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    Supply chain sustainability: 5 ways to exert your influence Supply chain sustainability: 5 ways to exert your influence

    Supply chain sustainability: 5 ways to exert your influence

Supply chain sustainability: 5 ways to exert your influence

There are strong business benefits to be gained by understanding and managing the sustainability issues that are significant in an organisation or industry’s supply chain. Traditional procurement practices focus on price, product quality and on-time delivery – criteria that impact directly on the bottom line. However, through its various supply chain practices, an organisation can positively or negatively affect the local economy, the environment and people – via its labour practices, level of product responsibility and policies regarding human rights and society in general. Some of the advantages of embedding sustainability considerations into procurement processes include: Reducing risks (reputation, legal, environment, safety, continuity of supply, traceability and quality) Achieving operational efficiencies and cost savings Building mutually beneficial supply chain relationships Demonstrating corporate social responsibility Achieving and retaining certification to  ISO14001:2015; ISO9001:2015 and ISO45001 The standard for Environmental Management Systems, ISO14001:2015, requires organisations to “determine environmental requirement(s) for the procurement of products and […]

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    Are your management system documents out of control? Are your management system documents out of control?

    Are your management system documents out of control?

Are your management system documents out of control?

At last there’s a 21st C solution! Long gone are the “typing pool” days of the 70’s and 80’s. The 90’s heralded the age of the “E document”, predominantly Microsoft Word and Excel. There was a shift away from the massive archives of printed materials that waste paper and create a fire hazard. But this leap forward came with a downside. We all know that the enhanced ability to create, modify and transmit documents quickly has encouraged excessive documentation coupled with the ongoing challenge of controlling and keeping them up to date. What typically happens? People access an earlier, superseded version Records are inadvertently deleted or lost There are too many forms to fill in and registers to update People have difficultly finding a particular document People print documents or copy the “controlled” version onto their desktop Any of this sound familiar? This year, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), […]

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    Envisioning a clean water future Envisioning a clean water future

    Envisioning a clean water future

  • Envisioning a clean water future Envisioning a clean water future

    Envisioning a clean water future

Envisioning a clean water future

  There have been large improvements in the quality of the world’s water resources over the last 25 years. Since 1990, 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation. The UN estimate that 91% of the global population uses an improved drinking water source, compared to 76% in 1990.1 That’s the good news. Now for the challenges. Agricultural and coastal development and inadequate sanitation near river catchments still cause significant amounts of sediments, nitrogen, phosphorus and pesticides to be washed into the world’s seas. Nitrate concentrations continue to climb and recently the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) reported 169 coastal dead zones across the globe with only 13 recovering and 415 coastal areas suffering a reduction in dissolved oxygen.2  The association with coral bleaching and polluted run off is well known.3 In 2012, 288 million tons of plastic were manufactured globally and 8 million tonnes of this was dumped […]

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    Do you possess these 7 leadership qualities? Do you possess these 7 leadership qualities?

    Do you possess these 7 leadership qualities?

Do you possess these 7 leadership qualities?

  Leadership is the process of leading for change rather than stability. Great leaders possess a set of abilities that enable them to recognise the need for change, create a vision to guide that change, and execute the change effectively. The challenges posed by globalisation, resource depletion, growing global population and climate change present an urgent need for a shift from business-as-usual. A special type of leader is needed to tackle these complex issues and embed sustainability thinking into every business decision. According to Poly Courtice, a Director of Cambridge University’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), “A leader is someone who crafts a vision and inspires people to act collectively to make it happen, responding to whatever changes and challenges arise along the way. A sustainability leader is someone who inspires and supports action towards a better world.”        CISL’s research suggests the following seven key characteristic traits […]

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    How to achieve ZERO net carbon emissions from vehicles How to achieve ZERO net carbon emissions from vehicles

    How to achieve ZERO net carbon emissions from vehicles

How to achieve ZERO net carbon emissions from vehicles

It might surprise you that the cost to offset your vehicle emissions is only 2.5-3% of the annual fuel bill, much less than the average fluctuation in fuel prices experienced in the past 12 months. Its easy to offset the greenhouse gases from the combustion of fuel in your company operated cars, trucks, mobile plant and other vehicles. Here are 3 simple steps to follow to obtain accurate emission estimates and achieve genuine carbon neutrality for your vehicle fleet.  The same steps can be applied to your private vehicles too. Note: to calculate emissions from vehicles your company doesn’t operate such as trains, planes, taxis and rental cars, there are different approaches which will be covered in a future blog.  Step 1: Gather activity data Gather all the fuel receipts for the previous financial year and total up the number of litres of each type of fuel used by each […]

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    The U-Factors: a new way to think about risk The U-Factors: a new way to think about risk

    The U-Factors: a new way to think about risk

The U-Factors: a new way to think about risk

JULY 2015 UPDATE The Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) of the Environmental Management Systems Standard, ISO14001:2015, was released on the 2nd July 2015. All requirements are now finalised and the rules allow for only editorial adjustments from now on. There are a number of changes to note between the Draft International Standard (DIS) and the FDIS. Of relevance to this original article, written last December, is the change in the definition of “risk” and the use of the words “threat” and “opportunity”. In the DIS, risk is defined as “the effect of uncertainty on objectives” but the FDIS omits the words “on objectives” from the definition. This has the effect of broadening the concept of uncertainty to cover all types of issues, not just those associated with objectives. The word “threat” was confusing and has been removed from many clauses. Instead the FDIS includes a new definition – “risks and […]

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    Are you managing your supply chain? Are you managing your supply chain?

    Are you managing your supply chain?

Are you managing your supply chain?

While presenting a series of one day courses on behalf of SAI Global entitled “Preparing for the transition to ISO14001:2015″ I became aware that one of the concepts in the Draft Standard is new to many people. Its the taking of a “life cycle perspective”.  So, what does this mean? A life cycle is defined in the Draft Standard as the consecutive and interlinked stages of a product system, from raw material acquisition or generation from natural resources to end-of-life treatment. Life cycle assessment has been around since the 1990’s and is often called the “cradle-to-grave” approach for assessing industrial systems. “Cradle-to-grave” begins with the gathering of raw materials from the earth to create the product and ends at the point when all materials are returned to the earth. LCA enables the estimation of the cumulative environmental impacts resulting from all stages in the product life cycle, often including impacts […]

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    What makes effective training? What makes effective training?

    What makes effective training?

What makes effective training?

Deciding how much and what type of environmental training to conduct in your workplace can be a daunting task. Here are 5 tips to guide you through the maze. 1. Focus on high risk Refer to the site’s Aspect Register or Risk Register to establish the workplace tasks that may cause a significant environmental impact. Determine the roles or job function of people commonly undertaking those tasks. There should be written procedures that outline the steps to take and the operating criteria that must be in place. These can form the basis of the training program. 2. Make the training measurable Develop competency criteria for each of the high risks tasks that may cause a significant impact. Ask “What should any person be able to do before they are allowed to work without supervision? What do they need to know? What level of language, literacy, and numeracy is required for […]

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    Opportunities emerge in carbon and energy Opportunities emerge in carbon and energy

    Opportunities emerge in carbon and energy

Opportunities emerge in carbon and energy

If one or more of your company’s facilities has some carbon and energy saving ideas that haven’t come to fruition, now is the time to firm up the program with quotes and calculations of CO2-e reduction potential. The 2015 financial year will offer smart companies the chance to benefit from new Federal Government rebates. While support for renewable energy generation has waned under the Coalition Government, recently released draft legislation has some interesting features to note. Consistent with Canberra’s intention to commence the Direct Action Plan following repeal of the carbon tax sometime later this year, the government released the Emission Reduction Fund White Paper earlier in May. Under this legislation a much wider range of people and businesses will be able to plan one or more emission reduction projects and enter into a contract to secure funding from the Federal government prior to implementation. The Clean Energy Regulator will […]

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    Is your company at risk of waste dumping? Is your company at risk of waste dumping?

    Is your company at risk of waste dumping?

Is your company at risk of waste dumping?

Large fines, jail terms and damage to a company’s reputation can easily result from failing to effectively manage the risks associated with waste disposal in NSW. If waste is illegally dumped on land that is not licenced as a waste facility and harms the environment, the maximum penalty is $5million or a 7 year jail sentence. Illegally transporting waste, or causing it to be taken to a place that cannot lawfully receive the waste can cost $1million. Other states also have high fines. These figures are staggering but while waste represents a compliance issue for all companies, the amount of effort and time spent should be consistent with the degree of risk imposed.  A key issue is that as producer of waste or a consignor of waste from another facility, your company is responsible for ensuring that high-risk waste is properly tracked.  This means you must not allow it to […]

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    What the revised ISO14001 will mean for you What the revised ISO14001 will mean for you

    What the revised ISO14001 will mean for you

What the revised ISO14001 will mean for you

The international standard for Environmental Management Systems will soon enter the last stage of its 3 year review.  The new standard will be released in early 2015. For those interested in the timing and degree of change, the committee draft provides a good indication of key concepts emerging in the revision. The new version is intended to maintain and improve the basic principles and existing requirements of ISO14001:2004.  It is likely that the new elements and requirements, summarised below, will bolt on fairly easily to any ISO14001 based system. However the new clause numbers and structure could pose more of a challenge.  It is based on a new high level structure for Management System Standards, different from the “plan-do-check-act” principle that management system practitioners are familiar with. Changes we are likely to see include: Specific responsibilities for people in leadership roles to promote environmental management within the organisation. A new […]

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    A view from the inside A view from the inside

    A view from the inside

A view from the inside

Successful audits are a win-win for the community and for businesses wanting to prove to themselves and others that they do what they say they do . By examining a business from the inside out an auditor confirms that the company is meeting the expectations of all interested parties. Let’s think of the analogy of clothing. When garments are viewed from the outside in there may be a glossy brand image, attractive packaging, convenience features.  Only when the clothes are turned inside out do the seams, patterns and structure become visible and understood. What you see is the other side of the same thing. The garment hasn’t been deconstructed – just viewed in a different light, in all its reality, worts and all. The strengths and positives are seen and admired – the reinforced seams and new, unfaded materials and the creative effort gone into its design. But a closer […]

One stop shock for Australia’s biodiversity

The aim of reducing so-called green tape via a “one stop shop” for environmental approvals is counterproductive and likely to result in a more rather than less complexity for Australian business. While faster approvals will undoubtedly stimulate the economy, an inadequate level of community consultation is predicted to result in legal action from communities and groups pursuing other avenues to protect their land and wildlife. This makes no sense for businesses, individual people, communities or the natural environment. Biodiversity is the variety of life forms including different animals, plants and microorganisms, the genes they contain and ecosystems they form. Diversity means richness and resilience to threats. All biodiversity indicators were assessed as being in a poor state in 2011 State of the Environment Reports.  1,340 plants and 445 species of animals are listed as National Threatened Species. Despite the efforts undertaken, there are recovery plans for only 10% of species. […]

Get ready for risk based licensing

Failure to develop and implement an Environmental Management System (EMS) at each site could become a costly exercise in 2014 as the NSW EPA progresses towards its risk based licencing system. The EPA will change the calculation of licence administration fees by introducing an Environmental Management Category – either A, B, C, D or E. The Category will act as a multiplier to the fee, resulting in either an increase, decrease (or no change). For example any sites classified as “E” will have their fee doubled, those classed as an “A” will be recognised as having the highest level of performance and receive a 5% reduction. New approach under the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Licensing Fees) Regulation 2013 Each licence will be allocated an overall risk level of 1, 2 or 3. A higher risk level may result in more intensive monitoring and reporting obligations on the […]

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    Don’t just survive….thrive! Don’t just survive….thrive!

    Don’t just survive….thrive!

Don’t just survive….thrive!

People often ask “what is sustainability?” It means maintaining the quality or condition of something into the future. But  this begs the question – “what is it we are trying to sustain?” Economists may focus on maintaining economic growth and place a high value on GDP and jobs. Conservationists may desire to maintain environmental quality and place a high value on species and ecosystem biodiversity.  Social justice advocates may desire to maintain social systems and place a high value on human rights, equality and the eradication of poverty. So in recent years the word “sustainability” has come to mean a basic level of economic AND social AND environmental sustainability. What does this mean for Australian businesses? Business owners may desire to sustain an income to retirement, pass a viable business onto family members or protect shareholders’ investments and value. So it follows that, as a minimum, businesses must be economically […]

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    One small paradox One small paradox

    One small paradox

One small paradox

The idea that human race can achieve more with less seems like a paradox. The dominant economic paradigm that more economic growth creates more happiness and wellbeing is starting to be questioned by economists and decision makers. At the same time there is a cultural shift occurring. More and more individuals are perceiving themselves as tiny parts of a greater whole, as citizens of the planet, governed first and foremost by natural laws. The paradox is that although each person sees themselves as tiny and insignificant in the total scheme of things, they also see themselves as free to make rational choices to live within natural planetary boundaries.                     “I am small but I am part of something big” The humbling realisation of smallness, rather than making one feel powerless leads to empowerment. As individuals with a common goal, people can view themselves as global citizens who can easily connect […]

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    Post election carbon update Post election carbon update

    Post election carbon update

Post election carbon update

While the dust settles from the ballot box result on Sept 7, Australian businesses will need to stay tuned to developments in the carbon space over the next 12 months. There will be both risks and opportunities emerging from the large policy shift from Labor’s Clean Energy Futures package to the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan (DAP). Australian businesses will go through an extended period of uncertainty about the price of energy and what their direct legal obligations will be. It is disappointing that the lack of a bipartisan policy by the major parties on Climate Change will stifle investment in clean technology at a point when it has started to take off.   Progression towards an emissions trading scheme, the least cost abatement option for the economy, has been derailed. The Coalition has vowed to introduce carbon tax repeal legislation within 100 days of coming to power but this will undoubtedly […]

Are we exposed to too much lead?

Lead is a highly potent nerve toxin that has been known for decades to have devastating effects on human health and wildlife as well as strong links with violent crime. While the phase out of lead in petrol has been an outstanding success globally, there is still a long way to go.  Technical innovation, stricter controls of industrial emissions, a ban on certain imports and exports together with the enforcement of more stringent air quality standards are required to protect people in all towns and cities. Whether you and your family are exposed to too much lead depends largely on what job you do and where you happen to live. Like other heavy metals, lead is hazardous to animals and dangerous to humans as it accumulates in soil, livestock, fish, mammal, human tissue and blood. At all levels of exposure it can cause adverse and often irreversible health impacts to […]

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    Turning the tide of ocean exploitation Turning the tide of ocean exploitation

    Turning the tide of ocean exploitation

Turning the tide of ocean exploitation

A large expansion of marine sanctuaries, stronger enforcement of laws to prevent illegal fishing and better consumer information are the keys to protect marine biodiversity and fish stocks.  Seafood is a food source for 3,000 million people worldwide according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the US (FAO) (6). In 2012 the Australian government created the largest network of protected marine areas anywhere in the world…. a great step forward but according to the IUCN and UNEP (1) only 1.6% of the world’s oceans have this level of protection and continue to be at risk of overexploitation.  The world’s oceans are the last frontier, a modern day example of Gareth Hardin’s  “tragedy of the commons”. This is because the greatest risk to global fish stocks today is overfishing. According to another study from the FAO, (2) only 15% of fisheries are considered under or moderately exploited meaning they are […]

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    Two ways to avoid digital misinformation Two ways to avoid digital misinformation

    Two ways to avoid digital misinformation

Two ways to avoid digital misinformation

With today’s appetite for rapid and instant communication, the media have developed a tendency to rush information out quickly without subjecting it to proper editorial oversight and scrutiny. In NSW last month an anti-coal campaigner using only a laptop and mobile phone was able to issue a bogus media release stating that the ANZ bank had reversed a AU$1.2bn loan to Whitehaven Coal.  The result was that $314 million was temporarily wiped off the value of the company. While the activist’s ability to draw attention to the climate change issue has been applauded as commendable in some quarters, I suggest that fraudulent behaviour only serves to discredit the reputation and cause that the perpetrator is trying to promote. In the words of Plato “whoever is detected in a shameful fraud is ever after not believed even if they speak the truth”. There have been instances where deliberate misuse of the […]

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