabling and supporting best practice and building collaborative processes to ensure any actions we take are meaningful, feasible and cost-effective.

Survey objectives

Listen and understand

We will listen to our licensees to help us understand:

  • how progressed our licensees (and the sector more broadly) are at managing physical climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions at their facility
  • actions our licensees are already taking to understand their exposure to these risks, and to identify and quantify their emissions
  • actions our licensees are already taking to report on and manage these risks and emissions
  • existing support that licensees have found helpful, any current challenges, and/or further opportunities for better managing these risks and emissions.

Inform and support

Information we get from the survey will help us to:

  • build sector profiles
  • identify where we might need to fill gaps in our licensees’ climate change knowledge and expertise
  • understand the challenges our licensees are facing in managing climate risks and/or reducing emissions
  • develop effective and meaningful guidance and requirements to support our licensees as they develop Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Plans
  • further develop our regulatory approaches, to complement reporting and other obligations that already exist at State and Commonwealth level, where possible
  • identify where additional guidance and support is needed to help our licensees develop and implement effective risk management and emissions abatement opportunities.

We've also included supporting information within the survey to:

  • help raise our licensees’ general awareness about:
    • climate change matters
    • publicly available guidance, programs, initiatives, and funding that may help our licensees to manage their climate risks and reduce their emissions
  • ensure our licensees are aware of the EPA’s Climate Change Policy and Action Plan and the EPA’s evolving regulatory response.

Survey overview

The survey has 8 parts:

  1. Submitter details
  2. Operating details about the facility
  3. Climate hazards
    • Local climate hazards, management challenges and commitments
  4. Climate risk management
    • Identification and reporting of physical climate risks
    • Adaptation measures to manage climate risks
  5. Assessment of greenhouse gas emissions
    • Existing obligations to report emissions
    • How emissions are quantified
    • Identification of major emissions sources
    • Fuel usage, electricity usage, if emissions are not quantified
  6. Management of greenhouse gas emissions
    • Existing obligations and actions taken to manage emissions
    • Emissions reduction plans and targets
    • Implementation of emission reduction opportunities
  7. Additional Information (Optional)
    • Other information relevant to management of climate risks and/or emissions
  8. Sign off and submission
Your response was due by 5pm on Friday 15 September 2023. We are now following up with our licensees to submit their responses.

If you are an environment protection licence holder, your organisation will be emailed or mailed a link to the survey. It will be sent to the designated licence contact(s).

Filling out the survey should be relatively quick and straightforward. It should take you about one to two hours to complete. If your organisation has multiple facilities, and you have already completed the survey for one of your facilities, it could take you substantially less time.

You must complete the survey even if your facility has done only a little to manage climate change risks and/or reduce emissions so far. It is also important for us to know if your organisation/facility is subject to any corporate and/or government programs and you are already doing a lot. Some survey questions will be skipped over if you are already reporting under another mechanism. All this information will help us to ensure we don’t duplicate the support that’s already available or your regulatory obligations, where possible.

No. You may close the survey and continue at any time during the submission period. All you do is close the link, and resume the survey by re-opening the link.

Yes. Completing this survey is mandatory. Our licensees have different support needs. We cannot simply rely on a sample of licensee responses. The results of this survey will help us to ensure future actions we take are meaningful, feasible and cost-effective for our licensees.

If you do not complete the survey by the due date, we will be following up by various means, as needed. This could include issuing a notice to provide information and records, under section 191 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act).

Yes. The designated licence contact(s) in your organisation will be emailed or mailed a unique survey link for each of your licensed facilities. It is important that we collect facility-level information for each licence. This includes information about climate hazards, which are location-based, and any other information that is managed at a facility-level.

However, the survey has been designed so that organisations that manage some climate change matters at the organisation-level can follow a streamlined process for completing their responses. By using this approach, only the first survey will require a full response to all relevant organisational-level and facility-level questions. For subsequent surveys, you can skip the relevant organisational-level questions that were answered in your original survey response.

To ensure we receive accurate information from your organisation, it is important that the survey is filled out and signed-off by the right people.

The person(s) filling out the survey should be someone with a good understanding of how the facility is managing its climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions.

Before the survey is submitted to the EPA, it needs to be signed (within the survey platform). The person who signs-off on the survey needs to be the Director or proprietor of your organisation, or someone who has been given permission to sign off on the survey on behalf of the Director or proprietor. We will assume that any such permission has been obtained by a person signing on behalf of your organisation.

You will be asked for information about whether you assess climate risks, and whether you calculate your greenhouse gas/carbon emissions. To make it easier to complete this survey, you may want to have the following documents at hand for faster reference (if you have them):

  • Climate change adaptation plan
  • Climate change risk assessment (if no climate change adaptation plan)
  • Greenhouse gas emissions data or link to publicly available data (if not reporting under the National Greenhouse Emissions Reporting Scheme)
  • Greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan
  • Greenhouse gas management plan
  • Annual operations data in the last three years

You do not need to have prepared these documents to complete the survey, but we will give you an opportunity to provide them to the EPA in lieu of responding to some of the survey questions. That should save you time and will help us to develop fit-for-purpose guidance materials.

We may publish aggregated results for all licensees, and for certain sectors (or groups of sectors) to in order to report on the outcome of the survey or to inform future action on climate change. However, we will not publish responses from any specific licensee. We will also not publish aggregated results for sectors where there are a small number of licensees, to ensure individual licensee responses cannot be identified.

We will use the data to inform how we implement our Climate Change Action Plan, for example to inform the design of some specific programs.

The data we collect may be shared on a limited basis with relevant NSW and Commonwealth government agencies. For example, to help inform the development of climate change policy, programs and other initiatives (such as grants), and to better understand how our licensees are contributing to the State’s net zero targets and the goal of making NSW more resilient and adapted to a changing climate.

Any sharing of data will be in accordance with the Data Sharing (Government Sector) Act, 2015 (NSW), and on terms requiring compliance on the part of each agency with the relevant data sharing safeguards in Part 3 of that Act. Any shared data that contains confidential or commercially sensitive information will be managed in a way that complies with any relevant contractual or equitable obligations of the EPA as the data provider (section 13, Data Sharing (Government Sector) Act 2015) and with the requirements set out in Section 319 of the Protection of the Environment (Operations) Act 1997 (the POEO Act).

The survey platform we use is Qualtrics, which is ISO 27001, 27017 and 27018 certified for the secure handling and storage of data.

The data we collect through the survey will be stored securely in an electronic document and records management system, in compliance with our obligations under the State Records Act 1998 (NSW), and in accordance with the standards and codes of practice issued under that Act and the Department of Planning and Environment Records and Information Management Policy (which applies to the EPA).

No. This survey is not being issued for compliance purposes. We ask that you be as candid and detailed as you can. Please be aware, however, that it is an offence under section 167A of the POEO Act to provide information to the EPA that is false or misleading.

Yes. Once you complete and submit the survey, you will be given an option to download a PDF of your responses. Do not close the survey link until you have done this. Once you have closed the survey link you will not be able to retrieve your responses.

Question 2.2 asks you to enter your annual production or activity level that is most representative of your facility in the last three years (i.e. the amount of activity over a given 12 month period). This will assist us in calculating emissions intensities for your sector or activity.

An example of production level could be the amount of ROM coal if you are a coal mine, or liveweight produced if you are a piggery.  An example of an activity level could be tonnes of waste disposed to land if you are a landfill or the amount of chemicals stored if you are a fuel terminal.  These examples are to give you an indication about what we mean by production or activity level, and will depend on the primary activity listed in your licence. Units will depend on the fee based activity in your licence. 

An example on how to answer is below, when a piggery produces 200 tonnes of liveweight pigs in a year.

Example answer for question 2.2

Identification and quantification of greenhouse gas emissions – Commonwealth

Reducing emissions – Commonwealth

Reducing emissions – NSW Government

Government legislation, policy and strategy
Programs, grants and schemes available to business and industry

Programs, grants and schemes | NSW Climate and Energy Action

Courses, guides and support

Reducing climate risks - NSW Government

Local Government

Sustainable councils
Courses, guides and support


Australian Business Number


Australian Company Number

Action Plan

EPA’s Climate Change Action Plan 2023-26


Climate change adaptation. The adjustment to the actual or expected effects of climate change


Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Plans (under the EPA Climate Change Action Plan 2023–26)


Carbon Disclosure Project

Climate Hazard

A physical event (hydro-meteorological or oceanographic) that can harm human health, livelihoods, or natural resources.


Climate Disclosure Standards Board


Greenhouse gas emission estimates are expressed as 'carbon dioxide equivalent' (CO2-e) to account for the different global warming potentials of each gas compared to CO2.


Department of Planning and Environment (NSW)


Environment Protection Licence (under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997)

Facility Licensed premises to undertake a scheduled activity under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997

Fugitive emissions

Emissions that are not from a point source: e.g. from a coal seam or the surface of a landfill

Greenhouse Gas (GHG)

Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and some synthetic gases.


Global Reporting Initiative


International Sustainability Standards Board


NSW and Australian Regional Climate Modelling


National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (Commonwealth)


Office of Energy and Climate Change (NSW)


A company, local council, state-owned corporation or public authority


Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW)

Safeguard Facility

A facility that is captured by the Commonwealth Safeguard Mechanism, with scope 1 emissions of more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) per year

 SBTI Science Based Targets Initiative

Scope 1 emissions

Emissions released as a direct result of an activity or series of activities at a facility level. Sometimes called direct emissions

Scope 2 emissions

Emissions released from the indirect consumption of an energy commodity

Scope 3 emissions

Indirect emissions generated in the wider economy. They occur as a consequence of activities at a facility, but by sources not owned or controlled by the facility's business.


Task Force on Climate Change Related Financial Disclosure