Sustainable procurement in action
Our masterclass video series provides practical insights from the field about including environmental sustainability requirements in procurement projects.
Sustainable procurement is an evolving concept and peer guidance can dispel many of the myths associated with environmental sustainability. We explain important concepts and demonstrate opportunities and benefits of buying recycled and sustainable products.
Learn from panellists with diverse industry and government experience. Explore our masterclasses below.
Calculating the Planet Price
Andy Hill: Hi everybody. My name's Andy Hill. I'm the Founder of Planet Price. Thank you for coming along to this session today, I'd like to talk about how we can attribute value to environmental sustainability in office fit-outs. I'll be doing that by explaining a concept called Planet Price. And Planet Price is a way of calculating the real cost of everything. So let's think about what the challenge is when we look at balancing economic and environmental considerations. I guess as we'd all understand, there's increasing interest in how industry can reduce its environmental footprint and according to some studies, up to 80% of the impact on the natural capital in the world actually comes through procurement. So how can we do that as procurement professionals? How can we start to bring environmental considerations into our decision making and balance economics and the environment?
Obviously this is a very complex thing, there are so many dimensions and variables to it, and traditionally procurement has been very cost focused, so we tend to look at total cost, not just purchase price, but also quality, service life, other considerations. So procurement is very good at understanding economic cost, but when it comes to understanding environmental impact, it becomes a lot harder. And the reason is that there are a lot of different environmental and social indicators each with different units, and it's really hard to make sense of all of those.
So when we started to research Planet Price, this is one of the challenges we came across, and when we talked to procurement teams, they said, really what we need is a single KPI that can help us to measure and understand environmental impacts. So that's exactly what Planet Price is. It is an algorithm to calculate environmental and social costs, and it does that automatically, but then expresses them in monetary terms. So what it's trying to do is put a price on the hidden cost of our procurement by looking at factors like greenhouse gases, water use, land transformation, eutrophication, pollution, all the harmful impacts of our procurement. It's calculating those and then putting a price on them so that we can understand what the real cost, if you like, is for our procurement.
And it does that by using a variety of techniques, including machine learning, lifecycle analysis, and environmental pricing methods. So it's quite complicated. So what you can see here is we're looking at a spend category. This is 'office furniture and fit-outs', and this organisation has spent $39,000 on office furniture and fit-outs. And what we've done is we've calculated the Planet Price of that procurement and that comes out at $6,000 or 16%. So if you like, the true cost is the economic cost plus the Planet Price. So now for the first time, we have that metric that I was talking about that allows procurement teams to start to understand environmental impacts and allows them to start to make trade-offs between purchase price and Planet Price. So let's look at an example for a piece of office furniture. Here we've got a desk, it's made of oak and steel, and the nominal purchase price is $200.
What we've done is we've calculated the Planet Price now, and that's $36. So now we have the economic price and the Planet Price, and we can start to balance those two things together when we make sourcing decisions. And you can see all of the environmental indicators have been calculated. So for example, we have 0.3 tonnes of CO2, we have 6.6 metres cubed of water, and that's one of the larger factors for this piece of furniture. So we've calculated all of these and then we've put a price on them, and that price becomes the Planet Price, which is $36 for this desk. So the way that that is being calculated, we've collected some data from the supplier, and here you can see that we have the main materials that have gone into making that desk.
So we have hardwood and we have steel. And actually for this particular desk, there's a very high percentage of recycled steel that it's been using, and that's one of the reasons why the Planet Price is a little bit lower. We're also looking at the packaging, in this case it's recycled cardboard. We also look at transportation, so where is it manufactured and how is it transported? And then finally, end of life, what happens at the end of the service life for this piece of furniture? Does it go to landfill? Is it recycled or reused?
So finally I'd like to take you through a case study that we did with one of our partners who is a circular economy business. And one of their customers was a large corporate that was doing a office de-fit. So they had a big lease with furniture and carpets and so on, and they were de-fitting that to bring a new tenant in. So traditionally, option one would've been, they would've got a crew in to take all of that furniture, put it into skips, and basically send it to landfill and pay for the landfill cost to dispose of all of that, which obviously is a real shame and a real waste because a lot of that furniture was still in good condition and could be used into the future. So what they did was they commissioned our partner to come in and they had a team that went through and catalogued every single item.
They took photos, they put it into their platform, and then they took it away and used a socially disadvantaged workforce to help repair items, to clean them, repair them. Then they resold those where they could and where it wasn't possible to resell them, they actually recycled them. So obviously there's a lot more labour involved in that. It's quite an expensive option. But what we were able to do was use the Planet Price algorithm to calculate the savings to the environment by being, if you like, a better steward of those materials. So we calculated the Planet Price for all of the furniture, all of the materials, and then we assumed that by reselling them, we were able to extend the life of that furniture by an extra 50%. And what that meant was that because we'd extended the life, there wouldn't be a replacement piece of furniture that was manufactured and purchased by that organisation.
So they're effectively avoiding a Planet Price cost. When we totaled all of that up, it came to a reduction in Planet Price of $50,000, and part of that was 200 tonnes of CO2 equivalent was saved, and that's as a result of the not re-manufacturing that furniture, but also the emissions that would've come from sending it to landfill. So based on that analysis, the client was able to justify what was a more expensive item because I suppose they had a sustainability business case. So that's one application of how planet price can be used.
There are obviously many applications in the sustainable procurement and circular economy world, and in fact, we are working with C-SPARC at the moment as a beta tester to look at the opposite problem, actually an office fit out. So we're currently collecting data from suppliers so that we can understand the Planet Price of the furniture and fittings that they will be providing as part of a number of office fit out projects across the country. And that Planet Price can then become one of the factors when making procurement decisions for the government. I hope that's been interesting and useful. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me to email@example.com if you'd like to find out a bit more about Planet Price. Thank you.
Procurement and Product Stewardship - Buy less, choose well, make it last
Rose Read: Thank you for the introduction, and good afternoon. My name is Rose Read and I'm a Director with the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence, and today we're going to talk about product stewardship and procurement. Firstly, I'd like to give a bit of background about the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence, outline a bit about what is product stewardship, and then really focus on what are some of the questions you as procurers should be asking your suppliers to deliver better environmental and social outcomes.
So firstly, a little bit about the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence. The Centre of Excellence is an independent research-based organisation that is focused on the widescale adoption of product and material stewardship into business models to help drive positive environmental and social outcomes. We provide a variety of expertise and skills and support to businesses to become better product stewards. This ranges from mentoring and supporting them in developing initiatives and actions to reduce the environmental and social impacts of their products, to recognising best practise, undertaking research and advisory services. We have also recently established a Product Stewardship Gateway, which is a great resource if you want to find out about what are some of the product stewardship initiatives being implemented, either by companies individually or also by industry-wide product stewardship schemes, that focus on a particular group of products, whether it might be TVs and computers, paint, furnishings, and so on.
So now onto what is product stewardship? Product stewardship is about reducing the environmental and human health impacts of products. It's about companies who are placing the products on the market, taking responsibility for those impacts across the product's lifecycle, not just at the design and production stage, but also at the consumption and post-consumption stages. What's important is the principles of product stewardship closely align and provide a practical pathway to a move towards a circular economy where there is a strong focus on designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in the economy, regenerating natural systems, decarbonising the economy, and creating positive and social outcomes.
Some of you may have heard of the term extended producer responsibility. This is an element of product stewardship and specifically relates to primary responsibility and financial responsibility being transferred to the producers and retailers of products for the recovery of products once they've finished their useful life. So, as mentioned, product stewardship is about actions across the lifecycle. There are many ways that suppliers can be taking action to reduce the environmental and human health impacts of their products across the lifecycle, and this is something that you need to consider as a procurer in terms of what products you choose to buy.
Some of the activities that are considered responsible product stewards include looking at what they're doing with how they're supplying and sourcing materials for their products, what types of materials they're using, how they're designing their products, how are they reducing the amount of resources they're using, and how they can be more efficient. It's also about how they're designing product to be more durable and repairable. So this is looking into the consumption elements of the lifecycle. So, what information are the suppliers providing to consumers on how they can use their products to have less impact on the environment and less impact on the community? So you'll see, for instance, energy ratings and water ratings are a good guide to help you with that.
You'll also see companies offering lease and take-back opportunities and repair services. These are aspects of what can be done to extend the life of the product so it stays in active use, rather than having a short lifespan and ending up in landfill. Finally, some of the other actions that are taken by companies who are good product stewards include providing a take-back service, making sure it's free and easy, and also being very transparent about what happens to that product once they recover it. Are the parts recovered? What happens to the materials, and ensuring that those recovered parts and materials are going back into the economy and not into landfill.
So, what are some of the questions you need to ask suppliers? What I've tried to do is focus this at four levels. Firstly, at a broad company level, and secondly, at the three life stages of a product.
So firstly, questions you should consider asking a company at the corporate level. Do they have a product stewardship policy and plan of management activities for their products? Do they have a sustainable product design policy or initiatives in place? Are they a member of a product stewardship scheme? As you'll see on the screen here, there are many logos of different existing collective and individual schemes that are operating in Australia today. So whether it might be Woven Image who produces acoustic dividers made from recycled plastic, to some of the carpet recovery ones, to cladding services and so on.
We also have Refrigerant Reclaim, which is about companies who are putting air conditioners, refrigerators on the market and what they do about recovering their product and capturing any ozone-depleting substances. We also have Ecoactiv, TechCollect running TV and computer take-back schemes. Similarly, if you're buying mobile phones or batteries, looking at are those companies active participants in schemes such as MobileMuster or B-cycle? Or if you're buying bedding, for instance, the Australian Bedding Stewardship Council, is your supplier a member of that scheme? Are they contributing to the take-back and recycling of their product? There's a whole raft of those, and the Product Stewardship Gateway has at least 100 initiatives on there, so a great way to crosscheck those.
So now looking at what are the questions you should be asking suppliers at the different stages of the product lifecycle? So looking at design and production, one of the main questions from a product stewardship perspective is asking, what is the product made from? Is it made from renewable resources or is it made from non-renewable resources? Is it made from recovered resources? And if so, what's the level of recycled content in that product? And what's really important in doing this is ensuring to validate those claims and ensure that there's no greenwashing with what the supplier is telling you. They should be able to be quite transparent as to what materials are used in their product and also whether those materials can be recycled. And if so, is there a recycling scheme actually actively in place that is accessible for you to use?
Also, you should be asking the suppliers, do they supply a refurbished product? Often it's good to look at, for instance, councils are looking to purchase a certain percentage of their refurbished IT equipment to service their libraries. As long as they meet the function and specifications, using secondhand product is a great way to have positive environmental and social outcomes.
So now, moving on to the next stage in terms of, what is the supply doing in terms of keeping the product in active use? You can ask these questions: How long will the product last? Can I repair it? Can I lease it? What information is being supplied so I can ensure that I can extend and keep the product in active life? Really important questions that should be asked to the suppliers.
Now, looking onto the final stage of the lifecycle, post-consumption or end-of-life, questions you should be asking your suppliers are, do they offer a collection and reuse/recycling service? Is there any cost involved? What happens to the product when you take it back? Do you reuse the parts or materials in your own products? What level of recovery rates are achieved? Recycling rates? Are the materials to stay on-shore in Australia? Do they head off overseas? There's a raft of questions that you need to drill down and ask the suppliers, and a good supplier will be able to answer these very easily.
So, in summary, as someone who's purchasing products, you really have the ability to drive positive and environmentally social outcomes by creating demand through purchasing more sustainable products. More sustainable products in both what is done at a design and production stage, inquiring what happens and what's available at the consumption stage. How can you keep products in the market for longer and keep them in active use? And then, what is done once that product is finished its useful life? Is it recovered? And so on.
So, in summary, if you can buy less to reduce our demand on resources, choose well. So make sure you've got product that's made from renewable sources, has recycled content, can be recycled. If it's made from virgin materials, it can be recycled and there is an active recycling scheme in place. Can be repaired, can be reused, and really make it last. And what can you do in terms of how that product is used in your environment? So thank you very much for today, and please don't hesitate to reach out to the centre if you have any questions.
Property and Sustainability at DCCEEW - Doing better
Tony Britton: Hi, my name's Tony Britton and I'm the Director of Property Planning and Capital Works at the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, also known as DCCEEW. Today I'll be talking about how we at DCCEEW are tackling our responsibilities to sustainability in the property space. I will touch on the place of re-use into DCCEEW's expanding property footprint. Lastly, I hope to sow a seed on what I'm calling Government Gumtree to fit out re-use.
Sustainability is very important here at DCCEEW. It's in our name, Climate Change, Energy, the Environment Water. DCCEEW was established in mid 2022, and by October '22 it was obvious we needed a stronger focus on sustainability in the property area. The property sustainability team was created and sat within the capital works team, but it wasn't too long after that we realised we needed to provide more resource and drive to ensure we could meet the increasing obligations in this area. Subsequently, we created the Property Sustainability section with its own director and a small team.
One of the first objectives of the team was to establish an internal working group to discuss sustainability and the APS Net Zero by 2030 policy. DCCEEW is creating much of the policy for the Department of Finance's APS Net Zero programme. As such, we wanted a forum where those different policy areas could come together and discuss their work, while also giving us and the property team a heads up on what is coming. The relationship goes both ways with policy areas now partnering with the DCCEEW property to trial new initiatives.
A strong focus of the Property Sustainability team is to represent the department in Department of Finance's APS Net Zero forums and also to manage the increasing number of reporting requirements in conjunction with our property services provider. This includes our sustainability action plan, emissions reduction plans, energy efficiency in government operations reporting, as well as annual reporting. The Property Sustainability team are also working actively on providing internal communications on initiatives and reporting outcomes to all staff through the department's intranet.
The team is also at the forefront of identifying new strategies to improve our sustainability outcomes, including reviewing local waste management arrangements and supporting the staff network, the Econet. Lastly, the Property Sustainability team do a great job of keeping us and the property team honest. In this section, I'll be running through the experience of DCCEEW in setting up new offices around the country and give some thoughts on how we can embrace the term re-use. That is how we may re-use what's already there, how we can re-use through the procurement of secondhand, and how we can design an office fit out with future re-use in mind.
So to DCCEEW as a programme to establish new corporate offices around the country. We're creating new offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth, as well as adding to our spaces in Hobart and refurbishing our Darwin office. The department is targeting a six star green star rating for these offices. Utilising the Green Star Rating programme has provided a solid platform for our architects and contractors to design and build, though it does add to costs.
The first option we looked at in establishing these offices was to see what was available from other Commonwealth agencies. What could we get move in ready? This would give us an advantage of a quick turnaround, but also, and importantly, do away with the need to de-fit older commercial space and refit in a modern style. We were lucky to get two tenancies with new fit outs in Sydney and Adelaide. There is some rework to do at both sites to separate the portions of floors from other agencies and add in some of our own requirements, but the vast majority of existing amenities, work points, and meeting spaces have been retained.
The photos shown here from the Sydney office, all of what you see was already in place and set up. Work is now underway to instal the department's own ICT and security systems, as well as providing for some higher securities workspaces. With the move to hybrid working and a lesser need for large corporate offices, the opportunity to undertake this kind of re-use is increasing and should be investigated closely. With our remaining office fit outs, which are about to go to market. We've included clauses in the tenders to push for the use of secondhand furnishing. This has caused quite a few queries from the market, as many head contractors and managing contractors to have experience in dealing with the secondhand supply market.
The secondhand office furniture market is growing as many companies are now getting behind the idea of re-use prior to disposal. Currently, much of what is available is older fit out stock, which can be difficult to incorporate into a modern office design, but that is slowly changing. Many fit outs of government offices from the early 2010s onwards have incorporated things like electric sit to stand desks, which is now the standard. As these fit outs are disposed of, their potential for re-use is becoming much higher.
DCCEEW has managed to obtain a large number of standard sit to stand workstations, white boards, and loose furniture from our department in Canberra who were leaving their site for a new office and leaving the fit out for the landlord to deal with. We'll be reusing these workstations and other furniture around their offices, with the only cost to us being labour and transport. A large amount of workstations and other furniture that we could not use remain behind at that site. The landlord has indicated to us recently that it's taken them much more than nine months to dispose of it through the secondhand and charitable channels.
Offices are evolving now more than ever. The advent of more hybrid working arrangements and the need to create an environment where staff want to come back to the office is causing a shift in office design. We can no longer just build to a standard template, rows of desks with a few meeting rooms and an office. A variety of workspaces, quiet spaces, collaboration spaces, more comfortable, homely feel is what we are now seeking to create. This trend of evolving design is likely to accelerate as the workplace gets a better understanding of what works and what doesn't. So how do we safeguard our design to deal with this without the need to refit offices over and over?
There are many products now hitting the market that make this a possibility. Modular offices, meeting rooms, quiet booths, pods, et cetera, can be used to create spaces within the office without the need for construction and come with the benefit of being soundproof, easily assembled, and able to be moved to create new designs in the future without the need for construction and disruption. The meeting space shown on this slide can be put together in under a day and includes lighting and ventilation. It sits under the office ceiling height and really just requires power.
The other big enabler of the modular office is a greater use of wifi over hard cabled networks. This allows staff to move around the office more easily and allows for the movement of furniture without the need to re-cable. A standardised test type, use of loose furniture and pure walls gives us the opportunity to rearrange the office as times change, introduce new pieces to keep the office fresh, and to take it all with us when we leave, either to a new location or for easy disposal through the re-use market. There are now modular zone 5 Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) products as well as modular data rooms, so it is possible to do a complete office that can be re-used or packed up later. Briefing your architect on your preference for these modular products gives you a more flexible outcome.
Finally, now this is just an idea, and to be honest, I'm not sure how it could work, but bear with me. The Commonwealth leases and owns as many hundreds of thousands of square metres of corporate office space across Australia, which equates to hundreds of thousands of desks, chairs, et cetera, all owned by the Commonwealth. When we leave tenancies, the Commonwealth National Lease favours there being no make good provisions. This means the Commonwealth can effectively walk away from a site at the end of lease and leave everything for that landlord to clean up. Much of these fit outs could have re-use potential within the Commonwealth.
I think it'd be great to have a Commonwealth marketplace for this furniture to give all agencies the option of repurposing before buying against themselves. Here at the DCCEEW, we've been able to utilise our own networks across the Commonwealth to pick up the furniture I showed you earlier, but also from other agencies in both Canberra and Hobart, and we are reaching out into Melbourne as well. A marketplace to manage and catalogue de-fits for disposal, preferably identified with sufficient lead time to allow other agencies to plan for their use, would go a long way towards ensuring we reduce the amount of office furniture being purchased and disposed of, and that helps everyone. Thank you.
Determining Sustainability Outcomes
Learn about product stewardship and rating schemes that can assist you to determine environmental sustainability outcomes in your procurements.
The video below gives an overview of the Government’s commitments to environmentally sustainable procurement, and commitments to a Circular Economy by 2030.
The presenters include: Cath Caldwell (CSPARC, DCCEEW), Tim Zerk (Circular Economy Policy, DCCEEW), Rob Quinn (Product Stewardship Policy, DCCEEW), Dan Sheedy (Climate Active, DCCEEW), Isaac Gravolin (GEMS, DCCEEW), Teresa McMaugh (WELS, DCCEEW) and Matthew Riches (Questacon). Video length: 41 mins
Catherine Caldwell: 0:00
Hello, welcome to today's webinar on determining sustainability outcomes. I'm Catherine Caldwell, Director of the Commonwealth Sustainable Procurement Advocacy and Resource Centre. We've got an extensive lineup today starting with an overview of environmentally sustainable procurement and the overarching policy drivers of secure economy and driving demand for recycled content. This will be followed by presentations on four Australian government programs and rating schemes that can help you to determine environmental sustainability in your procurements. We're then going to take a deeper dive into how Questacon are implementing environmental sustainability in their operations and procurements. We did have an APS net zero presentation as part of the agenda. Unfortunately, Luke Hutchinson was unable to join us today, but we will reschedule this for a future webinar.
I'd like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands we are broadcasting from today. For us in the studio, that's the Ngunnawal people. I pay my respects to the elders past, present, and emerging, and I extend that respect to the traditional custodians of all other lands on which our viewers are gathered. I'd like to also pay my respects to any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people who are joining this webinar today. Sustainable procurement aims to reduce adverse social, environmental, and economic impacts of purchased goods and services. But today we're going to be focusing on the environmental pillar of sustainable procurement. Environmental sustainability is included in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules as one of the non-financial aspects that may be relevant to a procurement and therefore must be considered when assessing the value for money of a submission. C-SPARC defines environmentally sustainable procurement under three themes, circularity, environmental impacts, and climate change impacts.
Each of these capture the environmental sustainability aspects referred to in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, which are environmental sustainability, environmental impacts, climate change impacts, use of recycled products, and energy efficiency. And I'll talk about how that links in the next few slides. But these three themes can also be linked to the government's commitments around circular economy, waste and recycling, and net zero. If we look at circularity, circularity really is about aiming to reduce our reliance on virgin materials and keeping materials in use for longer at their highest value. For example, in a procurement, products may be collected for reuse, refurbishment or remanufacture under a take-back scheme. You know, may be aware of contracts for ICT equipment where under that contract the supplier collects them for repair, refurbishment, or trade-in and for recycling at end of life.
Product as a service is a circular business model. So for example, instead of purchasing furniture, it could be purchased as a service where the supplier provides the product and the furniture and then they collect it for preventative maintenance, repair and refurbishment and then take it away at the end of use of life. Environmental impacts takes into consideration water efficiency, biodiversity conservation, use of hazardous substances and chemicals of concern, and where the production and distribution processes are designed so that you can avoid material leaking into the environment. A couple of examples of how environmental impacts may be considered in procurement are if you're procuring textiles for example, you might want to put a requirement into approach to market that they are free from toxic substances. A way that you could actually verify this when tender submissions come through is by requesting a certification similar to or such as the OEKO-TEX, which certifies the manufacturing of textiles are actually free from those toxic substances.
Another example for capital works is that you could require a building meets the WELL building standard and that standard measures and optimises indoor air quality to remove airborne contaminants. Looking at climate change impacts, they're fairly self-explanatory. They take into consideration the impact on greenhouse gas emissions and the energy efficiency of a product or service. For example, you could lease buildings that use recognised rating schemes to provide clear and transparent information on the proportion of renewable energy used in the building. Most people would be familiar with the National Australian Built Environment Rating Scheme, known as NABERS. And another scheme which has been presented in one of our previous webinars is the Green Star rating.
Rob, Dan, Teresa, and Isaac will discuss how product stewardship, Climate Active, the water efficiency labelling and standards rating and the greenhouse and energy minimum standards can be used to verify those different aspects of environmental sustainability of any goods and services that you're purchasing. We'll then have Matthew talk to us and tell us about how Questacon have been addressing circularity environmental impacts and climate change impacts in their operations and procurements. But first, Tim will talk about the government's commitment to a circular economy by 2030, and I'll talk you through the National Waste Policy.
Tim Zerk: 05:25
Thank you for the invitation to come along today to talk about circular economy and what it might mean in the context of sustainable procurement. My name's Tim Zerk. I'm the Director of the Circular Economy policy section in the department. Really when we talk about circular economy, we're talking about a way of achieving sustainable consumption and production. That is a way of achieving nature positive outcomes. It's kind of a new name for what is really a well-established concept. The reason that circular economy is so relevant at the moment is twofold. On the one hand, Australia's environment ministers have recently announced their commitment to accelerate Australia's transition to a circular economy by 2030. And that new and ambitious commitment is really gaining attention quickly. The other reason that circular economy has become such an important issue is because it is a way of helping Australia lift its economic productivity and reach our net zero goals, which are really important, but it also drives good environmental outcomes. You get what's called a triple benefit.
Now, at the most fundamental level, there are really four key parts to a circular economy, and I'll show these on the next slide. The four parts are reducing the use of new materials, making materials safe and durable, reusing, repairing and recycling materials, and using materials and products that regenerate nature. That first point there, it's really about slowing the rate at which we extract raw materials from nature, giving nature time to regenerate what's taken. Under the second point, it's about making sure the materials and products we use, they don't contain chemicals of concern that shouldn't be recycled, is we want to favour safe, clean products that can be turned safely into something new. By helping make things durable, we also help keep products in our economy for longer, which improves our efficiency as an economy. Then under that third column, what we're trying to do here is close the loop on products and materials that we use. We reduce then the need to extract more real materials and we slow down our consumption.
But in addition to doing our bit when we come to the bin, for example, with products when they're old or broken, it's important that we support businesses that are making good products in the first place. That is we want to encourage manufacturing of goods that can be repaired or goods that can be reused or recycled. And we can do this by selecting products that are made to be repaired easily or reused, or we can select products that are made to be recycled easily or contain recycled content. Then finally under that fourth column, we're using materials and products to regenerate nature. That is we're making sure we collect our waste so it doesn't pollute the environment. But we're also designing products that are good for recycling rather than single use. We're supporting good practices like manufacturing using renewable energy or buying products that are made from renewable materials rather than fossil fuel-based materials.
It's kind of about changing our view of products and materials so that we don't just expect them to serve a function for us, but we also expect them to be made responsibly and sustainably and even in ways that give back to nature. What does this all mean in practice? Well, circularity means procuring goods and services that are designed to be durable, repairable, or re-manufactured, purchasing goods that have been refurbished or reused, purchasing goods or service containing recycled content or that are made from safe and renewable inputs or goods that are recyclable at the end of their life or that they have take-back schemes. And finally, those that consider the safe use and disposal of chemicals.
There's lots of goods and services on the market that fit the bill here, and it's important for government to use and support those businesses selling products that are genuinely good for a circular economy because they're sustainably remained or they can be repaired and reused over and over again in our economy. Thank you.
Catherine Caldwell: 09:37
Tim has talked us through the circular economy, and I'd like to discuss the use of recycled materials which sits alongside repair, reuse, and re-manufacturing in a circular economy. The use of recycle products is one of the four aspects of environmental sustainability highlighted in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, and this ties directly to the National Waste Policy and commitments in the National Waste Policy Action Plan. The National Waste Policy provides a framework for collective action by government, industry and communities to improve the use of Australia's resources, keeping them out of landfill and putting them to use so they retain their value and continue to circle through the economy. The policy sets five overarching principles. One is about avoiding waste and improving resource recovery, increasing use of recycled materials and building demand for those materials, better managing material flows to benefit human health, the environment and the economy, and improving information to support innovation, guide investment, and enable informed consumer decisions.
The National Waste Policy Action Plan translates these five principles into seven targets, and each of these targets has underpinning actions. Target four, which you can see bolded on the slide there is about significantly increasing government and industry's use of recycled content. The Commonwealth government is delivering this through sustainable procurement practices. In 2020, the Commonwealth Procurement Rules were updated to include the use of recycled products as a consideration for value for money assessments. And subsequently, the government has committed to strengthen the environmental sustainability provisions in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules to increase that demand for recycled content. By purchasing recycled content products, we help to reduce the amount of virgin materials that are being used, reduce waste and landfill and reduce carbon emissions. And in previous web webinars we have seen examples of products procured by departments and agencies that have resulted in broader benefits. For example, at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authorities Reef HQ in Townsville, they've used a number of different recycled materials.
They have an extensive water filtration system which used a hundred percent recycled glass instead of using virgin sand. And this has really helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions because for every ton of glass that's been recycled, it saves 670 kilograms of greenhouse gases. Another product which they purchased with recycled content was a generator, so it was a pico hydro generator to be exact, and that's manufactured using up to 68% recycled content and that over the lifetime of the generator avoids 35 tons of greenhouse gases. The manufacturer also uses recycled ... Sorry, renewable energy to manufacture the product. Again, reducing greenhouse gases. Another example we saw in previous webinars was from the Department of Defence who procured over 30,000 multi sort bins that used 68 tons of recycled plastic. This procurement had a positive social and economic effect as it helped bolster jobs and growth in the Australian recycling and manufacturing sectors.
The initiative used dormant car manufacturing facilities to actually manufacture the product and it supported the creation and retention of a roundabout 30 jobs in Newcastle and Melbourne. These presentations are available for you to watch on the DCCEEW website along with examples of other recycled content products that are being made in Australia. For example, First Nations company, Mandura, manufactures a hundred percent recycled copy paper. Mandura diverts 2.9 tons of greenhouse gases from the environment for every ton of recycled paper that's used and socially and economically, Mandura commits 20% of its profits to supporting First Nations mental health, entrepreneurship, and employment through the Pauline E. McLeod Foundation. These examples show that when you buy recycled, you can achieve not only environmental outcomes, but also social and economic outcomes. Next time you are procuring something, consider whether you can buy recycled.
Rob Quinn: 14:27
My name's Rob Quinn and I'm the Director for the Product Stewardship Policy and Reform Team. My team looks after voluntary industry led approaches to product stewardship in Australia, which includes things like the minister's product stewardship priority list and accreditation of voluntary product stewardship schemes. I'm going to start with a brief summary about what product stewardship is and how it can inform sustainable procurement choices. Product stewardship is when there's a shared responsibility for reducing the environmental health and safety footprint of products across their lifecycle, and it's much more than just waste recovery and recycled content. It's a really important part of moving to a circular economy. Product stewardship is about embracing the circular economy principles that Tim mentioned earlier of avoiding waste circulating for longer and regenerating in nature. It's about taking responsibility across the supply chain for meeting these principles. And so this includes businesses and organisations that procure products and services, and we know that the APS does a lot of this.
So you'll see on the slide some of the factors that we need to consider for sustainable procurement. These align well not only with circular economy principles, but also with what can be achieved through product stewardship. In a practical sense, there are a number of things that we can consider in choosing products, and these include things like has the provider demonstrated that the products are produced with minimal waste and greenhouse gas emissions? Which brands minimise the use of substances that harm the environment? Which brands are designing to promote reuse, repair, and recycling, and are there any collection and recycling facilities that can manage these products at the end of their life? And this is where product stewardship can really help to sort of draw out some of these factors.
So product stewardship is recognised at a national level through the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act, and this legislation includes three levels of product stewardship. They're mandatory, co-regulatory, and voluntary. For product steward scheme is mandated or co-regulatory, so for example, the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, participation is overseen by government and you can guarantee that those products you purchase have stewardship outcomes built into them. But if a scheme is voluntary though, it's up to industries as to whether they participate either through engaging in an existing scheme or setting up their own. For example, there's a well-established product stewardship scheme for tyres. And through this scheme, participants pay a levy on the import of tyres which contributes to the management of those tyres at the end of their life. And while a lot of the major tyre brands participate in the scheme, a significant number of brands don't participate and don't pay the levy on import.
So it becomes really clear where government should be investing their money in the brands and the manufacturers that are taking responsibility for their products and their waste. Another good example is Dulux, who have a really great in-house stewardship scheme for taking back paint pails from major work sites and recycling the plastic, which would otherwise be going straight to landfill and back into paint stirrers and other products. And so there's around a hundred schemes operating in Australia and they cover products like furniture, batteries, mattresses, steel, and so many others. But I would say it's always important to do some due diligence on a provider claiming to be part of a scheme. There's a lot of opportunity for greenwashing in this space. And to that point, before I close off, I'd just like to touch on accreditation of voluntary product stewardship schemes. Under the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act, government has an opportunity to accredit voluntary product stewardship schemes and accreditation is a good tool to guide sustainable procurement because it provides some verification of a scheme's sustainability claims.
In accrediting a scheme, we check off that it aligns with the objects of the legislation, including things like the circular economy principles, and once accredited, these schemes report to us annually and they're monitored against their KPIs. Accreditation is a really good tool to demonstrate green credentials and to support sustainable choices when purchasing. There's currently seven schemes accredited, which you'll see up on the slide and you can keep an eye on our website where we put up additional schemes as they're accredited. I'll just close off by saying that if you have any questions about stewardship schemes that arise through your assessments, I really encourage you to reach out. Our team is always happy to have a chat. And also if you come across any businesses who are doing really well in product stewardship, please encourage them to reach out as well and consider maybe getting accredited so it'll help businesses with their, or has potential to help businesses with their future procurement processes and it helps government in knowing that they're procuring sustainably. Thank you very much for having me today and I'm happy to take any questions at the end.
Dan Sheedy: 19:45
Good afternoon. My name is Dan Sheedy, Climate Active Director Strategy and Engagement. The Climate Active teams are in the Emissions Reduction Division in the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water. The topic of today's masterclass is determining sustainability outcomes. Seeking out Climate Active carbon neutral certification is something to seriously consider when undertaking our procurement. Today I'll present on what Climate Active is and how it works and how it can help procurement staff to identify positive environmental outcomes. Climate Active is a voluntary carbon neutral certification scheme backed by the government. Climate Active enables voluntary climate action through the five standards and recognises it through the brand. It's underpinned by the government, it's driven by members, and it's activated by businesses and consumers. Climate Active certification is awarded to businesses and organisations that have credibly reached a stake of carbon neutrality. We certify organisations which cover their business operations only, products and services, buildings, precincts, and events.
How it works, Climate Active is based on a cycle of measure, reduce, offset, validate and report. To become certified, businesses must enter and maintain a licence agreement with DQ, they calculate the relevant emissions, develop and implement an emissions reduction strategy, arrange in independent validation and publish a public summary of the carbon neutral claim. All PDS are located our website for investors, consumers, and stakeholders to see. Once certified, a trademark is issued, the Climate Active trademark is at a glance assurance for businesses and consumers. You may have seen this branding and trademark on anything from beer to eggs, fashion shops to phone mills, electricity, or even an event you've been to. As our website states, now more than ever, Australians need to work together to protect our climate. Climate Active enables businesses and the community to take action.
To find a certified brand, go to our website and click on the certified brands tab. Industry filter allows you to refine your search. There are around 700 certifications across 500 businesses in Australia. Whilst there are several iconic Australian brands such as Qantas and Telstra, the majority of certifications are small to medium size enterprises that are just as critical to decarbonization and a transition to a low carbon economy. Some certifications that may be relevant to procurement staff include flights, fuels, catering, packaging, banking, consultancies, graphic designers, accounting services, legal services, power and gas supply, and telecommunications, phone and internet. I hope this short presentation has been helpful and please don't hesitate to reach out to me and the team if you have any questions. Thank you.
Isaac Gravolin: 23:11
Hi. My name's Isaac Gravolin from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, and I'm here to talk to you about how you can use energy ratings to support sustainable procurement. What are energy ratings? Energy ratings are a government delivered scheme to show you how energy efficient a product is. The more stars the product has, the more energy efficient it is. You might be familiar with the energy rating label, which is shown on the right of this slide. And so when we talk about energy efficiency, we mean the amount of energy a product uses to get the same output. Choosing a product with a higher energy rating will therefore reduce your energy use. This means lower emissions, reduced demand on the grid, as well as lower costs. The savings that you make in running costs will often save you money in the long run while also supporting sustainable energy use.
So energy ratings are available for a range of consumer products. This includes household products but also products you may purchase for businesses. Energy ratings are required in Australia for computer monitors, dishwashers, non-ducted consumer air conditioners, consumer refrigerators and freezers, as well as a range of household products such as clothes dryers, clothes washers, pool pumps, and televisions. And so depending on the product, each extra star can reduce the energy used by around 15 to 30%. For example, for a 23 inch computer monitor, the highest rated product available which has eight stars, is less than a third of the energy of the lowest rated product, which has 2.5 stars. If you were purchasing 2000 monitors, two monitors each for a thousand people, purchasing this higher rated product instead of the lower rated product could save around 220 megawatt hours of energy each year. And this is around the same amount of energy as 370 average 400 watt solar panels would produce in a year.
And if you're going to be paying around 30 cents per kilowatt hour for your electricity, this could save around $66,000 each year in energy costs. To use energy ratings to choose a low energy product, first decide the size and features of the product that you want. You can then compare the energy ratings of those products to choose one that will use less energy. Visit EnergyRating.gov.au to use our energy rating calculator or product database to compare the energy ratings of all products available in Australia. Our energy rating calculator will also provide estimates of cost savings. Some businesses have used energy ratings to set up procurement requirements. For example, to choose a product with a rating with one star of the highest available for a product with the size and features they need. And this makes sure they're choosing a product that will have lower energy use. For more information, visit EnergyRating.gov.au.
Teresa McMaugh: 26:19
Hello everyone. This presentation is about considering water efficiency when you are procuring building and building services. My name's Teresa McMaugh, and I'm the Director for the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standard Scheme. You've probably seen this label before, the water rating label, and this scheme is actually a mandatory scheme that's administered and enforced by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. The products that it relates to are the ones on the images in this slide. Essentially, the scheme works by providing a water efficiency rating framework with mandatory labelling products when offered for sale. It essentially helps consumers make an informed choice when they're buying these products. The scheme works by reducing demand for water. Not only saving water, but you're reducing the demand for heated water, which reduces the emissions, the energy use, and which ultimately if there's less water going being used, there's less sewage being created that needs to be treated as well.
We have had our benefits modelled and it is quite significant nationally. Saving huge amounts of money off utility bills as well as saving water and reducing emissions both in the home and in the commercial setting. Coming back to procurement and government procurement, where can we actually influence is the WELS scheme to influence procurement and water efficiency in buildings? Well, it's when we're purchasing or setting the requirements for purchasing or repairing or maintaining products. As I've put it in this slide, if you're procuring dishwashers or washing machines or maybe washing machines relate more to say aged care facilities or childcare facilities, and whereas the other products, I mean, there's going to be a shower, toilet, tap, a urinal in nearly every workplace and building. Essentially there's an opportunity to look at the documentation and put in requirements that relate to water efficiency.
In parallel to the WELS scheme, we have the national construction code. And in the national construction code, which is enforced by states and territories, it already sets out what the minimum water efficiency is for taps, toilets, showers, and urinals. They are three star or two star, which is what can be installed in buildings, that's under state and territory law. But what we can actually do is in our procurement require the water efficiency of the products to be higher than this minimum water efficiency, which I'll get to on the next slide about what we recommend to be included. The other thing that I'd suggest, if you are involved in requiring buildings to get a NABERS rating, which is usually the energy efficiency rating of a building, you can also require a water rating assessment. While the water rating assessment under NABERS is essentially looking at water in and out of a building, it will likely come up with an opportunity to save more water and maybe that saving water is repairing leaks.
But also in that action plan, it might be an option to look at adding more water efficient fittings to save more water at the building level. What we recommend goes into procurement documentation? Of course you can come back and pause and read the slide at your leisure, because this is a really short presentation, but I'll just give you an example. With the shower head, you can see over there I've got red stars to represent what is the minimum water efficiency in buildings, but we recommend safer showers that it be four star. The blue stars represent the star range that are actually available for products to get registered to, but we wouldn't be promoting five star showers at this stage because there's not that many registered and they possibly are less tolerated by people using them.
For government procurement, we would recommend four stars for showers, four for flow controllers, and you can see the distinction between kitchens, bathroom sinks, between four and six stars, and the rest is probably self-explanatory. Given there's a really short presentation, thank you for listening and if you have any other questions or would like any further information, we have our website and you're welcome to contact us at the email address here. Thank you.
Matthew Riches: 31:07
Hi, I'm Matthew Riches from Questacon. One of my responsibilities at Questacon is environmental management and today I'm going to tell you about Questacon's latest sustainability project, QNet Zero, as well as a little bit about how we use procurement to achieve our sustainability objectives. At Questacon, we've always been concerned about our impacts on the environment. Since 2007, we've maintained an environmental management system that meets the requirements of ISO 14001. We are also an Everyday Climate Choices Business Recycler and are committed to promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We have an environmental policy which expresses our commitment to managing our impacts on the environment and also highlights Questacon's role in promoting a better understanding of sustainability and environmental issues.
At Questacon, we're in the business of engaging people in science, technology, engineering, and maths. Like good scientists, we like to use numbers and data and a systems-based approach to managing our environmental impacts, hence our approach to QNet Zero. When we started the QNet Zero journey, the first thing we did was measure our carbon footprint, including all scope one, two, and three emissions. We calculated our baseline emissions using 2019 data. Using a breakdown of our emissions footprint, we have developed a short term emissions reduction plan, so by the numbers.
Firstly, we want to make changes to the refrigerant gases used in our chillers and we will also be reducing future emissions through a better maintenance regime for our chillers. We're also taking advantage of the ACT government's transition to a hundred percent green energy. Our contribution to the switch to green energy is to increase onsite power generation capacity by over 70%, from 95 kilowatts in 2020 to 163 kilowatts by the end of 2023. Most of that gain will be achieved with the installation of flexible polycarbonate solar panels on our curved roofs. By the end of 2023, we will also have completed energy efficiency improvements to the building, including high performance double glazing and airlocks at the main entrances to the foyer.
In the near future, we'll also be trialling building integrated photovoltaics and wind turbines. Apart from generating usable power, these technologies can also be used for science communications purposes. By 2024, we will have replaced our end of life gas-fired boilers with new energy efficient heat pumps. We will also replace gas cooking equipment in our cafe. This will allow us to disconnect gas services and eliminate scope one emissions by 90%. It will also support the ACT government's plan to phase out natural gas by 2045. Electrification of our transport is another major part of our emissions reduction plan. By 2025, we aim to have transitioned all of our fleet vehicles to electric.
Our travelling teams will be using more hybrid and electric cars, and we anticipate that more of our staff will be using lower emissions vehicles. By the end of 2025, our emissions will be almost 29% lower than in 2019, but this only accounts for less than a third of our total emissions. The remaining two-thirds mainly comprise scope three emissions, which we have limited control over. Given this limited control, the limited control of these emission sources, our long-term strategy is all about continual improvements. And two of the key areas we focus on are procurement and staying connected.
So one example of the success we've had implementing environmental improvement through procurement is our cafe licence. When we issued the RFT for the licence in 2019, tenderers were required to provide an environmental management proposal, including a draught environmental management plan. The tender requirements were written into the cafe licence and environmental performance is monitored at monthly meetings. One of the incentives provided under the licence is that the licensee is only required to pay for general waste. Everything diverted to the recycling streams such as cardboard, mixed recyclables and organics is covered by the monthly rent.
As a result of this, we have engaged a cafe operator who actively works with Questacon on new initiatives. The cafe is now participating in the green caffeine reusable coffee cup, drink, swap, and return scheme. The cafe is also reducing disposable cutlery and containers by providing washable crockery and cutlery to all Questacon visitors and staff. The key to success is ensuring that sustainability requirements are included from the beginning of the procurement process. The requirements should be transferred to contractual arrangements as achievable and measurable obligations. And of course, the contractor's environmental performance needs to be monitored and managed throughout the contract.
So Questacon's connections are also an important part of the way the organisation operates. We have connections with science centres, museums, APS agencies, and education networks locally, nationally, and internationally. These connections that are an important part of staying informed and they're also a very important part of our sustainability strategy. Internally, we have established an Environmental Sustainability Group (ESG). The ESG includes representatives from across the organisation. Its purpose is to facilitate sustainability communications and to identify and implement sustainability initiatives. In 2023, members of Questacon's ESG have made emissions reduction commitments that they will implement in their own workplaces. The emissions reduction commitments need to be measurable so that each team can document progress and report back to the group and to the organisation on their performance throughout the year.
One team that has been looking closely at its business is Questacon Gift Shop. The Q Shop is the source of 10% of Questacon's emissions. Questacon's shop team does a particularly good job of selling merchandise. However, most of their top selling items are made from combinations of synthetic latex and a range of non-recyclable plastics. We're looking at recycling options for some of these items and we're also investigating more sustainable alternatives to those items. Given the total number of items the shop sells, there are a lot of issues to work through. It will take time to get there, but so long as we maintain our systematic approach to continual improvement, we hope to achieve meaningful outcomes in the long run.
Before I finish, I wanted to say about Questacon's role as a science communicator and how that relates to QNet Zero. To effectively incorporate environmental sustainability into our our business planning and the organisational culture, it is important that we make a strong connection between our core business and our environmental objectives. Education, communication and understanding of the science are perhaps some of the most challenging issues when it comes to climate change. There's a lot of misinformation out there and the science often gets confused with the politics.
The significance of climate change is recognised by UNESCO and it was one of the major topics of discussion at COP27 in November last year. To make our sustainability strategy sustainable, we look for ways to incorporate our sustainability objectives into everyday business. At Questacon a bin is not necessarily just a bin. A bin can tell you what will happen to the bottle after you've scanned it and placed it in the bin. The bin can also help keep track of how many of each type of container have been collected. It helps us with our data collection as well as our science communications objectives. We have an energy display which provides real time data on the energy our solar panels are generating. The display will soon be expanded into an interactive display, which will compare the output of human powered turbine with realtime data from our solar array, and also building integrated photovoltaics and the different types of wind turbine we'll have on the roof.
We also have science shows and demonstrations focused on climate and energy literacy. Our show 'Changing Planets' and the 'Your Energy' series are a couple of good examples of this. Engagements in the science of climate change and the technology that will deliver a net zero future is important because the children who visit Questacon will be the people who develop the technology of tomorrow and the solutions to the problems we face today.
Sustainable Procurement in Documents, Processes and Training
Presentation by Rhys Hardy, Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water and Ree Murnane, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Video length: 24 minutes.
Rhys Hardy: Hello, my name's Rhys Hardy and I lead the procurement and contract management team at the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water or DCCEEW.
Ree Murnane: I'm Ree Murnane, talent and capability development manager at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry or DAFF.
We're here to talk today about some practical tips for including sustainability in your agency's procurement documentation, guidance materials and training. Before our agencies were separated, Ree and I worked together at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment where much of this work started. As the agency where the C-SPARC lived, we really wanted to be on top of this opportunity. When we're thinking about sustainability and procurement, and when you want to drive a change like this, you have to be supported by your agency's leadership to do what you need to do. It's essential when working within government to be able to justify your decisions are a proper use of public resources, and buying sustainably absolutely is. If you're not sure how incorporating sustainability in your procurement is being supported in your agency, that's the first place to start. While I'm certain that everyone is invested in immediate action for better outcomes for the climate and the environment in the long run, sometimes we encounter the idea that focusing on sustainability and procurement can be more of a nice to have rather than a must-have. Or that it's making processes more complicated or maybe that someone doesn't really have time right now to think about all that environmental stuff, but they'll get to it next time.
Well, to help turn that thinking around, I want to gently remind everyone that because of the government's commitment to sustainable procurement practices, the most recent version of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules actually require entities to consider sustainability as part of the value for money equation where there's an opportunity to do so and the rules go into some detail about what that involves. One of the key things to remember is that the government spends a lot of money, more than $80 billion last financial year. We have the opportunity to create a real shift in the market by being very clear that with all that buying power, we want sustainability. When we make this clear to the market, it encourages them to innovate. Think also about the recently announced APS net zero targets for 2030 and the National Waste Policy Action Plan as key objectives that we should be considering a cross-government agencies to support.
If you are from outside the federal government, I'm sure that there are other commitments made by state territory and local leaders that you can use as leverage as well. Being the environment agency, we didn't have any trouble getting this support from our executive. Once you've locked in support from your leadership, you can spread the word across your agency and this highlights that sustainability and procurement is a priority in your agency and it empowers people planning their procurements to make decisions that support sustainable outcomes. This element's even more important for agencies where procurement happens in a decentralised way like we have at DCCEEW and DAFF. When deciding how we would promote sustainability in procurement, we stopped to think about where people go looking when they start a procurement. We wanted prompts throughout the process, but we targeted the planning phases, which in many ways are the most important. To do this, we put guidance on our procurement intranet pages.
We referenced sustainability in our internal procurement policy. We published a sustainable procurement guideline and to really drive enthusiasm and engagement, there's nothing like some friendly competition. We developed the Social Procurement Award. It's an internal staff award for excellence in engagement with indigenous businesses, disability enterprises, reducing modern slavery risks in supply chain, and of course, for considering sustainability and procurement. This award was a really great way of demonstrating that our senior leaders were genuine in getting behind these initiatives. Of course, we promoted all of this through our regular all staff update internal communications channels. If you're wondering about how you might replicate this yourself and don't consider yourself an expert just yet, the absolutely most simple wording you can include in your internal communications is, one, that considering sustainability is a must for all procurements. Two, to understand how to do this, visit the DCCEEW website and check out the sustainable procurement guide. Done.
Where are the opportunities? Where within the procurement cycle can we actually make sure that opportunities are being addressed to get the best outcome? We'd all be familiar with the procurement cycle. I'm sure there are dozens of different versions where we expand on the steps a little bit more, but this graphic sums it up pretty nicely in my opinion, not least because Ree uses it in her training delivery. I'm going to make my way through the procurement cycle and talk about what you might consider at each step and what suitable clauses or wording might look like here and how they'll help you get the best results.
Planning well for your procurement is arguably the most important step when it comes to sustainability, in particular. If you don't ask for it, you won't get it. Take the time to sit with the colleagues that you have involved in your project and brainstorm ways that the goods or services that you're looking for can be delivered sustainably. Remember that we must include these questions in our value for money consideration and we can't evaluate against something if we haven't asked for it. It's really important to think about upfront. Think about these opportunities and what they might look like in an ideal outcome. As an example, we might be looking to fill out a new office in a regional city and we might need to buy some desks. We'd like them to be a standard size with electronic sit to stand and they should be easy to clean. To build in sustainability, they might also be made out of recycled wood or plastics or steel. That steel might have been produced using wind power instead of coal, which makes a big difference. Maybe they get delivered flat pack and assembled onsite to save on fuel and transport costs. Hopefully, they come with no packaging at all or maybe just a little bit of cardboard, but certainly no plastic. The supplier might have a carbon neutral or zero waste business accreditation as well.
This isn't just confined to goods. We can seek sustainability in services also, especially where goods are consumed in the delivery of that service. A good example that's been used before is cleaning services where we can insist that the product packaging is recycled or that the chemicals used have a low environmental impact or that resources like water are conserved appropriately. If you're not sure about opportunities, make sure you research the market and see what's out there. Have conversations with folks in the industry and you might be pleasantly surprised by what can be achieved. That's one of the key things. We need to be engaging with suppliers early on and signalling that we want sustainable outcomes because if we're not asking for them, as I said, we're not going to get them and we need to be using that buying power to generate the increased demand and drive the innovation within the market that delivers that change and that sustainability in the future.
All Australian governments have made commitments to use sustainable procurement to help build demand for recycled content and achieve better outcomes. You can also use the sustainable procurement assessment tool on the DCCEEW website to identify opportunities that are specific to your procurement. Now that you know what you want, approaching the market is about asking for it in the right way. Whether you're using a panel limited tender or open approach to market, maybe the Commonwealth Contracting Suite or some other bespoke documentation. You can build sustainability into your statement requirements. For some contracts, especially in the project in construction space, it's wise to ask for an environmental sustainability plan and this might commit a supplier to improving sustainability in their own supply chain. It might commit them to regular reporting on waste management or maybe ongoing emissions reductions or anything of that nature. It's wise to ask for this plan to flesh out some detail on how that's going to look so that it can be included in your contract.
This keeps your suppliers accountable to their commitments. In your approach to market, make sure that you're asking for the right outcomes but aren't too prescriptive. Being too prescriptive in what you're asking for can restrict your suppliers from innovating in their response and you're at risk of accidentally being inequitable to some potential tenderers. If you ask for a certain certification on materials, you might be inadvertently excluding a small business who can't afford the upfront costs of that certification just yet, even if their supply meets that standard. Likewise, you might be excluding someone who uses a different material that you weren't aware of that was even better. Make sure you're using terms that are specific enough to get the outcome you need, but broad enough to allow for some flexibility and new ideas to emerge. Of course, still use your standards. Your standards are really important for your legal, your safety and your quality control reasons, but be mindful about the other details.
Sometimes that's a tricky line to walk. In these cases, it's really helpful to hold an industry briefing to make sure that you thoroughly explain the outcomes that you're looking for and to engage with questions and ideas from the market in a way that's transparent and equitable. Probity can also be a concern when talking about engaging with industry. There are absolutely ways that discussions can be had that help explore what you need without breaching any of these boundaries. If you're not comfortable, it's good to get some expert advice on how that's best handled. We designed our approach to market sustainability clauses to be flexible to whatever the procurement happens to be. It includes a brief explanation for tenderers of why sustainable procurements important to us and has spaces in the statement of requirements, tenderers response form and evaluation criteria with clear weighting to give transparency to our processes.
If tenderers understand how we evaluate it, it allows them to focus their efforts towards what we are deeming most important. Publishing a draught of the contract terms when approaching the market helps tenderers us understand the expectations around performance and what they're committing to. Right at the end of the sustainable procurement guide, there is some fantastic example clauses which I strongly encourage you to take a look at and adapt to your own templates. It'll be really great to build some model clauses for your agency's own use, focused on the opportunities that are most common in your space. Evaluating the tenders has got to be one of the most interesting parts. Hopefully you've received a good number of responses. You've got plenty of time, plenty of coffee, and you're ready to go. Here's where you'll learn whether your brainstorming, research and approach to market documentation paid off.
Of course, make sure that you're evaluating against the criteria that you set out specifically in your approach to market. In assessing value for money, you first need to ensure that the goods or services are actually going to deliver what you need. Now, recognise that environmental sustainability isn't going to be most important if the tenderer can't build desks strong enough to hold a computer. That's a silly example, but you'll understand how that priority works. All other measures being equal within a tenderer response, sustainable outcomes can be a key factor when you decide who is your preferred tenderer. The clauses we use in our own templates are again designed to be quite flexible so that we can add weighting if we choose to, and we can use a points-based equation to score overall value of money. If you are clear about what you're asking for in your approach to market, you'd know in advance the quality of responses that you'd expect to see.
In fact, it's good practice when you're drafting your approach to market to note down what an ideal response might look like to help your valuation panel down the track and the sustainable procurement guide on DCCEEW's website again has some good examples of ideal responses to the approach clauses. Once you've made your decision, document all of your justifications, and importantly, any lessons that you've learned about seeking and evaluating quality sustainability outcomes because that's going to help you the next time and in the next time and the next time. Evaluations all settled, it's time to negotiate your contract. This is the opportunity to lock in any of the vague or missing details into a tangible action plan. It's just the same for sustainability criteria as it might be for your other deliverables. Just like we can include sustainability in any approach to market format, we can, of course, include it in any contract as well.
If you're buying from a panel, you should, of course, familiarise yourself with a head agreement or deed and whether that has any existing sustainability clauses that you could build upon. Otherwise, again, you could use the clause plan from the Sustainable Procurement Guide as a good place to start. Timing of goods availability at the moment is often a challenge. It's wise to talk about what is or isn't an appropriate substitute if a supplier maybe isn't able to access the goods that you have asked for, especially if the recycled nature of those goods is part of what helped you determine value for money in the first place. You should always embed some sort of mechanism for those conversations to happen if the need ever arises. It's important that all the parties in the contract are accountable to what they're committing to. An environmental sustainability plan is a simple place to start.
As many businesses will have some form of this already available. If you're including a continual improvement objective for environmental sustainability, emissions reduction, recycled content, or any of those other targets, make sure that you capture that in reporting milestones or some other review points as part of the overall performance assessment. Use your contract management plan to make your own life a bit more simple. It helps you stay on top of the environmental milestones as well and not let them fall to the wayside when you are focusing on the other core deliverables of the contract. Continued improvement might also include asking the supplier to work towards achieving a certain accreditation for their services throughout the life of the contract. Now, not only does this help our sustainability objectives, but it also helps the business help themselves because they can, of course, use that accreditation again in the future for other work.
One idea that I personally quite like is asking your supplier to manage any waste or goods at the end of their life in an appropriate way. This could be by sale or donation if the goods are fully functional, which is our circular option, or maybe they can disassemble the goods to allow for more effective recycling or some other sensible disposal mechanism.
If we're talking about goods that might include pollutants or chemicals of concern, that's particularly important as well. And of course, we need to be mindful of how we allow third parties to dispose of relevant property. I should add that if we're asking for supplies to do these things, it's of course, something that we need to be asking about right at the start, not as a light-bulb moment during the negotiations. That's why the planning and the brainstorming at the beginning is really essential. Of course, when you reach the end of your procurement and your feeling really awesome about what you did well and all the outcomes that you achieved and you know that everything was sent off to continuous life in a circular economy, it was recycled properly, and all of those good things, write down all of the things that you did well and what challenges you came up against and what you can do better next time.
It might be other ways that you could add sustainability to your contract. Other ways that you might phrase a clause to make it a bit more user-friendly in the contract management phases or anything else that you think might have been helpful, were you to do it again. And share these lessons with your colleagues. This helps everyone else achieve better outcomes as well as we work together to create a more circular and sustainable economy through government procurement. If you have some really great lessons or really complex challenges as well, share them with the C-SPARC team because I know that they're always really keen to build their knowledge base. Once again, I really encourage you all to visit the DCCEEW website, digest that sustainable procurement guide and the sustainable procurement toolkit and draught your own model clauses that work for your agency and the types of things that you buy regularly. Keep them handy, share them around with your colleagues, use them and let us know how it goes. The C-SPARC team are really genuine about wanting to hear your successes and challenges. Thank you. Now, I'll hand over to Ree to talk about procurement training and how that is a massive part of success in sustainable procurement.
Thanks Rhys. With the expert advice of our procurement specialists, I designed a training package that supports capability uplift across procurement activities. What did that look like? And how was it realised? In developing the training framework, particular attention was given to the knowledge gaps the procurement team kept seeing and clauses were planned to address them. A contract management framework was implemented and training resources aligned with that content, including the procurement lifecycle slide we showed earlier. To the best of our knowledge, we were the first department to implement a mandatory essentials e-learning package for finance and procurement. This was supplemented with a fundamental module for information that was deemed necessary, though not mandatory, sorry, for all staff to know. From there, the procurement modules, including accounts payable and contract management, were built in a workflow style format to begin addressing those knowledge gaps. Our first clause and first opportunity to address sustainability with a captive audience focused on the principles of procurement.
What were those knowledge requirements? What did our people absolutely need to know? Where were they going wrong with procurement processes? Did they understand what they were doing and why? How could we engage with them early to provide customised guidance and advice? And how could we address sustainability as part of the training. In training delivery, we were already mentioning the four E's from the Commonwealth Procurement Rules being efficient, effective, ethical, and economical, and placing emphasis on the fifth theme, environmental, but more emphasis on environmental sustainability was needed, which came about with the update to the Commonwealth Procurement Rules of the CPRs on July 1 this year. Item 4.58 of the CPRs relates to environmental sustainability of the proposed goods and services. It was here that we were able to influence and impact our learning outcomes more definitively. Engaging with the Commonwealth Sustainable Procurement Advocacy and Resource Centre or C-SPARC enabled our principles training to clearly focus on explicit advice regarding sustainable procurement and empowered participants to seek out environmental options.
Point one on the slide, start influencing from the outset and explain the why. Why are we doing what we are doing? Why do we have to do it? For example, the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and the National Waste Policy Action Plan. Engage with participants about the what. Different procurement methods including sustainable procurement consideration. Point three, provide additional resources where to source more information and when to include sustainability considerations. Empower your participants to own their knowledge, how they can participate in additional training where it's needed. Extend collaboration opportunities to who can be included in the planning phase, such as the risk management team. Including this information in our principles training allowed us to influence the learning outcomes and provide measurable impact through increased opportunities or at the least potential to through education. When we're talking impact, we look at course completions as a measurable form of data analysis.
When you consider the changes that have occurred for DAFF and DCCEEW since July 1, it's a wonderful result that more than 3,000 staff have completed our courses. That's 3,000 people that have been provided with learning outcomes that increase their skills, knowledge and participation opportunities in procurement activities. It's 3,000 people that now understand what sustainable procurement is and how they can engage with it. That's 3,000 people that will potentially change the way our procurements are planned, managed, and delivered. That's 3,000 people that can impact supply chains to improve sustainability options. In keeping with the green theme, we firmly believe that educating our people leads to more strategic outcomes and the grass really is greener where you water it. We've had a wonderful outcome this year as well and we're focused and motivated to continue building the capability of our people. The Gold Award was presented to the team on 31 October this year and recognises the efforts DAWE had made in commencing the process of developing a capability model.
We were truly humbled to have our work recognised with the Gold Award for excellence. What's important to recognise here is that people like Rhys, all of our procurement accounts payable and contract management subject matter experts and input from the C-SPARC team made this award possible. It was the work we commenced while still the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment that enabled our nomination. We still have more to do. Building our frameworks to encompass the opportunities available to us is our key outcome. We are developing new courses. There's at least another five or six courses on my list to produce before, say, March next year.
We are increasing the focus on sustainable procurement in existing courses. We're further engaging with our stakeholders to continuously improve the training framework and using those lessons learned to do that. We're working with our SMEs and specialists across agencies outside of DAFF and DCCEEW to drive and deliver collaboration opportunities. We are sharing all of our training content to build the one APS focus on core activities and functions. For more details on any of the information you've seen today, please head over to the DCCEEW website where there's lots of information to help you out. There's a sustainable procurement toolkit, the model clause is mentioned and lots of other helpful links and resources to explore.
Standards Australia - ISO Standard 20400
Presentation by Stephanie Groves, Standards Australia. Video length: 12mins.
What does London, the French National Railway and the City and County of Swansea Council have in common? Well, there may be a few things, but the one I'm going to talk about today is sustainable procurement, specifically the ISO 20400 standard on sustainable procurement. What are standards? Standards are voluntary documents that set out specifications, procedures and guidelines that aim to ensure products, services and systems are safe, consistent, and reliable? They cover a variety of subjects including consumer products and services, the environment, construction, energy, water management systems, and more. ISO 20400 is an international standard that provides strategic guidance to organisations both public and private of any size, sector and industry to integrate sustainability procurement practices and policies with a strong focus for managers and directors to align procurement with organisation and sustainability goals. The standard looks at sustainability in a holistic way that encompasses three dimensions, economic, environmental, and social.
There's often a misconception that sustainability is primarily an environmental concept, but sustainability encompasses economic and social considerations. Each of these spheres on the screen cannot exist alone. ISO 20400 defines sustainable procurement as procurement that has the most positive environmental, social and economic impacts possible across the entire life cycle, and that strives to minimise adverse impacts, meaning that the pursuit of one of these pillars should avoid coming at the expense of another. For example, health and safety, human rights, supplier relations, purchasing performance, supply chain security and ethical behaviour should be harmonised with the issues such as climate change, non-sustainable resource use or depletion and loss of fertile soil and biodiversity. Broadly speaking, the standard provides guidance for all people involved in the procurement process, including the strategy, conditions and management techniques needed to implement and continuously improve procurement.
For example, an organisation can reduce their reliance on virgin materials by purchasing recycled materials or using their purchasing power to support disadvantaged communities, support indigenous business, or ensure more resilient supply chains by purchasing from local suppliers.
Effective procurement can drive good behaviour within the supply chains and can drive demand for circular goods and services. In the public procurement context, governments have a large sphere of influence through their purchasing power and can take direct action to lead to the transition to a sustainable future through procurement policies and practices. In saying this, this is a guidance standard. There are no explicit requirements. Unlike other well-known international standards such as ISO 9001, organisations can't be certified against it. You won't find guidance on what products to buy or avoid, but rather it focuses on assisting organisations to implement a framework to embed sustainability considerations into policy, strategy, procurement functions and processes. How has ISO 20400 created? ISO is the International Organisation for Standardisation, which is an independent non-government international organisation. ISO 20400 was developed between 2013 and 2017 by a project committee formed by approximately 50 National Standards Bodies, including members from their UN Environment Programme, the International Trade Union Confederation, and the OECD. Through National Standards Bodies, experts were brought together to share knowledge and negotiate on all aspects of the standard from the scope, definitions and content.
Rather than being based on a vote, ISO standards are developed through a consensus based approach, which you can see on the right-hand side of the slide. The standard was identically adopted in 2018 and is currently under a systematic review at ISO to determine if the standard is still up-to-date or if it requires further revision or amendments. Looking at the bigger picture, ISO 20400 supports and is also supported by a number of other key standards. For example, 20400 supports the ISO 14001 requirement to integrate sustainable practices into supply chain and similarly, ISO 26000 forms the basis for ISO 20400 and it really focuses on those same core principles such as human rights, labour practices, the environment, fair operating practices, consumer issues, community involvement and development and organisational governance within the sustainable procurement context. ISO 20400 also contributes to the attainment of several of SDGs that I've put on the slide, such as responsible consumption and production, climate action, reduced inequalities and decent work and economic growth. Doing a deep dive into the standard, there are four main clauses that I'd like to highlight. Clause four, which is basically sustainable procurement 101 and guides organisations on why they should undertake sustainable procurement strategies and policies.
Clause four... Clause five, sorry, is aimed at top management and provides guidance on how sustainability considerations should be integrated at a strategic level to ensure all parties involved understand the intention and direction of the procurement policy. Clause six is intended for procurement management and is focused on organising the procurement function towards sustainability. It describes organisation conditions, governance management techniques, metrics, indicators, all needs implement and continually improved sustainable procurement. And clause seven is aimed at individuals responsible for the actual procurement and includes guidance on things such as analysing costs, suppliers, managing supplier relation and contracts. Taking an example straight from the standard, when we are thinking about human rights as it relates to procurement, it's expected that strategies and policies ensure communication with your suppliers so that goods and services do not involve discrimination either against workers, local communities, indigenous people, women and girls, people with disabilities or other vulnerable groups.
Or if we're thinking about environmental impacts in conjunction with ISO 14001, procurement strategies and policies should also assess sustainable resources used by collaborating with suppliers to improve the use of, say, renewable energy sources and the efficient use of materials. This can include reuse, recycling, circular economy, and lifecycle approaches.
Now that I've covered the theory, I'd like to bring you back to my earlier comment on the City of London and talk about their sustainable procurement strategy. One of the 30 objectives of the City of London's 2016 to 2019 procurement strategy was to maximise resource efficiency by reducing waste throughout the procurement cycle. The most effective way for minimising waste is to consider the optimum route for disposal during procurement planning. That looks like considering the content, separability, recyclability and/or the resale value of component parts during the procurement process, making sure that's strongly encouraged as was the use of closed loose systems. This was done through including waste as one of the four elements in environmental management questions used as part of the supply evaluation and also marking bidders on their level of ambition, set procedures, staff training and specific targets on waste minimization, diversion from landfill and recycling rates.
One of the other objectives was to also protect people and the local environment by mitigating air pollution. This was done through ensuring all bidders committed to at least one of the action items listed in the air quality menu as part of the contracts in which vehicles are used. For example, green driver training trials of electric or hybrid vehicles, telematics driver performance software, which all had to be started within three months. Another great example was the standalone procurement policy to support the air quality strategy, which highlighted the importance of air quality issues, which was really used to facilitate senior buy-in on the more ambitious aspects of the policy, which included a ban on buying or leasing diesel vehicles unless absolutely operationally necessary and a requirement for taxi firms to provide hybrids by default. In the report of the City of London, they concluded that their procurement strategy had had a significant and material impact on the approach to achieving these two objectives.
Jumping across the channel to the National Society of French Railroads, SNCF, which is a state-owned rail company that uses circular economy policies to support sustainable procurement in the railroad sector. In 2017, the procurement volume for SNCF equaled approximately 16.6 billion euros and approximately 31,000 suppliers with the procurement charter including specification and tender documents that act in accordance with a variety of norms and standards including ISO 20400. Some examples of the results from the strategy include dismantling and recycling of rolling stock so that 90% of each of the TGV trains are recycled and reclaiming track components, so that 97.3% of rails were recycled in 2019. As a result of this strategy, one of the subsidiaries of SNCF saw a 20% increase in revenue from reclaiming discarded materials between 2017 and 2018.
Bringing things back to a smaller scale, my last example comes from the City and County of Swansea Council in Wales. In 2017 the CCoS moved 1,400 employees based in Swansea Civic Centre traditional desk allocation to a more agile hot-desking environment. The CCoS explored innovative ways to reuse and refurbish existing furniture through tender specifications that required existing furniture and floor to be reused, refurbished and incorporated into the new layer. Tenders included a minimum requirement for 80% of the furniture to either be upcycled or recycled and to include existing furniture already held by CCoS. The results of this included 486 items of furniture that were reused or remanufactured, which diverted approximately 7.8 tonnes from landfill and resulted in a total CO2 equivalent savings of approximately 29.1 tonnes.
They also saw that 44% of floor space was carpeted with reused carpet tiles and because of sourcing from remanufactured furniture and reused carpet enabled the procurement process to create six new full-time positions. Now you hopefully have some further understanding of ISO 20400 and how it can assist with all aspects of the procurement process. If you'd like to learn anything more about what I've touched on today, you can jump onto any of the websites on the slide. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to hearing any questions you may have and thank you so much for your time.
The Netherlands Government – Transitioning to Circular Procurement
Presentation by Mr Joan Prummel, strategic circular economies advisor to the Netherlands Government. Video length: 24 minutes.
Hello and Welcome to our Masterclass on Circular Opportunities for Government Procurement. My name is Pam Proud. I work with in CSPARC, the Commonwealth Sustainable Procurement Advocacy and Resource Centre.
Today we are broadcasting from the land of the Ngunnawal people who are the traditional custodians of our land. I acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to this city and the region. As our audience today is spread across all of Australia, I extend that recognition to the traditional custodians of all the lands that on which you're gathered today and a particular acknowledgement to any Aboriginal Torres Strait Islanders on our webinar today.
Today is part of C-SPARC's series to highlight the principles behind sustainable procurement and how it can be applied in the government context. Our presenter today is Mr Joan Prummel who is a Strategic Circular Economy's Advisor to the Netherlands Government. He will share his insights into the drivers for transitioning from sustainable procurement to circular approach, some examples and how circular procurement contributes to moving towards a more circular economy.
I'm fortunate to have Mr Prummel joining me in the studio today as part of his visit to Australia. I encourage you to ask questions via the chat box. We will cover them at the Q&A at the end of the presentation. I hope you enjoy today's presentation. Welcome Joan.
Well, thank you for inviting me. Thank you. Thank you for having me here. This slide actually is my resume. It explains what I'm doing for the Dutch Government. We have a very small country. The Netherlands is a very, very tiny dot on our planet with a very open economy, depending heavily on import and export. So we set this ambition to get to circularity in 2050 and realise that we will not be circular if the countries that we trade with won't become circular as well because what's coming in and what's getting out needs to come from circularity and go to circularity. So our ambition for 2050 is heavily depending on what happens in the rest of the world. So we created a job, which is mine, the best job in our central government, to stimulate circular economy outside of the Netherlands. So there you go. That's my resume. That's what I do and I'm happy to be here in Australia today.
What I'll do in this coming I think like 20 minutes is briefly explain a bit about circular economy not being a goal, thinking about ecosystems and procurement as a driver for change. Then I'll end with some examples. After that, as Pam said, we have time for some discussion and questions. So circular economy is not a goal. This is one of the main reasons that at least I think circular economy is not about idealism, but it's more doing your math. Earth Overshoot Day is the date that we use as a global population. We use all the resources that the planet will provide in a year. So ideally given that date would be December 31st or later. Which is not because this year, it was on July 28th, meaning we need two planets if everybody would continue using resources and products the way we do today.
But then they also calculate this on a national level, on a country level. For the Netherlands, the date is April 12th. That means that if everybody on the planet would consume products and resources in the way we do as the Netherlands, we would need three planets. That's where idealism ends and just pure simple mathematics comes in. We only have one planet, so we need to be smart in the way we use our resources, in the way we reuse the resources and the products we make from them in order to get to a better use of the planet and well, remain here altogether. I think I didn't ... I thought I put Australia on as well, but apparently I didn't. But that's just closely before the Netherlands, you're around the same date. I think it's end of March. But you'll have a look at it, country overshoot days. You can look it up on the internet.
If you look at the slides on the bottom right, it's a link. You'll click to the country days anyway. The Circularity Gap Report, that's another decent source of information. It's a very interesting and readable report and I advise you to go to the website because that's actually an interactive version of the report. So you click through and in 30 minutes, you know what it says. One of the main conclusions is this one, that 70% of all emissions somehow is generated, is connected to the use of materials. So it's about extraction, processing, transport, manufacturing. Everything we do with materials leads also to greenhouse gas emissions. 70% is related to materials, so circular economy is a very important trigger and starting point to fight climate change.
This graph says and this is from their website, this graph says that if we do what all of us promised at the COP in Paris and before that in Kyoto, that the national goals that we made, the promises we made, then we will have a horizontal line in the graph on the right, ending up with two to three degrees global warming. If we continue doing what we do right now, which is not the same as what we all promise to do, we'll end up above in three to six degrees global warming. But if we shift more towards circularity, circular economy, according to this report, in a simple definition, by the way, it said globally on 8.6%.
So if we double that to 17, they say we'll actually end up at 1.8 degrees global warming. Now this is calculation, it's not really ... There's no way to notice. But if you calculate it and you use the 70% emission connected to materials as an indicator and then you start improving your circularity, then you at least understand that circular economy is fighting climate change as well. It's not only about resources, it is about creating a better planet. That's exactly why we say circular economy is not a goal. It's a means to an end. It's a way to approach several of the sustainable development goals and we should do it in a sustainable way.
So a systemic approach of the SDGs, this list of policy topics is actually the policies that in our national government somehow are connected to circularity. They all have a paragraph on circular economy in it. It's about climate, it's about nature and biodiversity, water, international trades, geopolitics. We've all seen what's happened, what's caused by the war in Ukraine for grain and oil for instance. So resources are very important and the smarter use of them is how circularity connects to all these topics. This is on the one end, a very promising picture because it states that circularity in our country is connected to all these different policy areas.
In the same time, for me it's a bit worrying because we don't have any coordination on all of the circularity at the moment. Everybody is implementing circularity in their own fashion. We need to coordinate more just to show you that we're not perfect either in the Netherlands. The contribution to societal issues, this is what I already mentioned. Circular economy is not only about resources, it's about climate change, but it's also about biodiversity loss. It's also about pollution. It's also about supply risks, and it's also about social injustice. That's not even mentioned in this graph.
Circular economy is a way to interfere and collaborate within supply chains, in value chains, and you'll encounter these issues and you can work with them because you need them. We'll talk about that later during the procurement part. Rethinking in ecosystems, that's the next part of the presentation. This is a very simplified way of looking at circular economy as a system.
So top left, it's about materials. They could be secondary, they could be renewable, they could be regrow-able. It's a matter of choice depending on which product you want to make. That's the bottom, the top right domain that's about circular design and production. So choose your materials wisely. Think about how to use the least possible amount of materials, think about how you'll design your product so it will be repairable and remanufacturable, refurbishable, whatever.
Then you go to the use domain, that's bottom right circular procurement and use and reuse of products. So what you reckon is that between these two will be all the new business models that we talk about, repair, remanufacturing, refurbishing, that's all happening, most of them between these two domains. End of life of a product, but only then we'll have the fourth domain and that's separation and recycling. This is what traditionally we would call waste management. But talking about circular economy, we'd rather talk about separating all these materials from these very well designed products and recycle them back into reusable materials, which we can use as input for production again.
So this being the simplified way of looking at a, well, let's say a circular value chain. We must understand that we'll always have waste. Waste will not disappear completely, but it will diminish. The better your circularity is in the system, the waste prevention, so to say, by design and longer use of products and recycling of materials, the less waste you'll have to incinerate. So that means that residual waste becomes an indicator of circularity. It's the outcome of a huge systemic process.
This also means that from our point of view, circular economy doesn't start with waste. It ends there. So waste could be the trigger because waste issues might trigger you to think about how to avoid all this. But in the same time, if you start with waste, you might end up asking, the turkey would be on Christmas menu and we'd show that the turkey won't punch in his own name on that menu.
So if this is the circle economy system, then these are examples of policy interventions that we do. On the separation and recycling bit, it's about extended producer responsibility. We have taxes and even bans on landfill. We create recycling centres. If you move up to the materials part, it's about stimulating these secondary materials so we have our deposit and return systems, which actually work very well. We stimulate bio-based materials if possible. Then to the design and production, we actually stimulate reduce of materials. We provide courses on circuit design. We try to manage the repairability in France, in Europe, they created the law on the right on repairability of product, which we started out a bit laughing about a few years ago when they introduced it. Now the European Commission actually said they want it for all of Europe. Well, we totally agree on that.
Then there's circular procurement and repair facilities and the business models that you need to use a product as long as possible at the highest possible value. So circular procurement as a way to stimulate the change in markets, the change that we needed. In the end, if you want to close loop, that will only work if you make these four domains, well, work together. Ecosystem collaboration, circular procurement will not lead to circular economy. Circular design will also not lead to circular economy. But put them together and connect them through separation and recycling, you might end up closing loops for materials, having products in the longest possible use, but that only works if you collaborate. So procurement could instigate market change, but then the market should actually change the design of their products and the recycling companies will actually have a lot of input for the designers, which materials to use, how to connect these so they can make actually living out of reusing and recycling these materials.
This is a little in between. We came here last week with what we call a waistband consortia, a bunch of Dutch companies all in the waste management area. We realised that what they were doing was all surfesising somehow that with your recycling and separation activities, you could stimulate from waste management angle the development of circular economy. So it's about design and production. It's about procurement again. Then we go to the procurement as a driver for change. That's what we are all here for, I guess. Circular procurement is leverage. It's stimulating things to happen. So this is circular procurement influencing the circular value chain, try to use your position as a client, as a user in this value chain to stimulate the rest and influence the rest, collaborate with them to create circularity. That's what circular procurement is about.
Why would we use procurement for that? Well, basically being a government, it's quite simple. Procurement is how we get products into our organisation. We're not a production company. We create policies and laws and regulations. It's all administrative. So the products that we use, however, could be circular, our buildings, our furniture, catering, energy. Procurement is the process that gets them in. It's the gatekeeper.
Procurement also creates a market for circular products. As a government, we are quite a big chunk of demand for markets. So we can actually stimulate producers and suppliers to make changes because we can promise them a market for these products. This is actually the most important, I think. Every circular purchase leads to real circular business activity. If you offer me something on my circular tender, you'll have a working circular business case. So you are creating real circular economy in the moment.
It's also about practicing what you preach. What we ask from our citizens and from our cities to improve on repairability, to separate their waste, we should do ourselves. Whatever we do ourself again comes in with procurement. So circular procurement is a lever for circular economy. Now the relevance of procurement and this is ... I actually did not check that. I'm here for a week now, but forgot to check this. This is my estimation of what I think it could mean in Australia, 400 billion Australian dollars being between 15 and 18% of your GDP which is normally the case.
So this is the size of the lever that we're talking about. If you think procurement can actually stimulate, these are 400 billion small levers to stimulate that change. That's a lot of money every year again. Procurement, for me, circular procurement is the same as circular economy. Circular economy is the systemic approach, actually addressing nine of the 17 SDGs directly and the other eight indirectly. Procurement then is using demands as a lever to facilitate that, to accelerate circular economy. So basically procurement is still fulfilling a client's needs, but in a way that it supports the development and existence of circular economy.
Potential versus impact. That's, this is an important slide from procurement perspective because these two balls, we already know. Technically a lot is possible. We can reduce materials. We can design for this assembly. I think a lot of created cradle principles which are used in designing products, and there will be revenue models as well because for instance, the cradle to cradle chairs are being used. They are sold on the market only from a circular perspective. This is still the potential for circularity. This is actually the circular impact and partly created by procurement because you need a contract that actually makes sure that after your use of, for instance, this cradle to cradle chair, it actually will be reused with another customer. That it will be repaired, that some parts will be replaced and end of life that everything will be recycled. If not, then there's no circularity in that.
I met this guy in an office. He had created furniture, was very proud of it, pretended to be very sustainable with that. I asked him, "What will happen if the chair breaks?" He said, Well, I'll throw it away and buy a new one. So that's the end of circularity. Circularity is in potential available in any cradle to cradle product, but it will only exist if you facilitate the process. So have a contract on repair, on maintenance and on reuse after your use and then you'll create circular impact. You can use procurements to have that.
Now what we do in the Netherlands, we do a lot about collaborative learning. We have acceleration networks on circular procurement. We have our buyer groups being actually quite the same, but specifically on product groups or ICT or building or catering. We also try to set up buyer and supplier groups, which is a bit tricky from a government perspective, bringing them together. In the same time, it's very interesting to connect them. We have our master classes and trainings, a lot of tools that we have developed to support our purchases and our clients in making the right choices, e-learnings, criteria tool, Dubocalc. We even have a Bank of Bridges to reuse bridges from one place of the country in another.
What we do internationally is actually quite the same. We support international projects. We set up these international learning networks. We initiated the circular fair ICT Pact, which is an international collaboration to stimulate circularity in ICT needed because that's an international sector. We again do our master classes and trainings and the tools I just mentioned. We try to translate all of them and have them online so anybody in the world can have a look at it. It's not that we have the best tooling, but at least we try to support anybody including you to have a look at it and either just use it as they are or use it as inspiration to make your own tools.
Now some examples, that's the end part of my presentation. Just to also make you realise that circular procurement is exactly the same as circular economy. Circular procurement is about buying this kind of chairs. These are cradle to cradle office chairs designed for this assembly, designed for repair. The only way to make that happen is to buy them, use them, repair them, reuse them, ect. So procurement is exactly facilitating that. We have the municipal office in a city in Netherlands, Venlo, which is partly renovated, partly built according to cradle to cradle principles, even cleaning the air outside of the building.
The carpet tiles, which actually are made from recycled fishing nets, beautiful example of reuse of materials and solving environmental issues in the same time because these fishing nets would be on the bottom of the ocean if we didn't reuse them. Biobased lignine to replace bitumen and asphalt, which is also about biobased and also about replacing materials that are toxic and that we actually don't want in our economies anymore.
The biobased tree anchors, which actually replace the pole next to young trees. It will feed the tree and you don't have to replace them anymore. Fairly small. This is a very big one, from our own central government, the office furniture. When we decided to have circular tender on furniture, we actually were looking at the innovative new products that would be designed according to circular principles. But we ended up thinking that we'd better reuse what we already have. So this huge tender for 100,000 working places ended up being a tender of asking for maintenance and repair for longer use of our existing furniture.
Therefore, we have an expected annual saving of 2.5 to 4 million euros. That's a bit depending on other variables as well. Last but not least, I brought one icon with me just to show that circular procurement can also be done in huge products. This is a circular bridge. We prototyped together with the market. So together with design and construction companies, we actually set up this experiment creating a circular bridge, which wasn't even that difficult to think of, but it was more difficult to create it. It's about a a bridge that is made for this assembly. That is actually made to be resized if needed and that can be replaced in other places. So it's not only about furniture and coffee cups, it's also about huge concrete structures. These are the aspects of the systemic approach that we did in the bridge.
It's about choosing the right material, using certain design principles, having procurement enabling all of this, implementing reuse models, having far less waste because this bridge will be reused for five or six times that equals like 200 years of use instead of having a new bridge every 50 years. So there's a lot of waste and pollution and emission avoided. In the end, there's a link in this slide as well. You click on it, you get more information on this huge project. We are looking for the next place to actually apply this bridge.
To wrap it up, circular economy is a systemic approach to tackle global issues. It's about climate, biodiversity, pollution, social justice and security of supply. It's about all of them, not one of them. A circular procurement, well, that's the powerful lever to facilitate a needed market change and to accelerate circular economy in no matter what base, in no matter what area. But just if you start asking for it, things might change. That's I think the best step circular procurement should take.
So thank you very much for your attention. I'd like to end with Martin Luther King, who once said, "You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." We don't know where we are going yet. Circular economy is unpredictable for the next three or five or 10 years. But we do know, we do have a hint of which direction we should go. So let's together take the first step and see where we get. Thank you so much.
Western Sydney Airport – integrating sustainable procurement into infrastructure projects
Presentation by Simone Concha, Executive Manager Sustainability, Western Sydney Airport. Video length: 13mins.
My name is Simone Concha and I'm the Sustainability Manager for Western Sydney Airport. My role encompasses planning, design, construction, operations, and corporate sustainability. I'd now like to honour the first nations people who are the original custodians of the land on which we're building Western Sydney Airport.
[Welcome to country in Darug language].
Which means, "Hello. Welcome. Good to see you on Darug country". We would like to acknowledge and pay our deepest respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, past, present, and emerging. We are Darug, born of this land, born of the spirit. We have walked this land since the dreaming. Darug clan lands embraces the land, rivers, and sea from the Blue Mountains to the ocean, from Hawkesbury in the north and down as far as Appin in the south. Our ancestors' voices are echoed in our own as we still live in these changed, but beautiful places.
This land has seen the Darug people gather here for thousands of years to hunt and feast, to sing and dance in ceremony. It is a land rich in dreaming. Ancient spirits of the earth creator live here and we are privileged to be custodians of this heritage. Our mothers and grandmothers are our teachers, they teach us of the dreaming, our language, and our culture as their mothers before taught them. Our bodies and minds carry the seeds of their wisdom, the memories of a different past. We may not look the way our ancestors did, we may not live the way they did, but we are still here, we are still strong, and we have more than 60,000 years of culture in our blood and in our hearts. So tread softly on this ancient land because our dream time is still happening. Our dream time is forever.
Our language is an important part of maintaining our culture, as you will hear today, a way of passing on the old ways of our people. Now I will welcome you all with a very special welcome that has been gifted to me by my beautiful grandmother, Darug elder, Auntie Edna Watson, and then I will translate into English for you.
This is Darug lands. It is the lands of our ancestors. Their spirits still walk among us, spirits that have been here since the dreaming. Our language and our culture have been passed down from generation to generation to continue an unbroken culture that has extended for thousands of years. In the language of our people, we welcome you to Darug lands.
Let me tell you a little bit about the airport. We're building this airport because the Sydney basin needs a new aviation capacity and it needs a modern 24/7 airport. Kingsford-Smith Airport is predicted to reach capacity around 2035. Western Sydney International will have the third largest catchment of any Australian airport when it opens in 2026, which is about 3 million people.
We're currently building Western Sydney Airport stage one, which includes the first of two runways, the associated taxiways apron, terminal building, and landside roads and car parks. The capacity for stage one is 10 million annual passengers, but the final master plan capacity for the airport is 82 million annual passengers, which would be a similar size to Heathrow Airport today. This capacity might be reached sometime around the 2060s. Connecting transport links are being built, including two Sydney Metro train stations at the terminal building and the business park. The new M12 highway will connect the airport to the M7. Cycleways and express busways from Liverpool will also feature.
This video will give you an idea of how much work has occurred since 2018. The project started with the early earthworks package in the top right corner of the site, which was a bite sized piece of the earthworks to get things ready for the main construction packages, test procedures and frameworks and refined construction techniques. Bulk earthwork started in earnest in 2020, flattening the site ready for the construction of the terminal which started early in 2022, and the runway and roads, which will start construction in late 2022 and 2023.
Our sustainability vision is to design, build, and operate a thriving, safe, sustainable world-leading airport. The airport will conserve natural resources, make a positive difference in the community, and support the health and wellbeing of employees and visitors. The Western Sydney Airport project started in 2018, and the sustainability policy was created immediately after that. To comply with the EIS and align with the stage one construction program, the design and construction sustainability plan was completed in 2019. In 2022, Western Sydney Airport is developing the operations sustainability strategy, which will encompass the entire airport site and the airport business.
The foundational objective for Western Sydney Airport is to create economic and social benefit for Western Sydney, for example, by creating employment pathways for first nations people and people from other diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds, and by engaging first nations businesses to help build the airport. The airport is designed to be resource efficient, considering both demand and supply. Terminal building includes water efficient fittings and it uses recycled water or rain water for all non-potable water uses. The terminal building is designed to be 10% more energy efficient than the National Construction Code requires and it generates solar electricity on the roof. The design allows for future changes, such as expansion, climate change impacts, and technology developments. Electric vehicle charging is being provided for airside and landside vehicles. We work closely with the community, neighbouring projects, the Commonwealth, and our customers to make sure Western Sydney Airport is meeting stakeholders' expectations.
Sustainability is integrated across everything we do at Western Sydney Airport. It's woven through every stage of the project, including planning, procurement, design, construction, operations, and corporate. We use industry recognised sustainability rating schemes to validate the sustainability of the project. These include Green Star, infrastructure sustainability, and neighbours' ratings. Sustainability is included in every contractual agreement from consultants to contractors, suppliers, office management, and lease agreements. These include both social and environmental sustainability requirements.
Western Sydney Airport, alongside our delivery partner, Bechtel, have engaged five major works packages to deliver the stage one project. These are earthworks, terminal, landside roads and facilities, airside runway and taxiways, and technology. The Australian government is the sole shareholder providing the $5.3 billion of funding to build the airport. Each package is contractually obliged to comply with the sustainability plan plus an additional sustainability appendix, which includes further design detail on specific sustainability requirements, such as energy efficiency for the terminal and recycled content for airside and landside.
You can see the integration complexity for the packages across this site. Not only does Western Sydney Airport manage integration with our own construction packages, but we also manage integration and site access with Sydney Metro and M12, who are building rail and road infrastructure on the site as well.
One thing that made life easier for the sustainability team was undertaking market engagement early on, with three of the biggest suppliers of concrete and asphalt. Those are the two materials that have the largest carbon footprint for the project, so they represent the biggest opportunity for impact. We interviewed concrete and asphalt suppliers so that we could understand the range between business as usual and innovation, to be aware of risks and challenges such as resource availability, and also the geographic location of sourcing so that we could understand potential cost premiums or savings for recycled content and other issues with environmental legislation or standards.
Not only did we interview suppliers, but we also interviewed peak bodies and shared knowledge with other infrastructure projects, such as Sydney Metro and Barangaroo Precinct. With this knowledge, we were able to confidently set performance-based requirements in the specifications. Performance-based requirements set the maximum or minimum targets and let the market decide on how to best achieve them. For example, we set the requirement for 4 Star Green Star and nominated certain mandatory credits, but left the rest up to the tenderers.
The mandatory credits are the ones that provide the most value to Western Sydney Airport, such as energy efficiency. But the rest were selected by the builder based on ease of construction and value for money. We found it really helpful to include a requirement for tenderers to include an estimate of embodied carbon emissions associated with their design. This made it easier for us to fairly compare the sustainable design of tenderers, even if their designs were quite different. After tender, it's so important to check that the requirements all actually make it into the contract, and then during contract management, the aim of the game is to ensure that the minimum requirements are being met by regular monitoring of design and construction.
We're very hands on in design reviews and we challenge what is put forward. Sometimes sustainability outcomes can be improved at no extra cost, so it's always really good to ask. Also, audits can show up both areas of good performance and under performance. At our most recent audit at terminal building, I walked through the sample room and saw a cardboard void former that I didn't even know was being used, and this is a reduced carbon product so it's a really good sustainability initiative. So visiting site regularly during construction is really important to see what's happening and to make sure that the right products are being used, but also to prompt questions about improvements and innovations, or just to bring awareness to how you can do things differently next time.
Thank you so much for your attention. I hope this has been informative and useful for you. If you have any questions or you just want to keep track of development at Western Sydney Airport, please use any of these ways to stay connected with us.
Barangaroo, Sydney - integrating sustainable procurement into construction projects
Presentation by Ciere Kenny, Consultant - Sustainable Futures, Lendlease. Video length: 15mins.
Hi everyone. My name is Ceire Kenny. I work for Lendlease as an Embodied Carbon and Life Cycle Assessment Specialist, and today I've got a pretty cool case study for you guys on One Sydney Harbour Tower 3, where we were able to procure low body carbon aluminium as a facade. So look, just at the top of this by the way, I'm going to be talking about aluminium a lot in this presentation, and I'm from the States, so a bit of translation, when I say aluminium, I really mean aluminium. Okay? Cool? Everyone on board? Awesome.
I like to start off by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land, the Gadigal people of the ordination from which I'm speaking today, and I pay my respects to elders past, present, and emerging. And like I said, I'm from the States so I actually didn't grow up learning a whole lot about Aboriginal culture until I moved here eight years ago. And one thing that fascinated me was that deep connection that they have to land and country and the planet really. So I think if we're looking forward for sustainable solutions going into the future, all we really have to do often is look back to the past and unearth that indigenous knowledge that's been there for a really long time.
I'd like to start off also by giving people a little bit of context about Lendlease. So we are a large, international organisation. We do investment management and construction and development and I work in the Sustainable Futures team. We have been working and building up the internal life cycle assessment in body carbon capabilities within Lendlease for the past 10 years, which has been pretty cool.
So what's new and exciting about Lendlease? We have recently announced our mission zero targets. So we are 1.5 degree line company and that has two major milestones in it. We got a net zero carbon target by 2025 covering our scope one and two emissions, and an absolute zero carbon target by 2040. That includes our scope one, two, and three emissions with no offsets, and as I like to say, no excuses. Those are really ambitious targets and they should be. And out of those targets, scope three is going to be our biggest challenge yet. The majority of Lendlease's emissions, like 80% or 90% or something like that, come from our scope three and the bulk of that is from the emissions associated with our building materials. So to get to where we need to be, we're going to have to drastically change the way we build.
So what does that look like? Well, in the industry historically, sustainability has been more pockets of excellence on individual projects where what the targets require is that we combine a bottom up with a top down approach. So you have the climate targets there at the top, and then that means that each of the regions have to come up with their own decarbonization roadmaps. So we work across the US, Europe, Australia, and Asia. So each of those regions have to come up with their own decarbonization roadmaps for what they're going to be doing at set milestones. That then leads to excellent supply chain partnerships. We need to partner with suppliers that we know are going to decarbonize at the same rate as us so that we'll be able to get to where we need to be by 2040. That then leads to specific design guidelines and minimum sustainability standards.
So what these will do is give that clarity and consistency across the business, for not only here's the minimum expectations of sustainability, but here's what excellence in sustainability looks like. That then leaves to really specific and well thought out development briefs and project targets, making sure that those targets are based off of good benchmarking and that they're ambitious, yet viable. And then at a project level, that will trickle down to excellent material specifications and sustainability in procurement decisions.
So, what does that look like at a project level? You're going to need to use iterative life cycle assessment. In fact, to measure your scope three emissions and to have a decarbonization journey, life cycle assessment is a vital tool in that tool belt. So for those of you who don't know, life cycle assessment or LCA is a holistic measure of the environmental impacts with something. So for a building, that goes from cradle to grave. And at the end of the day, LCA's just that, it's a good measure. But the true power of LCA is when you leverage that measurement at key decision making milestones.
So what that might look like on a project level is at opportunity and origination, so very, very early on, you use that benchmarking life cycles of the data you have to identify the risks and opportunities for that project and to set really good targets. You then get to early concept design. There are some major decisions that are happening at this space. What happens if we move our lift core? What if we change the thickness of our slabs? What if this building was made out of reinforced concrete versus steel versus timber? Having life cycle assessment as an overlay, giving clarity of sight as to how those major decisions impact the overall footprint of the building, is really important.
That then leads to the actual procurement and subcontractor engagement side of things. So using that iterative life cycle assessment to put supplier A, B, and C next to each other and see how those different supply chain choices change the overall footprint of the building and how that links back to the target that you set beforehand. And then you get to your detailed design and as built. So that's when you're getting that more detailed information that feeds into this holistic and robust life cycle assessment, and then that will eventually lead to [Department to confirm] data which goes back to the beginning of the process. Really, really high level overlay of all that information. Just super quickly, the bird's eye view.
So why are we talking about aluminium? Well, aluminium is often the third biggest contributor to a building's embodied carbon, and the concrete and steel journey has been happening for a little bit longer. So, there's more solutions in that space, there's a lot more momentum behind it, there's national and international organisations that are setting decarbonization roadmaps. Aluminium is not quite there yet, but we know that it's the next cab off the rank, so we need to do something about it now. The majority of the aluminium in buildings is in the facade.
So let's talk about One Sydney Harbour. So One Sydney Harbour is a set of three luxury residential towers in Barangaroo, Watermans Residence, or Tower 3 is the third and final one, and it's the tiniest. So that's 30 stories, 212 apartments, going to be completed in 2024, it's targeting 6 Star Green Star. It is a Daniel Goldberg interior design, and it has Renzo Piano as the main architect. So the architectural intent for these three towers was three crystals, and that posed a design challenge for Lendlease. So in order to get that crystal look, we didn't want to compromise any of the performance of the building. So what we came up with was an open cavity facade. So it allowed that architectural look while also not only meeting, but exceeding the operational energy expectations. It also gave stellar thermal comfort for the indoor occupants and gave them the benefit of natural ventilation.
So those are what those three towers look like, they're on the right, aren't they pretty? And this is what I mean by the open cavity facade. Now, you might be looking at this going, "Oh, that's a great design, but doesn't it look like there's a little bit more aluminium in this facade than a typical facade?". And you'd be right. So this is the process for One Sydney Harbour and while it's a great case study, it's not a perfect one. So for some context, the documents for Barangaroo started to come about 2010 while I was still in high school, the open cavity facade decision happened around about 2014, and life cycle assessment got involved just after that. So at that point, we didn't have our mission zero targets and we also didn't have the level of understanding that we do now about the importance of building envelopes towards reducing embodied carbon for the building. So I think if we had done this same design a few years later, life cycle assessment would've been there as an equal consideration and maybe we would've come up with something a little bit different.
That being said though, every building of Barangaroo had a 20% embodied carbon reduction target. So we had to come up with a reduction roadmap, and while doing that, we realised, "Huh, there's a lot of aluminium in these One Sydney Harbour facades. We need to do something about the embodied carbon facades for these buildings to reach our target." So that said, okay, well, what solutions are out there? We haven't really done a whole lot of decarbonization of facades. In fact, no one in Australia has. So that's why we did a market scan for solutions, and then we went on a supplier engagement journey. This was probably the most difficult part of this and also the part that I'm most proud of and where we learned the most lessons. I'm going to get to a little bit more detail about that later, but this was almost a three-year conversation of engaging with our supply chain on this. And then the final delivery. Success, we're going to have low embodied carbon aluminium in the facade for One Sydney Harbour.
So what is low embodied carbon? Well, the majority of the emissions come from the electricity that's consumed during smelting. So in order to reduce the emissions for this, you either have high recycled content or renewable electricity. As a secondary consideration, you can also look at inert cathodes so that reduces the direct emissions from the consumption of the carbon cathode during electrolysis. But as the recycled content and renewable electricity had the biggest impacts, that's where we focused our market scan.
So, okay, I need to go out there and find solutions. How do I know the emissions intensity of primary aluminium billets? I'm glad you asked, it's EPDs, or environmental productions declarations. EPDs are like nutrition labels for building products, and because they have the same methods, assumptions, product category rules behind them, that means I'm able to pick up two EPDs and make a like for like comparison because of the transparency and consistency that they have. There are a few aluminium EPDs out there, we used that for our calculations in our market scan. I'd like to achieve more, if you're every hour in conversation with suppliers and they're on the fence mode about whether or not they should get an EPD, they absolutely should. These are really important documents and so, so valuable for me to be able to do my job really.
So this is a small snippet of some of the suppliers that we looked at during the market scan. We made sure to make sure that the measurement of the facade for One Sydney Harbour was bespoke. So we spent the last 10 years building our own custom whole of life, whole of building model in GaBi, and that meant that we built everything from the ground up. We are in charge of all the assumptions. We tailored it to the supply chain for Lendlease and there's no black boxes. And it means that we've gotten really good at bespoke modelling. So we actually got the exact material quantities for all the facade modules in One Sydney Harbour and were able to measure it bespoke to get really accurate results. We found that by plugging in those EPDs for those different low embodied carbon aluminium options, that the emission savings ranged from 30% to 50%, which is huge for a works package that typically you would only get 1% or 2% savings out of it.
Next was subcontractor engagement. As I said, a bit of a windy road and it wasn't straightforward, but one that was well worth the journey. So we included low embodied carbon aluminium facade in the specifications and early tender conversations, as well as asking for returnable schedule during tender in order to do that bespoke measurement. So our suppliers knew that was something that we were really serious about very early on. We then suggested some known low embodied carbon aluminium solutions to the facades subcontractors. At the same time, we knew that Lendlease UK was installing some low embodied carbon aluminium in their facades over there, and the subcontractor that they were using to do that was the same subcontractor that we were using here in Australia that also had a global presence. So we were like, "Great. Let's use the lessons learned from that solution and see if we can apply it here."
Now while we did learn some things, when we tried to apply that same supply chain solution in Australia, it was cost and program prohibitive. It really only worked in a European context. Not to be deterred, we said, "Okay, well how about instead of asking them to do specific products, we instead ask about sustainable tech. Do you have low embodied carbon aluminium that uses high recycled content or renewable electricity in your supply chain?" Empowered by really specific questions, they went back and actually got transparency on their own supply chain, and we found that there was an existing smelter that used hydroelectricity in their existing supply chain. So we said, "Okay, great. We're going to do preferential sourcing," making sure that all the aluminium that's going into the facade comes from that smelter and we were able to go to a 34% reduction for the facade for One Sydney Harbour. So that was a really cool outcome there.
What does the savings look like overall for One Sydney Harbour? Well, we had a few different initiatives in there, including 40% cement replacement, electric arc furnace in the steel, obviously the low embodied carbon aluminium facade, which led to the 6% overall, if you're looking at the A1 to A5 embodied carbon system boundary. We also had carbon neutral concrete in the tower, carbon neutral reinforcing in the tower and basement, carbon neutral construction because Lendlease is a climate active certified carbon neutral services provider, and a few carbon neutral key finishes. So overall, it was a 17% absolute reduction and a 60% net reduction, which is really, really a great outcome to have.
So, some of the challenges, it was not without its challenges, let me tell you. Facades are complicated. They're made up of lots of different materials and they have a really complicated job to do, so not only are you dealing with the global supply chain, but you need to make sure that any decisions that you're making from an embodied carbon point of view does not compromise the operational energy efficiency or price or program. It was a new conversation for our supply chain and a new conversation for us as well, so there was a lot of learning and education there.
The emissions source was not in our direct control, like it would be with reinforcing often, and it was overseas, so having to go multiple layers back meant that it was a more involved process and that was a challenge as well. You're changing well trodden paths, which is always difficult, and I think the biggest one there is uncertainty. Uncertainty on our side, on the subcontractor's side, and holding people's hands through that uncertainty and saying, "It's okay. I know we're the first ones, but it's important and we're going to make it," was a really important conversation to have.
So drivers for success. I think one of the big ones was that bespoke measurement that I said, having that returnable schedule at the beginning to get really precise calculations, specification language made sure that it was ambitious and specific, but not prescriptive. So we had GWP not to exceed values on the build itself, instead of the facade as a whole. Supplier engagement. Again like I said, so important. Persistence, persistence, persistence. Just because no was the answer the first time doesn't mean it's always going to be, having really clear asks and making those conversations very collaborative.
We got lucky in the fact that we did find an opportunity within the supplier's existing supply chain. That's not always going to happen, but we wouldn't have known that it existed without first asking. The price premium in this instance was not cost prohibitive. I can't say that that's always going to be the price, but it wasn't in this case and I think that was a reason for success. And lastly, we leveraged precedent from our international counterparts. So seeing that it was possible over there did give us some level of confidence that we were going to be able to pull this off.
Yay. Right. So some of the really cool things that have happened. This little case study has just spearheaded progress across the business for our facade conversations. Now looking at it across multiple projects, looking at it from a top down approach, we educated our supply chain as part of this as well, and life cycle assessment is getting involved very, very early on now, as evidence of this. And they were really important learnings for our scope three target.
So if I have any advice to anyone about how to do this again, that early engagement really, really important, making sure that the ask is specific, clear, and it's built around collaboration. Persistence is so important and don't let what you can't do stop you from doing what you can. So just because you don't have control over everything. Have a look at what you do have control over, what you can do, and focus all of your conversations around that being solutions focused, and you'll be really surprised by how far you're able to go.
Okay, that's it for me. Thanks everyone.
NSW Treasury – A social and sustainable solution for their uniforms to avoid landfill
Presentation by Myla Bulaon, Associate Director, NSW Procurement. Video length: 15 minutes.
Good afternoon. I'm really glad to be here. My name is Myla Bulaon, and I'm an associate director at New South Wales Procurement, New South Wales Treasury. My interest is in sustainable procurement and I encourage my team to embed sustainability, particularly circular economy in every category of spend that we manage. Let me share you the background of this project. Second life was our team's winning pitch at the Department of Communities and Justice at their procurement forum last year. A group of us came to together and thought about what can we put in as an entry to this competition? Well, we had a problem at hand and we thought that might be a good start.
These are, by the way, my team that I mentioned to you about, and we don't necessarily belong to one agency or one department. So we call it a cross agency collaboration. So we had a problem with at hand, which was what to do with our uniforms. We had a lot of dead stock, and dead stock means that uniforms that have been made, but they have never been used. So they're either excess or have been made obsolete. And they're also the old uniforms that are no longer used. This photo is from the article, Dead White Man's Clothes. So have you seen it on the foreign correspondent? This is in Kantamanto in Ghana.
As you can see in this picture, there are a few issues and there are a few problems to which we were contributing. A taxi driver in Ghana was seen wearing a badged New South Wales uniform. And this was a risk that we haven't accounted for. So maybe now it is one agency's uniform, the next time it could be another agency's clothing or work wear. And then currently, we know that there are no end of life strategies for the uniform contracts that we're managing. We have realised that we're actually contributing to this massive problem of landfill by disposing the uniforms into your recycling bins.
The other problem that we have is the rate of recidivism in New South Wales. And as a frontline agency, we are aware that everything that we do should contribute to our premiers priority. And in this case, it is to reduce recidivism. That is the context and the background of our project. That has informed our strategy and called it the Second Life, because we wanted to stay away from take, make and waste linear economy, which is we buy our uniforms, we use them and then we discard them and send them to landfill.
We wanted to put it into a circular economy where in, it can be produced into products that has greater value than the original form and a longer lifespan. It can also be remade over and over again without losing its value. More importantly, we wanted to have a positive environmental and social impact because we wanted to include training of our inmates so that they have skills when they integrate into society. And also, to distribute the technology and knowhow to regional small suppliers, Aboriginal owned businesses, as well as Australian disability enterprises.
So, what is circular economy? I'm pretty sure you've heard a lot of it over and over again, but we just have to go back to the basics. So it draws on the three principles of designing out waste, keeping products and materials circulating a lot longer at their highest value, and that it is regenerative. There are also six activities that contribute to circular economy. One is to regenerate, which means to shifting to renewable energy and materials. The second one is to share, promoting the sharing of products or otherwise prolonging the product lifespans through maintenance and design. Third one is to optimise. Means it's improving the product efficiency and removing waste from the supply chain. And for this project, we're using loop, meaning to keep the components and materials in close loops through remanufacturing and recycling. Fifth one is to virtualize, which means to deliver goods and services virtually. And the last one is exchange. Replacing old materials with advanced renewable ones or applying new technologies such as 3D printing. But we can also call it repair.
So for this project, there are a lot of options. We have considered a few. We were thinking what you're thinking. Surely, there are many ways to dispose unusable uniforms other than landfill. And yes, of course there are plenty. Repurposing is one of them. We have encountered a lot of high impact organisations that repurpose these uniforms into another clothing item. So for example, police uniforms can be remodelled into children's clothing. Most importantly, they wanted to give it to disadvantaged clothing. They're actually really beautiful. They can actually be used as stuffing as well for, say dog beds, seat cushion, exercise equipment. And they thought that uniforms or work wear are actually good for dog beds, because dogs can smell the human element of it and they sleep better on those dog beds. So it is a very interesting aspect that we also considered in our research.
Then there's also the secure destruction. A lot of agencies are so worried that their uniforms can be identifiable. As the case that I have shown earlier in the picture, it can happen. But in that case also, you will have to invest in debranding the uniforms, removing all the hardware, removing all the stitching or whatever identification that you have in there for your agency. And it costs a lot of time and money. That is something that Australia Post has kindly shared with us, their journey, because they were one of the early adopters of repurposing of their uniforms. And then if you ask yourself the question, what happens to the recycled product after it's life? Then you can think of something else. Because here also have to ask the question, are we just delaying the inevitable, which is to put it into landfill?
Those were the questions that my team and I were considering. Then we decided that we were going to do option four, which is to turn them into green ceramics because we thought that it answers and ticks off all the boxes that we wanted to consider. So what it is? Many of you might have seen Veena on TV and on LinkedIn, she talks about their smart centre at the University of New South Wales and their micro factory. We ask them if they can help us. They ask us for samples and we gave them the New South Wales fire and rescue uniforms that are no longer useful. That's the one that you can see in the picture. It is a blue uniform with red badges in it.
When they remanufactured it, as you can see in the value chain, they had a secure collection so that nobody can get hold of it and they had destroyed it and shredded it. It became a fluff on step three, and they used the glass fragments as well as part of the remanufacturing. It turned out to be a purplish blue tile. And that's what you can see on step four. Our intention there was to reuse these tiles into our infrastructure projects within the agency. As you can see, government has a lot of infrastructure projects, and therefore they spend a lot on traditional materials that are harmful to the environment. And during its making, it also creates a lot of carbon emissions.
To give you an idea about volumetrics, using our contract data, we had a look at the reorder point. And if we assume that the reorder point is also the fair wear and tear indication that the new one is going to be replacing the old one and the old one will be discarded, we came up with a calculation that our agency is actually going to generate 35,000 kilos of discarded uniforms per year. And 30,000 kilos, according to University of New South Wales, can be converted into 8,750 square metres of tiles. If you are trying to imagine how big that is, think about the biggest Woolworths that you have been into. Or if you look at the mid-size building, that's equivalent to five floors, and I've calculated that amount of tiles according to the net livable space.
That is something that you could consider as to how much you can actually give as a feed stock and how much output your feed stock is going to generate. Here is the tile property. Once it has been made, these are the qualities of the product. And it is not only as good as traditional tiles, but it is also better because when it breaks, if it breaks, you can put it back into the micro factory and they can remake it seven times over into exactly the same product without losing its value. As you can see in this slide, we've mentioned that it has been used at the Mirvac Homes and Hunters Library. I will show you those case studies in a little bit.
So going back to procurement, we have addressed sustainability and security criteria for this contract. And if you look at your triple bottom line, the environment, economy, and social aspects of it, there are many things that you can actually achieve by going this pathway. The secure distraction is achieved. There's low carbon emissions in the remanufacturing because they're using low heat. There's no extraction of virgin materials, and we can be assured that this is 100% landfill diversion. Most importantly, in this process, we are using problematic ways. As you know, textile is hard to decompose, and they're also using glass fragments and expired powder coating. Those are things that cannot be recycled anymore. Therefore, it'll just end up in landfill and not decomposed for thousands and thousands of years. On the left hand side of this slide, I have highlighted in there all the other benefits that could contribute their sustainability targets, as well as net zero targets.
Now, here are the case studies of how it is being used. This is Sydney Olympic Park. Back in the year 2000, as you know, we had the very successful Sydney Olympic games. The flags and banners that have been used in that event, they have kept it. And it's a good thing that they have kept because they're able to then give it to the University of New South Wales and manufacture them into tiles. Look how beautiful those colours are. And they are actually the same colours as the Olympic volunteers. They used it in the public change rooms. At the moment apparently, those change rooms are still closed, but once they're open, you can have a look at them. This is only a small project of 45 square metres. However, they are now thinking about another project that will utilise more of the textiles that they can generate from Sydney Olympic Park.
This is the Mirvac pavilions apartment that I have mentioned earlier. And maybe you have seen this on TV or on the University of New South Wales' website. But in this case, these are made of mattresses fluff. They have been made into kitchen bench, the splashback of the kitchen, in the picture that you can see, table tops, wall decor, and even those pendant lights are also made from green ceramics. Therefore, they can be made not only into tiles, but they can be made into many different forms as long as you specify and you co-design it with the micro factory.
This is the Hunter's Hill Library. Again, the discarded mattresses from the councils have been made into the island bench of this library. As you can see, it is freestanding and also it is hard wearing. There's a lot of traffic in it, but it's better actually than Caesarstone, I was told. As I mentioned before, we wanted to distribute the technology because it is something that can help with the economic prosperity of small businesses. Shoalhaven Council have actually obtained a grant and they created their own micro factory in Nowra. And their intention is to also create green ceramics that will be used by different agencies, different councils in their infrastructure projects.
Now, I want to go to how procurement can be the liver or the enabler in applying circular economy. There is no silver bullet. We just have to utilise the existing methodology that you always do in contract management. But I'd like to talk about category management here. At whatever stage you're in at your contracts or the categories that you're managing in your spend under management, you can always add value by thinking about the end right at the beginning of your category. You have to think about, how do we design out waste and ask good questions?
Myla Bulaon:You can engage with your suppliers, be bold, ask them about their innovation, what they can do to keep the products and materials for longer. They may have a repair policy, or they may be able to exchange components of it, or they may be able to remanufacture. However, if that pathway is not the best pathway, talk to other parties and other organisations that can provide a cradle to cradle solution for you or that end of life and a second life option. Thank you so much for remaining engaged. I hope that this example is very useful for your profession. Thank you.
Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence – Trends and developments within Product Stewardship in Australia
Presentation by John Gertsakis, Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence. Video length: 19 minutes.
Hello, and welcome to everyone. It's a great opportunity to be able to share some insights and some experiences and some information about the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence and help define what product stewardship is and its relevance to sustainable procurement in textiles. Thanks very much to the department for the invitation to share this presentation with you today.
What I want to cover is some basics around the role of product stewardship, its value, what it is, and some information about the Centre of Excellence, so you can understand what our role, what our vision, what our mission is. Some key trends and developments in the space related to product stewardship, and then really focus in on what's the relevance of stewardship and lifecycle thinking and circularity to procurement and to procurement of clothing with some indication around guidelines, principles, things to consider for yourselves as professionals working in the procurement space. But also, some information about how to get involved with the centre and some of the activities that we offer and how we might be able to support and assist you.
So, what is product stewardship? Product stewardship acknowledges those involved in designing, manufacturing, selling products, putting products on the market. They've got a responsibility to ensure that those products are managed in a way that eliminates or reduces their environmental and human health impacts across the product lifecycle, across the supply chain. Why? The evidence is obvious and most of you would be aware. There are a range of environmental issues and impacts from polluted waterways, destruction of habitats, climate change, carbon emissions, unsustainable use of natural resources, use of scarce non-renewable resources. And of course, exposing people in communities to hazardous, toxic, harmful substances. And of course, the cost burden to the community and governments often in having to manage the range of environment and human health impacts.
Product stewardship really does aim to drive environmentally beneficial outcomes through good design, cleaner production, clean manufacturing, including the use of components, materials that are easier to recover, to reuse, to repair, to remanufacture and to recycle. Product stewardship really does need to be underpinned by circular economy, principles, outcomes, and alternative models of producing and using and consuming products and materials. And by circular economy, what I'm talking about there in its most basic form is that we need to design out waste and pollution from the outset of all products.
We need to prolong the life of products, the components and the materials they're made from. And we need to keep those products and materials circulating in the economy much longer than we have been to date. So really some basic principles there, the challenge is always in applying them in a practical way. And for yourselves, what does that mean for procurement? Great opportunity despite the complexity that can be there sometimes. A strong and authentic product stewardship approach starts with good circular design and is integral increasingly to the cost of doing business responsibly and ethically.
This is just more of a visual around the points, the touch points for product stewardship across the lifecycle of a product, from design all the way through to end of life, end of first life, end of second life and beyond. So it really is an important strategy. It's an important policy approach from government's perspective, but also a very practical industrial commercial response to be able to improve the performance of products from an environmental and human health perspective. So it can be just as much around eliminating and minimising impacts as it is to create new business opportunities.
A snapshot about the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence. It's a consortium comprising the University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures, the Australian Industry Group, and Cox Inall Communications. It was established over a year ago with the funding support from the Australian Government. The Environment Department is our partner in our program. Our mission really is to accelerate the uptake of product stewardship in Australia. And to do that through various strategies and measures, mentoring, education, really trying to activate stakeholders across different product classes, across different material, supply chains and waste stream.
The vision, the vision is to see wide scale adoption of product and material stewardship principles into business models. Whereby waste is avoided, prevented, reduced, and we can create positive environmental and social outcomes through good design, improved resource productivity and sustainable reuse. And all of this is contributing to the challenge in part around waste avoidance, prevention, reduction, and recycling, and all of the targets, actions and priorities outlined in the Australian Government's National Waste Policy Action Plan.
We deliver a variety of programs from training and executive development, that are in development plan, through the mentoring industry schemes, individual businesses, brokering and networking, and our inaugural awards last year for excellence in product stewardship. We're also involved in a major project at the moment, looking at the state play of product stewardship in Australia, and providing more accessible, useful information to a variety of sectors and industries and professional domains, including procurement, ultimately, that can understand where product stewardship is taking place, how it's performing, what's being done and what the opportunities are.
Research is also a key part of our activity. Again, there are more specific interventions and projects there that we're doing with both industry schemes, associations, and individual companies in different areas. Resources, and this is what starts to get more relevant to yourselves, I expect. Over time, we are releasing a range of different materials and collateral, practise notes, dealing with various priorities and imperatives to do with product stewardship and implementing it, white papers that are more research oriented, and a growing list of case studies that highlight where and how product stewardship has been applied either at an industry scheme level, where companies and brands and organisations come together to develop, to deliver a scheme for product stewardship going nationally, as well as what individual companies are doing. And I suspect this may be of great interest to yourselves in terms of procurement.
What are individual companies, brands, retails, labels, doing in the area of stewardship and circularity? And ongoing program of webinars, which really has started with the role and value of product stewardship, talks about the Australian government's accreditation, activities for voluntary product stewardship programs, and also some more granular work around ACCC authorization, what are the different governance and financing options for product stewardship scheme. And our most recent one, which was around what's the interface between product stewardship and local government, especially where we have the challenges in Australia around rural, regional remote areas and how we deliver effective waste reduction and product stewardship and circular economy outcomes to communities outside of urban areas.
Some trends and developments. Again, this is just to highlight there's a whole area of regulated product stewardship in Australia, and you might be familiar with the National Television Computer Recycling Scheme, or issues dealing with degassing of refrigeration and air conditioning and refrigerators. Dealing with that through Refrigerant Reclaim Australia. Used oil, and the various container deposit schemes around the country. In terms of where the growing body of activity has been in recent times and continues to expand is around industry-led product stewardship schemes, and we have a variety of those.
We have government accredited schemes dealing with smartphones and their accessories, car ties, plastics used in agriculture, and most recently the launching of B-Cycle, dealing with batteries. Fairview, a manufacturer and supplier of cladding for buildings, that's also developed a recovery and recycling system for that cladding at end of life. Other collective schemes dealing with containers used in agriculture. DrumMUSTER, Paintback, the Australian Bedding Stewardship Council, developing a scheme for end of life mattresses. And many of you would be familiar with Cartridges 4 Planet Ark, and what REDcycle is doing with major retailers in terms of soft plastics.
The other major area of growth, which touches on individual companies and supplies is around individual businesses doing product stewardship. And there's a variety of those in different categories, all the way from batteries to commercial furniture, domestic furniture, sports wear, outdoor apparel, and so on and so forth. So, a growing body of activity. Much of this, not all of it, but much of it supported and resourced and funded through the Australian Government's National Product Stewardship Investment Fund. A very important injection in terms of expanding the development of product stewardship solutions in Australia.
This is where I want to highlight some areas that relate to textiles, and in some cases where they relate to clothing and apparel. So there's a very variety of programs and schemes that are being funded through the investment fund, but there are some that touch on textiles. Clearly, mattresses, work in the commercial furniture space has to talk to textiles, especially where it's used in commercial upholstery. A program is being developed for child car safety seats, part of which includes the use of fabric in the design and production of those seats. But also, a major project being developed by the Australian Fashion Council and a consortium that it has established dealing with stewardship for clothing. There's been some work done around uniforms as well by another organisation in relation to stewardship. So there is a growing number of projects where textiles, and in particular clothing and apparel, is being worked on to look at what solutions might be created nationwide.
So, the relevance and power of procurement. The majority of garments in the fashion industry are based on what we all know to be the linear model of production and consumption consisting of three key stages across a product's lifecycle. And you may have heard of the term take, make, waste, but this is where there are opportunities to reconfigure that, to look at these products in a more circular way. The social environmental impacts of this model are well documented. Whether it's through more popular media and the war on waste program that some of you may have seen, or disasters, global disasters, such as what took place in Bangladesh with various factories involved in the production of clothing.
Product stewardship basically requires the application across each of these stages around take, make, waste, and reconfiguring those to be more circular. I suppose the big message here is really that procurement is probably an area where there is great opportunity by governments at all levels to make a difference provided that you are well equipped with practical information. And this is where the C-SPARC program is particularly important in terms of equipping decision-making to be able to make stewardship, circularity, environmental performance, waste reduction, a more practical approach to dealing with tenders for product, requests for quote from suppliers, et cetera, to get down to the detail of how we can procure in a way that's more sustainable.
I just wanted to provide, and this is not exhausting, but just a few principles and objectives that you might consider as you move through that take, make, waste and reconfigure, take, make, waste, into a more circular approach. But there are some obvious ones here around looking for supplies and products, where there is the use of high quality fibres, where they are reducing the use of fabric blends, which can be difficult to recycle given existing cost effective commercial processing technologies in Australia. That's clearly about to change. Increasing the use of independently certified materials.
So, looking for where there are certifications that apply potentially to the products you are seeking to procure. These provide a more independent approach to some of the environmental claims that are made about products. And also, looking at how the environmental impact of production of manufacture of fibre, of yarn, et cetera, can be reduced or eliminated. Such as looking at the less water intensive process, and also the chemicals used in dyeing in many cases. But also, looking at material and product specification, sourcing procedures that can incorporate the circular design principles and stewardship principles related to the product that you are looking to source.
In terms of how we make and cleaning up how we make, this is where design's really important. Design and branding practises that can support retention of product value in secondhand markets, giving products a second and third life where appropriate, where possible. Building relationships with suppliers and manufacturers to encourage more sustainable practises in garment manufacturing facilities, including articulating the business case of being more efficient, more circular. There's also a need for hard data, quantifying the environmental impact of production processes. And these are questions that can and should be asked as part of a procurement process.
What are the water, waste, energy related issues and impacts associated with the products you are seeking to buy in bulk? But also, opportunities to source information from and partner with intermediaries, such as the Fairway Foundation, which can facilitate monitoring and labour improvements in production facilities associated with the products you're seeking to buy. From a wise perspective, we need to reconfigure and move away from the take, make, waste. And this is where we need to really get serious about thinking of waste as resources. We need to extend the life of garments, explore the development of in-house clothing, rental, resale programs. That's already happening in parts of the clothing industry. And partner with emerging specialty businesses, where they're coming up with innovative business models that don't necessarily involve buying and owning products, but do look at leasing, swapping, sharing.
This is clearly not relevant to all product classes and applications, but they are areas that may have relevance depending on what you're seeking to procure. There's also a need to educate consumers in garment care practises, whether it's at a domestic level, a corporate level, et cetera, and what the implications are from an environmental perspective of how clothing is cared for, washed, et cetera, and the chemicals and associated resource inputs into that process.
There's also a range of growing service providers here around textile recycling programs and what's happening in that space. So some of it is about building relationships with some of these providers and understanding what they are doing, but also flagging with them that future procurement is going to look more closely at issues to do with circularity and sustainability and waste reduction. So, a variety of opportunities here in terms of the power of procurement. There are sources where you can really drill down into a lot more detail around what could be done. And this is where the Centre of Excellence plus other organisations can support what you're doing in terms of improving the state of procurement, but also clearly, what the C-SPARC program is doing nationwide.
Certification is particularly important. And that's something that you can utilise and build into tenders and buying by having more independent certification of products and seeing who of your suppliers have some of these certifications. And it's not to be underestimated in terms of how that can help you make decisions about suppliers and the products that they're putting onto the market and putting before you to assess for procurement. There's also the Australian government's accreditation program for voluntary products stewardship schemes. And this is one to watch over the coming months around the sorts of supplies and companies that are going to be accredited, have been accredited, that gives you some indication of where procurement should be preferencing or privileging those games and companies that are accredited. Again, it's that more independent assessment of what a company is doing with its services and its products and its overall programs.
The one major program that you should tune into if you're not already familiar with, and has been funded through the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund, is the Australian Fashion Council and the consortium that are currently developing a national product stewardship scheme. They're in the early stages of this process, they're reaching out and talking to stakeholders and others with an interest in circularity for clothing and apparel. So if you're not familiar with this initiative, it's really worth having a look at the website and connecting with the consortium, connecting with the individuals running this project.
It's really quite important in terms of a national product stewardship approach to clothing. Clearly, it'll have to address a number of different areas, from governance, financing, technology, consumer education, ultimately the entity that will deliver and operationalize a national product stewardship scheme. But it really is a significant moment in Australia around clothing textiles that shouldn't be overlooked. I encourage you, if you haven't seen this, to have a look at what the Australian Fashion Council is doing.
In terms of the Centre of Excellence, there are a variety of opportunities here. We've got a Product Stewardship Network, where you can participate in various forums and discussions that we have. They're quite informal and very friendly in terms of including those that aren't familiar with product stewardship and circular to get involved and hear what we're doing, but also to share with us what you think you need in terms of sustainable procurement.
Moving forward, would encourage you to have a look at the center's website, sign up for our newsletter, sign up for the Product Stewardship Network, but make contact directly with us if you think that we can assist or support what you are doing in procurement at any point. And of course, some contact details. So I'll leave it at that and look forward to some questions and discussion. Thanks again to the C-SPARC program and the Australian government for the opportunity to be with you here today. Thank you.
BlockTexx – Expanding technology options for textile recycling
Presentation by Adrian Jones, BlockTexx, Textile recovery technologies. Video length: 11 minutes.
Good morning. My name's Adrian Jones and I'm one of the co-founders of BlockTexx, which we pride ourselves on being a textile recovery company. BlockTexx is a clean technology company that manufactures rPET and cellulose from textiles and clothing. Really simple to say, it's been a four year journey and we're still on that journey and it's been quite hard to do, but we've now cracked this naughty problem.
The problem is huge, but is also a huge opportunity. The growth of fast fashion, the growth of mass consumerism, the lowering of cost of clothing has all led to a large increase in the consumption of clothes often, which end up in landfill, which end up being dumped or burnt. None of these are particularly good outcomes for the environment and the numbers are huge. ACTA, the Australian Circular Textile Association, produced a report in 2021 showing that there was 800,000 tons of textiles in landfill in Australia alone. And a similar report run by BCG noted that by 2030, 140 million tons of textile waste will end up in global landfill. This indicated to Graham Ross, my business partner, and myself that we do not have a supply problem. We can get hold of more than enough textile resource, but we need to convert it into a valuable output.
So we define the opportunity as saying, what are the fabrics? What are the growth of fabrics that we can reprocess and reuse to produce raw materials that can go into the manufacturing of these types of fibres? As you can see on the slide on the left, polyester is by a long way, the largest fibre type used in the world. We produce over 80 million tons, or we will produce over 80 million tons of polyester by 2030. In 2020, we produced 109 million tons of fibre in the world, of which 52% of that was polyester. Now, a lot of garments, a lot of brands are using recycled polyester and claiming in their marketing that they're using recycled polyester and saving the planet. As you can see, there's only 15% of polyester used in the world is recycled. And currently, all of that recycling comes from the bottle industry. Fibre to fibre recycling has not existed. And therefore, we have invented a process that allows us to capture polyester from fibre, as opposed to polyester from the soft drinks industry.
Where do we sit? This is a slightly complex slide, but I've included it because I wanted to show that there are many parts in the circular economy and BlockTexx is not arrogant to say, we are the solution, we are part of the solution. There are many good players in this space, but we all do different things. And I hope this slide demonstrates that there are significant roots for textile products to be reused, as opposed to ending up in landfill. As you can see at the top, the best form of recycling is reuse. And there are multiple organisations, companies globally that are doing just that. That are actually taking good quality product and putting it into second life, third life with enthusiastic users. But there are a lot of products, a lot of products that are not usable and we have to find a better use for that than landfill.
On the right hand side of the slide, you can see that there are a lot of non-rewearable products, all of which have a different route to market or a different route to their second life. BlockTexx sits in the top box, where we are regenerative chemical recyclers. So we take the toughest part of the market, which is polyester and cotton blends, and we essentially chemically recycle those back into their raw materials. Fortunately, we're not the only ones in this space. Worn Again in the UK, Titan in the US are also working in this blended space. There are other companies that you may have heard of that deal with single fibre recycling.
Companies such as Evrnu, Renewcell, who use different chemical processes to take the cotton and produce a recycled manmade cellulosic from the back of that. There are companies in Japan such as JEPLAN, which take pure polyester and produce fibre from that, et cetera, et cetera. There are many people in this space. And over time, there needs to be more scale because we have, as you can see from one of my first slides, we have a significant 140 million tons of problem to deal with. And these companies, which BlockTexx is one, will continue to strive to deal with that problem.
Returning to BlockTexx, how BlockTexx work, what do we pride ourselves on? We pride ourselves on landfill diversion that actually we acquire stock from across the entire textile industry. And this isn't just post-consumer disposal. That is a small part of our business. Textiles exist everywhere. We have commercial contracts in place with laundries, with uniform companies, with hotel chains, because textiles exist in every part of the supply chain. And we can take those and stop going into landfill.
We're an advanced manufacturing business. We have absolutely state-of-the-art processes, technology, a lot of which we have invented, designed and built ourselves, that allow us to take what people consider to be a textile waste and convert it into rPET and powdered cellulose, which we sell both locally and internationally. BlockTexx, the Texx part, I think is fairly obvious. The Block part may not be block. But BlockTexx is built on a blockchain. So we have complete visibility of all of our data.
We know when our product flows in, how it flows through, and where it flows out. And we hope that these publicly visible blockchains will give people increased confidence about the providence of where product comes from and where it goes to. I think people are apprehensive. If I give my product to this person, will they recycle it? Will they resell it? Will they export it? Will they burn it? They don't know. And I think the use of blockchain technology through this value chain will give that increased visibility and confidence that consumers want to help them make the right choices.
Dealing at a top level with the process. As you can see on the left, this was at our original research facility and our process has moved on a lot since then. This was fairly organic at this time, but we have a real process involving real heavy, large scale machinery. We are a volume converter of textiles into raw materials. We see ourselves doing at least one ton per hour, scaling that to three tons per hour within the first year. We want to, in this plant, our first plant in Queensland, recycle up to 9,000 tons per year.
On the right hand side, you can see a schematic showing our simple process, in which essentially, we decommission and shred the textiles. We then use our patented separation of fibre technology process, which is a chemical separation process, which separates both the polyester and the cotton from each other, but saves both parts. We then have a fork in our process in which we wash and dry these two distinct raw materials. We take the polyester and we extrude that and pelletize that back into recycled PET pellets for on sale into industry. We take the cellulose and we produce a powder, which we on sale back into another industry. So everything gets saved and everything gets used, but this is a real technology. It was developed in Australia between ourselves and Queensland University of Technology. It's world-leading and we are very, very proud of it.
There's also a strong economic impact as well as an environmental impact. But looking at the economics of what we do, we are building our first facility in Logan home in South East Queensland, Where we believe that through the employment of 30 direct and 30 indirect roles, through the production and the consumption phase of our facility, a rent plan report undertaken by the Queensland government shows that we will generate an annual economic value of $45 million to the local economy. And that's by taking a product, most people currently put into their red top bin and hope something good happens.
We also have a very strong environmental impact. Our modelling shows that for every kilogram or for every ton, for every one ton of textiles we recycle, we offset 30 tons of CO2 equivalence because of the high embedded carbon in both polyester and in cotton in the production phase and also in the destruction phase. And our targeted materials that we prefer to process are polycotton blends, polyester manmade cellulosics, pure cotton, or pure polyester. Now these together, as you can see from my earlier slides, make up around 75% of the world's textile consumption.
So where are we and what's the future? We're building our facility now, we're commissioning it now. It'll be up and running at 4,000 tons initially within the next four to six weeks. And then as we get into the second half of this year. We're already planning our second plant, which will be built also in Australia. We also tend to have a licence solution for the future. We see this as being a global solution that we will take around the world. We have developed our own technology, our own chemistry. It's owned by BlockTexx, it's patented to BlockTexx. We can take our solution to the problem globally, and we see that being a very exciting stage of our development in the coming years. So, thank you for listening to me, that's BlockTexx. This is our mission, that we have zero clothing to landfill. We believe that is achievable, and we believe that we're one of the players that will help that achieved in the next coming years. Thank you for your time.
Exploring new technologies – from waste to tiles
Presentation by Anirban Ghose, Head of Microfactories, University of NSW. Video length: 10 minutes.
Hi everyone. My name's Anirban, I'm the head of Micro Factories at the SMaRT Centre at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. I'll be talking about aligning recycling and manufacturing, and the work that we do at the SMaRT Centre. SMaRT Centre was founded, as some of you may know, a couple of years back, by professor Veena Sahajwalla, and it's really been about tackling problematic waste materials. We've been working with many industry partners in this space, and I will mention a few of them that have been very supportive in that journey of how do we make our society and our materials more sustainable.
For us, the core way that we have tackled this has been to look at how we can connect sustainable materials or waste materials into new manufacturing or into new products. And that ethos has been encapsulated, we've tried to cover that in this diagram of how we are doing recycling, looking at new technologies, how we need to get research and the new ideas that the fantastic team here come up with, into commercialised solutions. And I'd like to thank the team for the opportunity to present some of our ideas and technologies that we are currently commercialising around green ceramics and filaments and how they can apply to the built environment.
This is a Venn diagram, just to show how all of the different industry bodies play a role. We work with leading E-waste recyclers, such as TES, and steel manufacturers up in Newcastle, such as Molycop. And we've tried to cover where some of them are waste problem holders, such as TES, who might be collecting a lot of E-waste, Molycop, who is collecting and getting scrap steel, but then we need the manufacturers to be able to convert that into new products. So that's where Molycop's making new steel products or Mirvac's making apartments and Nespresso manufacturing coffee pods. There is a lot more information about how we work with our partners on our website and this diagrams up there too. So the vision for transforming waste into value has really been encapsulated in this fourth R that Veena talks about, which is the idea of reform, that not every material needs to be turned back into itself.
So where a lot of recycling tries to convert paper back into paper or plastic back into plastic, some materials, it's really difficult to do that. And as they've been engineered to have really qualities which allow them to serve their purpose in a really great way, such as with packaging, where you might have multiple layers to keep that food fresh, or you might have an E-waste where each surface or each layer of that material is doing a specific task, to decouple them or to make new product out of them can be a great way to actually close that loop with that product. And we'll step through a few of the ways that we've been doing this. And for us, it's really exciting when the more problematic the waste material, the more excited we get of finding new solutions and new technologies to resolve that.
And the that's where currently our focus is around batteries, but you'll see how we've been tackling glass and plastics and aluminium and packaging, in the slides as we go through. One of our foundation technologies was around green steel, and there's been a bit of focus on this in the last few years, but this was a way that Veena found, if converting waste rubber tyres into a carbon substitute for steel making, and there's obviously many layers to this, but the idea that waste rubber tyres are able to produce carbon and hydrogen within that steel making process. We've tried to capture in this little video, that's playing in the middle, where this is actually a horizontal tube furnace at the labs at SMaRT Centre, where we've been able to look down the camera or down the horizontal tube with a camera, to be able to see how that foaming and how that liquid steel is actually combining with the waste rubber tyre to become iron, and we're reducing that in situ there.
That then transformed into this whole idea of thermal transformation. And one of the areas that we've applied thermal transformation to, if you ever get to visit the SMaRT Centre, we'll happily show what we do here, where we can take items such as printed circuit boards and start to recover those valuable copper, tin, alloys that are within that, but also many of these other materials. And as anybody who's ever looked at one of these printed circuit boards, will know it's like a little city of materials. You've got plastics, you've got tantalum and palladium. You've got, in some cases with some of the capacitors, you've got some electrolytic materials, you've got copper, you've got fiberglass, you've got a lacquer on top. So there's all these different materials that we're either trying to reform into a new alloy or a new product, or we're trying to actually separate some of them out. And now of course, a lot of them will be connected up to a battery as well.
So I'm actually going to put this picture up here because this is a little bit of a shift in the presentation. So this is my next slide, where we are looking at, and I'm sure some of you might guess, it is actually a terrible photo, but it's a picture of windshields from cars. And this is where with a lot of glass recycling, we can of course, convert a lot of materials back into cell phones and back into themselves, and people are looking at how you can remelt glass. However, here with glass, you've got polymer layers, you've got the sandwich composite material. And that's where we started, where this is really difficult, convert back into glass, you got to remove different materials. However, our technology of how we tackle this is around green ceramics. And this is where, it's a product for the built environment, where we are looking at this glass problem being of a certain quantum, and then the industry of the built environment requiring, wall tiles, floor tiles, surfaces.
And what you can see here is how we've actually combined two problematic waste streams, where we've got waste textiles and waste glass, into these fantastic products. This is a picture of one of our installs last year, which was an apartment that we collaborated with, with Mirvac, and the floor tiles in the bottom right hand corner, the splash back, the island bench face, the kitchen table that's sneaking in front of the image, on the top right, the pendant lights, they're all made using green ceramics. And this green ceramic technology is where, at this point it was lab scale, in 2019, we went to our pilot facility, which the university funded and supported us in the basement of our building, which was 150 square metres. We'd been able to take it out into Cootamundra, with the support of the Physical Sciences Fund, to actually start commercialising this with one of our industry partners, Kandui Technologies, who are now manufacturing green ceramics.
And this is another shot of that apartment for just a different angle. This is our dining table, so you can see some of the materials that went into actually making this terrazzo looking surface. I thought I'd quickly just show some numbers around what we did out of our micro factory in the basement. So there's a bit of a clip that's playing in the bottom right hand corner, but this idea that we can actually take problematic waste glass and create surfaces like this wall tile that you're able to see in the image, which was a collaboration with Mirvac design. As with any one of our projects, it must be a touch of coffee because Veena is absolutely mad after coffee, so this actually uses the waste coffee bags that are used to transport coffee beans, to create this marble effect in the tiles. And with all of our products and with anything that we need to manufacture, it needs to be of high quality.
So with micro factories, when we're trying to create products which take waste materials, which is a dissimilar waste source, and can be variable, then convert a standardised product at the end, which is of a high quality and its fit for purpose at that right scale, we do go through external testing and of course, we're a material centre as well, so we get to do a lot of that testing ourselves, before we get the product certified. This is a quick picture of the Cootamundra facility, where currently we're using mattress waste as one of the feed stocks for our facility. So I'll end on this slide, this is a picture of our facility in Cootamundra the day before it launched last year. So it was bizarre, I've actually featured in the Australian Story, but we've got the first few modules that have arrived down there, that are making some of the products that I've shown in the previous slides. Look forward to answering any questions in the future. And if you'd like to check out our website, that has some of our other technologies around filaments as well, that are possible to use in fit outs.
The procurement journey – an office fit out
Presentation by Anke Aggio, Director Property Strategy & Leasing, former Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Video length: 10 minutes.
Hi, everyone. As director responsible for overseeing DAWEs civic quarter two or CQ2 project, I'm here to share an account of how my team optimised recyclability in the building project, and the lessons we learned along the way. CQ2 at 70 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra, is due for completion in September, 2022. It encompasses an area of just over 33,000 square metres, across 12 floors. The new accommodation will have approximately 2,700 work points, which we'll be able to support around 3,000 staff working flexibly. The external building envelope is now almost complete, as you can see here by these photos, and the fit out of all floors is well underway. All tender package procurements will be finalised in the coming months. And you can see in this photograph here, an artist's impression of what the building will look like when it's completed.
This slide highlights the long gestation period required to realise a significant build, apologies to those of you experienced in construction, but I wanted to emphasise that due to the duration of the build programme, some of the decisions taken early in the planning phase, constrained our ability to push the market on recycled content during the delivery phase. It was back in November, 2018, that the then Department of Agriculture, first consulted with the Department of Finance about the availability of suitable accommodation to consolidate its Canberra offices into one building. The timing was to align with the expiry of two principle leases in October, sorry, 2022. The aim, of course, was to co-locate staff in a fit-for-purpose contemporary workspace and achieve operational and financial efficiencies. Following market testing during 2019, the department identified a preferred option. A cost benefit analysis was completed in September of that year, and approval subsequently sought from DOF to enter into an agreement for lease with APG for a new building and fit out. The works were to be principally funded from an incentive, topped up by a relatively small commitment of departmental funds.
The agreement for lease, which outlines the programme and delivery methodology was signed by both parties in December, 2019. A machinery of government change occurred shortly after that in February, 2020, merging the Department of Agriculture with the Department of the Environment and Energy, effectively doubling the size of the department. The project would proceed, but CQ2 would no longer become the department's sole Canberra office. PWC approval for the project was awarded in October, 2020, with work commencing on site almost immediately. CQ2 is being delivered by the developer as an integrated fit out under a managing contractor contract. This means that base build works and fit out works are designed and constructed as one, rather than sequenced. An integrated fit out avoids abortive works associated with inheriting a warm shell and starting over, thereby minimising waste and maximising efficiency and cost savings. However, a drawback is that fit out designs need to be finalised early in the programme, allowing procurement packages to be let, so that sequence works can commence and ensure practical completion is achieved by the nominated end date.
The CQ2 AFL contained a mechanism whereby the department could either elect to independently manage the procurement and delivery of its fit out, or transfer this responsibility to the developer. In September, 2020, the department exercised the option to transfer responsibility for delivery. At this point, the department accepted the developer's tender strategy and approach. I commenced with the department in late January, 2021, and within my first week, had met with Cath Caldwell from the Commonwealth Sustainable Procurement Advocacy and Resource Centre, who was wanting to see what could be done to optimise the use of recycled content in CQ2, through leveraging the procurement process. Worth noting again, is that contractually, the horse had bolted just a few months earlier. Nevertheless, we committed to see what could be achieved. At the very least, we felt that we might explore ways to test the market, with the aim of developing effective procurement strategies and processes that could be applied successfully in future projects.
The developer was open to us including the model recyclability clauses developed by Cath's team, in the tender documentation. Although there was reluctance to weight these clauses, due to the possible impact on budget and/or programme. Since the developer was contractually bound to maintain budget and programme control, and this was a novel request, this nervousness was understood. It was agreed that we would ask all tenderers to provide information related to recyclability of materials, while targeting work packages that we felt would be most responsive, such as loose furniture and workstation packages, and we'd ask them to provide additional information. This additional information included the origin and nature of recycled content and the volume or percentages of recycled content contained within products or items. This information was captured in a separate schedule, with the aim of aggregating the data at the conclusion of the procurement phase.
In this slide, you can see a sample mechanical work package submission. The tenderer has addressed the key criteria, but also elected to provide the additional information, which was technically only required of targeted tenderers. We were pleased to see that many tenderers elected to provide this additional data. This slide was taken from the industry briefing pack. The industry briefing was held in Canberra in March, 2021, and gave us the opportunity to highlight to the market, the importance of recyclability for the department. The reporting of recycled content was made mandatory and a condition for tender compliance. We noted that although the model clauses weren't weighted, they could be used to differentiate suppliers that might otherwise be assessed as equal. The aim was to send a strong signal to the market. A late design change due to the department's decision to replace a number of workstations with acoustic and focus pods, meant that we had to prepare an additional procurement package quite late in the piece.
By this stage, the developers representatives had become more comfortable with the recyclability concept and approach, as they were seeing consistency across the trade packages, with minimal skewing of pricing due to the inclusion of the clauses. For this procurement, the developer agreed to weight the recyclability criteria at 5%, and here you can see the evaluation rubric that was applied. In assessing the outcomes of our recyclability initiative, I think that it's fair to say that there have been some wins, but also some areas where we could have done better. Overall, the market has responded reasonably well. Tenders awarded for ceiling tiles, base bill carpet and workstation acoustic screens, all included high levels of recycled content. We were hoping for big things with the loose furniture package, but disappointingly, this procurement was less successful. We did not receive a single compliant tender from our initial approach to the market, due to factors outside recycled reporting, and the pricing that came back was high.
The approach to market favoured the developer, they wanted a single supplier for all items, claiming they didn't have the expertise or the time to undertake a more granular assessment process. Given the market had to be approached a second time, the department sought to insert itself in the process to the extent that we could. A revised RFT to select tenderers allowed for alternate items to be nominated, provided they were similarly specked and fit for purpose. We, as in the department, also inserted ourselves in the evaluation process, together with the architect as a subject matter expert, reserving the right to select items from different tenderers, to achieve a value for money outcome that also looked to maximise recycled content.
This mechanism allowed the market to innovate and add value. For example, one item that was put forward as an alternative by a supplier, was a task chair made predominantly from recycled fishing nets, which has since been shortlisted, subject to an anonymous report and staff feedback. For me, a key takeaway from our journey to maximise recycled content in the project, is that the initiative needs to be identified as a priority early in the development and planning phases, thereby ensuring that key project personnel and enablers are on board and aligned. This includes the construction team, PMs, and most importantly, the architects. When procuring the services of these key enablers, I would be seeking to understand what skills, experience, innovative thinking and value they can bring to a project, that seeks to maximise recycled content.
Another important consideration is to allow sufficient time in the programme to source the right personnel, services and materials, i.e... Making sure the market has the time to respond. In our experience, budget and programme considerations created point attention with achieving maximum recyclability. These considerations led to the initial resistance we encountered in weight recycled criteria. I think this attitude will change as the market recognises and responds to government objectives and targets in this space. The work that Cath and her team are doing in supporting product stewardship and sharing information across government, will help enormously going forward. In summary, my experience with improving recyclability on the CQ2 project, gives me confidence that the market can and will embrace the initiative. It'll be exciting to see this initiative grow and thrive over the next few years, as we all look to find ways to contribute to a sustainable future. Thank you.
The design of buildings – Green Star Rating System
Presentation by Jorge Chapa, Head of Market Transformation, Green Building Council Australia. Video length: 17 minutes.
Hi, my name is Jorge Chapa, I'm the Head of Market Transformation, at the Green Building Council of Australia. Before I continue, I'd like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land in which I'm gathered, the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging. I'd really like to thank you as well, to the department, for giving us a chance to talk to you about Green Star. And today I'll be giving you an overview of the rating system, with a specific focus on new buildings and new fit outs. First though, allow me to introduce the Green Building Council of Australia. We are an industry association dedicated to transforming the built environment. We rate through Green Star, the sustainability aspects of buildings, fit outs, and communities. We advocate to you as government and to local and state authorities as well, for more sustainable practises. We educate thousands of professionals all over Australia, and we collaborate with many other organisations to achieve our goals.
And what is our goal? Well, our vision is simple, we want to deliver healthy, resilient, and positive places for people and nature. We aim to do this because these things matter. And the way we think about it, we think about it in the context of three key things, climate action, resource efficiency, and health and wellbeing. But why do we do this? When we look at the common risks that we are all facing, we've come to recognise that a large number of them are directly related to climate change and the built environment, and the use of resources that come with it. The World Economic Forum publishes a global risks report every year, they ask a few hundred experts, leading thought leaders and scientists and so on, and CEOs, one of the things that they get worried about every single year. And to be quite clear, this is exactly what they see.
Over the next 10 years, they see top 10 risks that are highlighting everything that they do. Climate action failure, extreme weather, biodiversity loss, social cohesion erosion, debt crisis, human environmental damage, and they've also outlined top five Australian risks. Now what's interesting, of course, is how they see these risks move forward. Over the next very short term risks, they are seeing risks like extreme weather continue to be emphasised at the top, they see climate action failure, they see social cohesion erosion, and they see them move throughout. And you can see that in five to 10 years, the risks that we're going to be facing are explicitly and directly related to things that we, in the built environment, can address. And we essentially summarise them as climate action, resource and circularity and health and wellbeing. So those are our big sustainability mega trends, those are our sustainability imperatives. And out of those imperatives we produce, or we have nine sub-elements that we keep an eye out, and that we make sure that all of our activities are directly addressing.
By, for example, putting out leadership papers, which might be of interest to you, they're all available on our website, that outline broadly how we think those sustainability mega trends will evolve in the built environment and what we need to do to manage those risks and manage the impact that those mega trends will have on us, and Green Star is an excellent example of a tool that allows you to do this. So what is Green Star? Green Star essentially is a rating system that was developed in 2003 by ourselves, that is now being used throughout the built environment, to assess whether a building is sustainable or not. And it's been wildly successful. It has been used from libraries, to hotels, to offices, to the biggest regeneration projects in the country, to some of the smallest fit outs that you can think of. Green Star ultimately drives the creation of healthy, resilient, and positive places for people and nature.
And Green Star aims to transform the built environment by reducing the impact of climate change to and from the built environment, enhancing our health and quality of life, restoring and protecting our planets biodiversity and ecosystem, driving resilient outcomes for buildings, fit outs and communities, and contributing to market transformation and a sustainable economy. It does this by essentially being a set of requirements that all buildings must meet and they can do this to achieve a rating. And I'll talk about that in a second. Now Green Star is a quality built environment, it is subject to a comprehensive ISO 9001 quality management system, to make sure that the assessments that we're carrying through, are appropriate, and it is a registered trademark on the ACCC, so we have to stand behind what we say. It has been used for a long time by the property centre. There are around 3,250 plus certifications across thousands of fit outs, buildings, and communities.
Just to give you an idea of the growth of Green Star to date, that gives you some of the numbers that we can see, and you can see a big spike there. That red line is for our existing buildings rating tool, that has issued about 1,500 certifications to this point, since its introduction in 2014. Broadly speaking, there's about 48 million square metres of green building or Green Star certified space in Australia, 40% of retail is Green Star certified, 60,000 people live in Green Star rated apartments, 1.3 million people visit a Green Star rated shopping centre every day. In the end, 44% of Australia's CBD office space is Green Star certified, and of ASX 50 companies use Green Star. Now I can give you lots of stats in this presentation, but I'd rather pull this document, which is available on our website, which is called: Green Star, A Year in Focus. It actually gives you all of this information and more, around what the rating system is doing, valuable statistics, case studies and insights into Green Star's continued success, I highly encourage you to take a look at it.
Now, what is Green Star? Green Star's currently going through a bit of an evolution, just so you know, it's changing from the rating tool version that was released in 2014, to one that we call Green Star future focus, which started its release last October in 2020, so about a year and a bit ago. Green Star buildings, which is essentially what the update to the Green Star rating tool for new buildings is called, was released in October, 2020, and replaces Green Star design and as built. You can no longer register for Green Star design and as built, that's now an outdated rating tool, so Green Star buildings replaces that. We introduced last year Green Star homes, which is for the development of new single family dwellings and soon, apartments. We have Green Star performance, which is getting updated right now to version two, which will be around middle of this year. And Green Star performance is for existing building operations.
We also have Green Star communities, which is a rating tool for new precincts. And finally Green Star interiors, Green Star interiors is a rating tool we've been using rate fit outs of all kinds, and is being replaced and renamed to become Green Star fit outs. It's under development as of now. And while I won't go into a lot of detail about what Green Star fit outs is, I will not do that because I will use Green Star buildings as essentially the basis of what I'm talking to you about. But rest assured, all of the things that I talk about related to Green Star buildings will impact Green Star fit outs, you will see a lot of that show up there. What is it that we really care about in terms of Green Star? This next version of Green Star or this revision to Green Star was done to account for essentially five key things.
We want to deliver a new definition of a sustainable building. We want to meet the Paris agreement or make sure the built environment is meeting the requirements of the Paris Agreement. We want to respond to the broader sustainability mega trends. Drive opportunities for supply chain transformation. And create a clear expectation for new buildings. We have a legacy definition, this is what we call the framework that Green Star used since the beginning. And as you can see, our legacy rating tools have nine categories or nine groupings of things. And it was a great definition of a green building, a defined best practise in environmental design. But really what we're looking for and what we're concerned about now, is a very different subset of things compared to what was important back in the year 2000. And so the next version of Green Star essentially accounts to deliver healthy, resilient, and positive places for people and nature, build responsibly and showcasing leadership.
That aspect is quite important, and we generally do believe, and we generally do think that this new framework for assessing the quality of the built environment is much more meaningful than what we've had in the past. We believe this will give us the right set of definitions to truly create a more sustainable built environment. And this is an example of the set of credits that Green Star building has. And you can see a few things that are very different to the current version of Green Star, if you know about the current version, but there's a few things that even if you don't, are still particularly interesting to you. So for example, we have a set of a new resilience category, that is looking at the impacts of climate change on buildings, or our positive category essentially has a credit called upfront carbon emissions, which is looking at the carbon from the production and construction of materials in buildings.
We also have a category, a nature category, which very much geared to us trying to improve the biodiversity of our cities. We want to well, make cities greener, to be honest, that's essentially our goal. Another key aspect of Green Star buildings is that it is very much trying to drive buildings to ensure that they're part of the solution to climate change. So it drives leading outcomes. It is important, for example, that Green Star buildings delivers net zero buildings as quickly as we can. So if you want to get a six star rating and I should, at this point, take a second to just note this, Green Star has three star ratings or Green Star for new buildings, new fit outs and new precincts. Essentially award you a rating from four star to six star, Green Star performance gives you one, two and three as well, but we'll put that to the side for a second.
For new things, we give you a rating of four, five or six stars, each representing best practise, Australian excellence and world leadership, with six star being the highest. For our purposes, though, we won't give you a six star rating anymore, if that asset, that building is not being built to be what we call climate positive. And that essentially means that it's a building that is fossil feel free, powered by renewables, highly efficient, built with lower upfront carbon emissions and offset with nature, this is what we call our climate positive pathway, is required for six star buildings, but it's also something that will get automatically rolled into the other star ratings over time. So from January, 2023, if you register a building that will get a five star rating, sorry, a five star rating from 2023 onwards, that building too has to be designed, so when built, it is climate positive.
And if you register a building from 2026 onwards, a four star rated building has to be climate positive as well. And that's to ensure that the industry is moving forward on a trajectory and on a clear timeline, so that by 2030, all buildings are being delivered to be net zero, and that's ultimately our goal. And we do talk a little bit more about this in this document, climate positive buildings and our net zero ambitions, which is essentially a document that supersedes what we used to call a climate positive roadmap for the built environment or builds upon rather than supersedes, builds upon the climate positive roadmap for the built environment. And I strongly encourage you to take a look at these two documents if you're interested in seeing how and why, what our plans are for driving climate positive buildings in Australia.
One key thing that the roadmap and this document do call, is that all buildings have to be fossil fuel free. That's a big shift from how we design and build buildings today. So we are reading this document, called a practical guide for electrification for new buildings, in the next month or so, maybe towards March, and we will be releasing a version for existing buildings as well soon, and that's trying to encourage people to move away from the use of natural gas in buildings. In fit outs, we should point out, especially if you have a kitchen of some form, that tends to happen. And so we need to ensure that we start driving people towards using induction equipment, for example, or more electric solutions in kitchens, to get rid of gas from them. Green Star buildings for Green Star as well, is essentially trying to drive opportunities for supply chain transformation.
We are trying to create a drive for low carbon products. We are strongly recognising products that have low upfront carbon emissions, that is emissions that happen during the manufacturing, production and transportation of emissions. We're also creating what we call the responsible products framework. When you're assessing the quality of a product, you have to consider many different things about it, everything from cost and the environmental impact, so we're trying to help manage that. And our responsible products framework, which applies to responsible structure, envelope, systems and finishes, those are the names of the credits within the rating tool that address this, or in fit outs at some point, responsible furniture and equipment. We're essentially trying to drive products to be responsible, healthy, positive, and circular, that's really important, and it is the quality of the products that we're trying to encourage people to deliver.
We want to encourage the product manufacturers to just get better at delivering these types of products, so that they too are in a trajectory to addressing all of the issues that we're highlighting as being critical. Finally, no matter what, under Green Star buildings, a new Green Star rated building will have to deal and meet these 10 things, that's what we call them. These 10 things are essentially what's expected out of every Green Star rated building, has to protect environmentally significant areas. Has to meet less carbon in construction operations. Is water efficient. Has improved air, light, acoustics and product finishes. Promotes physical activity. Built to consider climate change impacts. It manages environmental impacts during construction. It embraces the diversity of our population. Enables practises that reduce operational waste. And just as importantly, is verified to perform as designed.
These are the 10 things that every Green Star rated building should meet, and to be honest, these are the 10 things that every building built in Australia should actually do. So we think they are 10 very important ones. Finally, how does Green Star work? Well Green Star essentially is a certification process, an assessment process that has two steps. And these two are repeated for buildings and fit outs. Commitment is slightly different because of the long development timeframe of that type of project and performance also varies. So for purposes of new things, there is what we call a Green Star design rating, which is optional, and it's about your commitment, it's about how you will design the space or the place. But the one that matters is certified. So when you get a Green Star certified rating, that means that the building is finished as built or the building finished as built, has actually been constructed to meet the Green Star requirements appropriately. That's the actual Green Star rating, that's the one that effectively counts, and the same thing happens for fit outs.
Now there's a few other things for fit outs that I'm not going to take too much time presenting yet, but they're worthwhile highlighting for you. Amongst other things, fit outs is going to be driving and placing significantly more important on the procurement of things, that's going to matter a lot in that rating tool. As well as the procurement of renewable green power or renewable energy, I should say. Those two things are going to be incredibly important for the future of fit outs in the built environment. We're also expecting to see a lot of changes in how fit outs are made, built and operated because of what's happened with COVID. So we're taking a bit of a wait and see attitude to just see what changes we need to do to the rating tool, to account for those changes. Finally, if you have any questions at all related to Green Star, please feel free to ask them or reach out to us. As I've said, my name is Jorge Chapa, and from everyone here at the Green Building Council of Australia, thank you.
Connecting social and environmental objectives
Presentation by Sarah Collins, Head of Procurement, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Video length: 15 minutes.
Hi, I'm Sarah Collins.
I'm the head of procurement at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. So, whilst I'm not a Commonwealth government agency, I work for a corporate Commonwealth entity. So, like Australia Post and CSIRO, we're a Commonwealth government business, so fully funded like yourselves are. My journey in sustainable procurement and what it means to me, but also what it means to the ABC and what we are doing in that respect, I guess, for myself, I hadn't really given much thought to the social and sustainable side of what we did until I worked for a university.
I started working probably about 10 years into my career at the University of Sydney and when I was there, I was suddenly at an organisation that was doing a lot of very purposeful things with the research and teaching. It wasn't just about an organisation adding to its triple bottom line and one of the differential points for attracting students was around what is the university doing from a sustainability perspective and I remember we had a group of really motivated students come to us with a petition that they'd had a lot of signatures for wanting to move all of our onsite catering facilities to fair trade. And it was really sort of starting to get me think, well, what does this mean to an organisation and what can it proactively do in this space and make it as well as things like an employer of choice and things like that, but it's also about its product and how people, in a university's case, choose to go to the University of Sydney as opposed to other universities because of their sustainable approaches.
When I moved on from there, I actually went into state government and I was working at transport for New South Wales and I was then exposed to a broader definition of sustainable procurement which because previously we had been looking a little bit more at the environmental side of things. And when I was at transport, I was assigned to the Roads Agency and we had a lot of suppliers, a lot of small mum and dad suppliers in regional locations and I realised we could do a lot of good for those suppliers in terms of their sustainability and their economic opportunities and the regional locations where they were based and that's what really got me starting to think about the concept of procurement with purpose. I hadn't quite still sort of coined onto the fact that it was sustainable procurement because I still had a very narrow view of what sustainability was.
Roughly the same time, this is in about 2014, a new global standard ISO 2400 was being developed for sustainable procurement and I was lucky that I was asked by our Chartered Institute of Procurement Supply, CIPS, here in Australia to represent them on the Australian contingent that was being run by Standards Australia for Australia's input into the development of this standard. I almost had this overnight epiphany that this was what I'd been looking for, the concept of sustainable procurement being more the social and economic side as well, not just the environmental side and wholeheartedly sort of threw myself into being on the committee for the standard. And I had no idea what it meant to be involved in development of a standard, and it was sort of four years of to‑ing and fro‑ing at a global level with similar committees in China, in the US and the UK, all sort of debating about what sustainable procurement meant, how we defined it, how we could agree on aspects of it that worked everywhere because by example, labour rules are different here as they are in the US, as they are in China and we had to sort of reach agreement for the standard.
After quite a while, the standard was finally published in, I think it was sometime in 2017 and that was a really great launchpad for discussions with lots of organisations, whether it be where I worked or just people I met, sort of talking about what sustainability meant. And I'm just going to read from the actual standard at the moment because sustainability means more than just what... Sustainable procurement, sorry, means more than just the environmental side of it. So, according to the ISO standard, sustainable procurement is procurement that has the most positive environmental, social and economic impacts possible over the entire life cycle.
And that was something that really sort of resonated to me because especially when I was working at transport in Roads and Maritime, we had a lot of suppliers that we were their biggest customer and we had a responsibility. These small organisations out in regional towns that were doing work for us, it might be road maintenance, something like that and we had a responsibility for how we helped them keep being a going concern because if some reason we pulled out of using them, we might have decided to go to a statewide supplier for whatever it is they did for us, it might be saying mowing on the side of highways, by example, we could send that supplier broke which means their staff then also wouldn't have jobs and these people who lived in the regional town where a lot of our staff would work as well, sorry, a lot of our staff lived as well. So, that concept of how do we help suppliers be sustainable longer-term, so be there not just for the current, but the future as well was something that really got me thinking.
Move forward a couple of years, I then started working at the ABC and the day after, I think it was the day after I started, the Australian Modern Slavery Act passed and me not really knowing much about the ABC from the back office side of things as I was going around meeting people and they just talked to me, I started talking about my passion around social and sustainable procurement, but also talking specifically about the Modern Slavery Act because it was a news article. It had just been published and that really got a lot of people interested and just the concept of social and sustainable and how the modern slavery side linked into it was something that they wanted to hear more about.
So, that led us to developing, a couple of years ago, a social and sustainable procurement strategy that we have at the ABC and it's guided by the ISO 2400 standard which it's got seven main pillars which I'll just read out, which are organisational governance, human rights, labour practices, the environment, fair operating practices, consumer issues and community involvement and development.
Now, when I started talking about a lot of those things to people at the ABC, it wasn't a hard sell. We're a national company. We have 54 offices across Australia in a lot of very small remote locations where we do engage a lot of local suppliers. And as soon as I started talking to people about that, they're just like, "Oh, this is great. We've been looking for ways that we can engage more with the community or we can engage more with indigenous suppliers." And this was suddenly sort of that, I guess, a way of pulling it all together.
The ABC already had a Reconciliation Action Plan which was aligned to the IPP, but they had just been focusing on achieving the 3% target. So, we then had an opportunity at the same time whilst we were setting our next RAP which is an elevated RAP which is the one we're at the moment to sort of expand that definition of the procurement targets. So, we sort of retained our 3% target alongside the IPP, but we're saying, "Well, we need to actually start looking at how we can create opportunities." So, how do we sort of do briefings to indigenous suppliers, encourage them to want to come and do work with us and that sort of had a knock-on effect into other areas. It could be social enterprises. It could be small businesses. It could be regional businesses. So, how do we make ourselves more attractive so that we're not just getting the big players, we're getting the smaller organisations who sort of know how to respond to a government tender.
And that again got people really interested in terms of, okay, we're looking at meeting our RAP targets, but we're looking at doing something a little bit more there about giving back and giving back to the local communities that we work really closely with. So, I guess the social and sustainable procurement strategy as it came together, we're like, "Okay, well, we now have a way that we are putting structure around our procurement targets in our Reconciliation Action Plan, but we also now have legal obligations back to the Modern Slavery Act that I mentioned a couple of minutes ago." So, how can we actually use this social and sustainable procurement strategy to sort of give us the framework around what we need to do align to the human rights side of the ISO standard?
So, they've sort of become the two main things this strategy is focused on. Now it does have the environmental side on and it's got things around the circular economy around recycle, reuse, repurpose, but it's also bringing in some other concepts as well and sort of saying, "You don't have to cherry-pick these. You don't have to do them in isolation. If you have an overall strategy in this space, they then become different pillars that you work on." And that's the way we've sort of approached it and it's been something that's been... People have been very accepting of it. People have been very interested. They've been coming to us proactively to sort of say, "Hey, there's something here that I think might be an opportunity. What can we do?"
We've also brought social and sustainable factors into all of our RFx documents. So, the way we go out and assess the market, the way we ask them questions around their indigenous participation, their supplier code of conducts, whether they are reporting under the Modern Slavery Act, what else they're doing in the social and regional sort of space if they have footprints there and really starting to bring that accessible content into all of our evaluations and our decisions.
Now, I realise I've only got a couple of minutes left, but that's probably just something I really want to emphasise because all through my career, I've had people say, "Sustainable procurement, we haven't got time to think about this. The suppliers aren't ready. It's not going to make a difference." And I guess just some reflection on that is it does make a difference.
And I remember back when I worked at University of Sydney, we started putting these sort of questions around more the environmental sustainability into our RFXs and in my mind, still remember one we did for consulting services and it went out to big consulting companies. And I had to battle with the evaluation committee to get some sustainable criteria into that because I sort of said, "It's not applicable. This is consulting." And to this date, one of the responses that came back for that is still one of the best I've ever seen. It was in the environmental side, but it's still one of the best sustainability responses I've ever seen. And I guess my message there is you have to start asking these questions to get the market to start responding to them and giving consideration to them if it's not something they're currently doing, but also don't have preconceived ideas of what different sectors and different industries can do because you'll be surprised by what programs they have in the background.
It's the same with the indigenous. We have recently gone out to market and we're shortly going to appoint a source to contract provider. And again, I got that challenge of round well, indigenous participation. These are big global companies, global tech companies. They don't have the indigenous side. But I was actually quite pleasantly surprised by what some came back with in terms of their programs in that space. Some of them even had RAPs or if they didn't have something formal, they had informal policies around indigenous or other social or modern slavery considerations.
So, again, as I said, don't make assumptions about whether the market is ready and about whether your particular category of spend can have social procurement or social and sustainable procurement in it because you don't know unless you ask and if you do ask, that's where the suppliers are going to start thinking differently as well. And it's something that all of us as procurers really should be considering because there shouldn't be procurement and sustainable procurement. It should be one and the same. It should just be good practice procurement. The same way that we focus on value for money decisions and that being good practice, having social and sustainable decisions and supporting suppliers and communities economically for the long-term is something that's just good practice and it's something that we can really all make a difference with and it's quite exciting when you get involved in projects like that.
Just sort of my last closing statement there is one of my last projects I worked on at transport for New South Wales was the Parramatta Light Rail project and it had some very defined targets about that project was costing billions of dollars and they said, "Right, we want to create opportunities for long-term unemployed. We want to create opportunities for older workers. We want to create opportunities for women in non-traditional roles. We want to create opportunities for unskilled youth labour. We're spending all this money. Let's make sure that the head contractors work with us in this space and help us achieve those objectives." It feels really good when you're going out there spending the public money, but knowing you're also spending public money that is creating this knock-on economic benefit that's going to last for decades and generations. It's something to be really proud out of that we can make a difference like that in procurement as a profession.
So, I hope you've enjoyed my observations and my challenging to think sort of beyond just sustainable procurement is about environmental. There's so much more we can do and it's so enjoyable and procurement's a great profession and yeah. Look, anyone who's ever met me before or heard me talk says that I like to say that procurement found me. I don't like people using the expression that they fell into procurement because it devalues the great things that we can do and I'm hoping that some of the things I've shared with you today are some examples of in this particular space what we can do and what we can contribute back. Thank you.
Circular solutions in waste sorting bins
Presentation by Paul Anderson, Assistant Director - Waste Product, Department of Defence. Video length: 15 minutes
Good afternoon and welcome from Yaithmathang country. My name is Paul Anderson. I work within the Department of Defence. My role is as an assistant director and I work within the waste management portfolio. I'm broadcasting to you today from northeast Victoria in a town called Yackandandah which as I say is Yaithmathang country. So, I'd like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and all the lands that we're gathering on today and I acknowledge their traditional owners past, present and emerging. In addition to acknowledging the traditional owners, I'd also like to acknowledge some of my colleagues who have helped me prepare for today's presentation, in particular, Mr Dale Manley, who works for Veolia Environmental Services and also to Mr Peter Cruwys who works for Source Separation Systems. Both Dale and Peter have provided me with information and data which is going to help me present to you today.
So, I guess, setting the scene, what is my story. So, I want to talk to you today about a sustainable procurement activity that I've been involved in within Department of Defence and how it ties to the circular economy within the waste and recycling industry, how it ties to generating demand for recycled content. I'm going to talk about material recovery and the way in which procurement decisions in particularly the procurement decisions that I've influenced has supported, I suppose, the local domestic manufacturing industry and it tries to tie into that whole circular economy element for waste management.
Okay. So, as background, I want to talk a little bit about the Defence waste portfolio and that's really useful context for the example I'm going to use when I talk about the uptake of recycled content. So, Defence is a really large government agency. We are a large estate holder. We have 400 different Defence sites, over 5,000 buildings and we're a large consumer of goods and services and as a result of being a large organisation of that scale, we also produce quite a lot of waste. Specifically, it's over 50,000 tonnes of solid waste and 30 million litres of liquid waste in the portfolio that I manage.
Our waste is also quite diverse, unique and complex and I'll just explain what I mean by that. So, the types of waste that Defence produces is much, I suppose, more diverse than your typical curbside municipal council collections. Our waste includes those waste streams, but we also have, for example, medical waste coming out of our Defence health centres. We also have construction waste from our major capital facilities programs. We have ship waste coming off Navy vessels when in port. We have unique waste streams such as explosive ordnance waste. So, functioned explosive ordnance, you wouldn't expect to see in curbside municipal council collection, or at least you'd hope not. We have cytotoxic waste coming out of our science and technology group and we have other waste streams that are unique to Defence's training activities, such as honey pot effluent waste for example.
We're complex by virtue of our, I guess our geographic disposition. We're across all states and territories and often, we're looking for waste solutions in very remote parts of the country. So, not in the capital sort of metropolitan areas of the country. We partnered with Veolia Environmental Services for our base services waste collection activity. Now, I guess as a note of procurement, our size and scale of our waste, some 90,000 collections each and every month off the Defence estate, I guess, is a significant volume and with great volume comes great opportunity. And also, with the ability of that sort of scale, it also enables us to have a degree of influence on the market.
Now, our waste management activities within Defence are geared around supporting the national waste policy which DAWE sponsor, in particular, the National Waste Policy Action Plan. Now, Defence governs the implementation and performance through its Waste and Sustainable Procurement Program. Now, in support of the National Waste Policy Action Plan, I'm overseeing the implementation of what Defence calls its Waste Optimization Program. That's essentially a program in which we intend to and are improving our waste segregation and recycling and material recovery and I'm going to explain in the next slide a little bit more about the Waste Optimization Program.
So, one of the ways I thought I would explain the Waste Optimization Program to you is just take a little snippet from one of the project animation clips that we have. It's not the entire animation clip, but it's just a little segment of it which gives a little bit more detail of what's involved in Defence's waste optimization program. So, I'll play that now and then come back to you with the rest of my presentation.
As a large generator of waste within the Australian government, the Department of Defence has the greatest opportunity to drive change and demonstrate its achievement to the Australian community. Veolia is supporting Defence to deliver its waste policy objectives through delivery of the Waste Optimization Program. Optimization will also assist in meeting Defense's environmental vision of Defence by being a leader in sustainable environmental management.
The Waste Optimization Program aims to increase the recycling of unavoidable waste. Waste optimization supports a circular economy by recovering recyclable materials and organics. These are key objectives of the Defence Waste and Recycled Materials Policy. As an activity, waste optimization has two key components that will affect the way that waste is managed onsite. One, a targeted education and communication program so all personnel understand how to recycle correctly and why it is important. Two, providing internal and external recycling stations that cater to specific waste and recyclable materials. Veolia will provide transparent and real-time reporting of waste diversion and recovery data to support better consumer investment and policy decisions.
So, that was just a brief insight to the Waste Optimization Program, but essentially to summarise, it involves undertaking site assessments of each of the different Defence locations, assessing the sorts of segregation opportunities that exist, introducing a new waste segregation and collection system, educating our people on our recycling practices and capturing a whole heap of really good data about the different volumes and types of waste that Defence produces which essentially will enable us to make better decisions around innovation and waste minimization and landfill diversion opportunities.
Now, it's important to note that as we roll out this program, we have a dependency on the procurement and supply of the waste optimization receptacles. So, it's the MultiSort bins that enable the individual waste generators that work on the Defence estate to separate their waste correctly. When we rolled out the first pilot site and subsequent transition insights, we used a MultiSort separation solution that was manufactured offshore using virgin plastics. Now, what we learnt from, I guess, lessons learned, reflections of the implementation in the trial side is that we were going to be consuming quite a lot of these bins. So, that was an opportunity to reflect on our procurement practices for the supply of these bins.
So, what we acknowledged was that we were operating in a linear economy in the supply of these bins, and we were going to be procuring quite a large scale of them. Somewhere in the magnitude of 30 to 40,000 bins were going to be needed to roll this program out across the entire Defence estate. So, that introduced, I guess, us to the opportunity to rethink sustainability on our second consignment and subsequent purchases of these bins as we were rolling out the program. So, that was an opportunity to, I guess, sit down with Veolia who are implementing this program for Defence, and essentially redesign some of the specifications, particularly around the specifications of the bin because what Defence wanted to do was procure a bin made from a hundred percent recycled Australian plastic. So, partnering with industry and doing that industry engagement was a really important piece of the program and I guess it tied to that change in procurement scope.
So, one of the things we did, we sit down with Veolia and just to, I guess, redefine what it is we want and how we wanted to anchor this Waste Optimization Project and program to a really good, sustainable procurement outcome that would demonstrate a circular economy. So, what better way than to have these bins created out of recycled content? Okay. So, the transition to a circular economy for the procurement of the bins wasn't without its challenges. When we engaged Veolia on the new specifications, Veolia advised that there was no locally manufactured product that was fit for purpose, that would meet the program's requirements, the specification of the bin and really draw on that uptake of recycled content.
So, with that, but knowing our scale and the volume of bins that we were acquiring, we had that ability to influence the market. Veolia partnered with Source Separation Systems who were keen to support a circular economy within the Australian recycle industry and through that partnership, they were able to do the necessary investment to create this product for us. Now, according to Peter at Source Separation and to coin, I guess, a current term, Source Separation were willing to pivot and invest and it was a sizeable investment, $250,000 Peter has advised, of what was necessary for them to invest in the creation of an Australian-manufactured Source Separation bin using recycled plastic content. But managing risk for them was easy, I'm told by Peter. It was essentially the confidence in the scale and volume that Defence was procuring or that we required, I guess, gave them the necessary confidence to make that investment and produce this product.
Now, I just want to quickly use this opportunity to perhaps test the assumption that sustainable procurement is more expensive. Now, we, as in Defence and Veolia, were certainly prepared to widen the lens on considering the value for money assessment on the new specifications for the bins. As it happens though, we weren't actually required to do that because the product that Source Separations were able to produce was the same unit price per bin as the virgin plastic product. So, it wasn't, I guess, the country of origin or the manufacturing content that was driving price. It was really the scale of our activities that was influencing price. So, for us, although we made considerations and thought about the potential cost increase or decrease as a result of switching to a recycled product, it really, in our case, wasn't necessary to overthink that because we were fortunate enough to, I guess, realise that price was driven through other factors.
So, in this story, what we have is a really good outcome in terms of the uptake of recycled content by government in this particular procurement example, but there is an untold story here that I want to unpack a little bit more. So, the untold story. So, definitely a good environmental outcome. Directly as a result of this program, Source Separations have invested in producing a locally manufactured product here in Australia, and they've now produced 32,466 bin units that are made from recycled content. That's 68 tonnes of Australian post-consumer recycled plastic that has gone into the manufacturing of those 32,500 bins. So, a really good environmental story here and a really good circular economy story, but it doesn't just stop there when it comes to the good news or the good outcomes associated with this particular activity because it is about a circular economy, and therefore, in part, it's about jobs.
So, what I'm told from Peter at Source Separations and Veolia is its activities like this that have multiple points of sort of job security and creation. So, if I run through those, it's waste collection and curbside transportation of the recycled materials to a processing. There's jobs obviously in the processing side when it comes to material recovery facilities. There's manufacturing jobs to transform those recycled bottles and plastic items into plastic pellets ready for manufacturing and then importantly for this program, it was around the injection moulding industry within Australia which typically was supporting a declining injection moulding industry that was supporting the car manufacturing industry in Australia.
So, those manufacturing equipment and personnel were able to, I guess, also pivot alongside Source Separations and repurpose equipment to be able to manufacture these bins. So, I guess a number of ways in which this particular circular economy story supports more than just an environmental outcome. In terms of Source Separation, as I say, Peter's gone on to sell some 32,000 bins made from this recycled content. So, their market share in this sort of sector changes as a result of this decision and it's a really positive outcome for that industry and that business.
Humanising the procurement decisions of the Commonwealth or any procurement decision for that matter, I want to introduce you to Emily. Emily's an employee of Source Separations. Emily was employed by Peter at the beginning of this project, this decision of Source Separations to in invest in the manufacturing of these bins. Now, Source Separations have gone on to become New South Wales and ACT Group Employer of the Year for Small Businesses, but Emily, she was nominated and was a finalist in the New South Wales ACT Trainee of the Year program for 2021 which is a really good outcome. I think it's always important that we humanise some of these decisions and it has had an impact not just on the environment, but on people such as Emily.
Well, I just simply wish to say thank you for everybody for listening today and also for those that are particularly interested in this story around Source Separation Systems closing the loop on this circular economy on the production of the waste bins, there was an article published in the Waste Management Review of 2020 and there's a link on this last slide for those that want to read a little bit more into this [www.sourceseparationsystems.com.au/blog/the-post-consumer-loop-source-s…]. But once again, thanks for your time. I certainly look forward to any questions you might have from my presentation. Thank you.
Innovative outcomes in ReefHQ’s capital works
Sascha Thyer, Assistant Director - Sustainability, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Video length: 15 minutes
Sascha Thyer:Hello. I'm Sascha Thyer. I'm going to be talking to you today about Reef HQ Aquarium and a case study of sustainable procurement in action. Reef HQ Aquarium is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority that manages the Great Barrier Reef and we're a federal agency with our headquarters up in Townsville. So, just a little bit about Reef HQ. It's got the world's largest living coral reef aquarium and it is the national education centre for the Great Barrier Reef. So, our prime focus is educating people on the wonders and key messages surrounding the Great Barrier Reef, but of course, we're operating a business and we have to procure things just like everybody else. So, today, I'm going to talk a little bit about some of the activities that we've been undertaking where we have to procure items, not endorsing any brands or anything, but I will give some examples just to demonstrate what we've been up to.
Sascha Thyer:So, we've been thinking about sustainability obviously for quite a long time and particularly in how to deliver our services in a sustainable way. So, I've always found it useful to think about sustainability and our footprint in a way that is really meaningful and that also helps for us to communicate that to other people. So, here's a couple of examples of how to make it meaningful. So, 25 kilograms of CO2 are sucked up by an average tree in a year, but your average sneaker also uses about 14 kilograms of CO2 in its life cycle. So, that just gives you an idea.
Sascha Thyer:So, companies can use these types of measures to formally demonstrate the impacts of their products and that can be really useful in looking at what the product is and the impact that it's having when you are going to buy a product. So, I found it really useful to have a really good look at these impact statements. Some of them have been around for a long time.
Sascha Thyer:So, for example, we actually bought some carpet for our entire facility a number of years ago and we found a product that had one of these declarations and there's example on the slide there and it shows the impact of every stage of the life cycle of this carpet which is really amazing and it puts it in a standardised way so you can see how much CO2 equivalent is being made with every step of the manufacturer of this product and this particular product also was using recycling in the product. So, the product was made from 100% recycled material, but also they were paying fishers in developing countries to harvest old fishing nets from the sea and using this in the product which is a fantastic example of using recycled content in a product.
Sascha Thyer:So, here's another example. We've got this bizarre looking thing. It's actually a micro-hydro generator and it actually generates energy. So, it's great for the environment from that point of view, but it's also got recycled content in the product itself. So, about 68% of the product comes from recycled materials and they also have an environmental statement about the product and that can tell us exactly how much content does come from recycling which is a useful measure for us to prioritise for procurement and what benefits we're getting from the product. And you can also compare the life cycle of the product, how much equivalent CO2 emissions are going into that product.
Sascha Thyer:So, another example is glass. We all know that glass can be recycled, but you might not know that you can recycle glass material into a filtration device and the picture you're seeing is a very large sand filter and recently, we had to change the filter metre out of these sand filters and we used six tonnes of recycled glass in these sand filters. So, a great reuse of that material, and it actually ended up being a better product than what we were previously using. So, it doesn't get compacted as easily. So, it's got better performance and overall, it was actually a better product and a good price as well.
Sascha Thyer:So, another recycling opportunity is concrete. I think most people would know by now that concrete and cement represent a large portion of the global carbon emissions, actually about 8%, and there are ways that we can reduce the impact of concrete, and this is actually a picture of the building next door to Reef HQ Aquarium. It's currently being demolished and the demolition contractor that was chosen was one of the value for money criteria was a sustainability performance, and they actually recycle all the concrete when they're doing the demolition and it gets used in road base for road projects which is fantastic and it's quite amazing to watch actually. They carefully pick all the steel out of the concrete and then crush it down to a fine dust so that the volume is less for transport and then it can get used in the road base which is fantastic use of this product. But you can also use other recycled materials in concrete now. So, they're starting to use fibreglass and glass in concrete as well.
Sascha Thyer:So, apparently in Australia, we're pretty good at recycling metals as well. So, we've really focused heavily for a number of years now on recycling metals when we're doing our projects and we've actually been getting revenue back in cost recovery by doing that. So, it's a benefit all round. So, when you start to look at it, you just see that there's opportunities for recycling everywhere and it is becoming a really big thing and most people now are starting to get a good understanding that when you're choosing products, you can use those products that have recycled content in them.
Sascha Thyer:For many years, we've been using furniture for our facility that's got recycled content and we've next to the sea. So, we've got a wharf there, and we've been using recycled product in the materials around the wharf, but even without getting external recycled content, we actually focus on recycling materials. If we ever demolish something, we look at whether we can actually recycle back into the new product sort of being made. So, you can see on the screen there a set of stairs. Some of the material there was actually recycled from something else that was at the end of its life. So, also, you can see the recycled content now. They're starting to use fibres in the cement and that's the reinforcement in the cement. So, that's a great example of recycling there as well.
Sascha Thyer:So, the other focus for us is the whole life cycle of the products. So, we look at the recyclability of products when we buy them as well. So, we recently purchase some electric battery storage for a 90 kilowatt-hours. So, it's a significant amount of storage and in this case, we thought the best product for us was a sodium nickel chloride product which had a good recyclability. Yeah, so that's definitely a consideration in the value for money. Other really strange things like wetsuits, you might not realise that there's recycled content in wetsuits, our uniforms. We try to find uniforms with recycled content as well. So, lots of opportunities there to reuse materials and that's results in less carbon emissions overall.
Sascha Thyer:So, we have had a number of challenges over the years with choosing new things. I think particularly that's the biggest challenge when you go to try something new. It's often a bit of a challenge for people are busy and businesses and contractors are really busy and it seems really hard to try something new. A really great example of that was back to the carpet story. When we purchased these carpet tiles, they had a high recycled content, but the other fantastic thing about them was that they used a glueless system. So, you can see there on the carpet tile, there's a little sticky pad. It's actually not sticky. It's just got like tiny Velcro that creates a sort of an abrasive environment that the carpet sticks to.
Sascha Thyer:So, when we went to instal these tiles, the contractor wasn't too keen. He didn't think it was going to work and he complained a lot and said that they will buckle up and that it was going to be no good. So, one way around that was just to have a talk to him about it and say, "Look, how about we just do a trial of five square metres? Do five square metres, and I'll come back in a few hours and see how you're going. And if it's not working out, we can have a talk about it and see what we're going to do." So, in this case, that happened and came back and he was laying the carpet tiles and he just thought it was the best thing ever because he didn't have to use the glue that had all the fumes. It was really quick. He told me it took half the amount of time to lay the tiles. So, he was definitely a happy contractor.
So, that was a really good news story, and it really inspired us to keep going and keep looking for new things, and also having the courage to try these new things and that gives other people a bit of certainty and it gives them the confidence to try some of these new products.
So, that's it from me. Thank you very much, and I'm happy to answer any questions that you might have at the end of the session.
Closing the Loop with Sustainable Procurement
Circular economy specialist, Dr Scott Valentine and sustainable procurement expert, Jean-Louis Haie join DCCEEW’s Director of the Commonwealth Sustainable Procurement Advocacy and Resource Centre, Catherine Caldwell, to discuss the intersection of circularity and sustainable procurement. Practical examples of how government can drive circularity through procurement of recycled content are provided.
Intro to circular economy
Presentation by Dr Scott Valentine, Director and Senior Circular Economy Specialist, KPMG Australia. Video length: 30 minutes.
Our first speaker today is Dr Scott Valentine. Dr Valentine is a former professor and Associate Dean of Sustainability and Urban Planning at RMIT Melbourne. Scott has led major research projects in Denmark and Holland around the circular economy, with a particular emphasis on corporate strategy and public policy design and implementation. In Australia, Scott is a member of the Standards Australia Committee and Joint Standards Australia, Standards New Zealand Committees for development of an international standard on the circular economy. Scott has also recently been appointed Chair of the Planet Ark Circular Economy Hub Circular Economy Working Group. Welcome Scott.
Scott will provide an introduction to the circular economy and let us know how government can lead the way. Scott, over to you.
[Slide with text saying ‘Constructing a Circular Economy’, ‘An introduction to the circular economy, and how Government can lead the way’, ‘Presented by Dr Scott Valentine’]
Dr Scott Valentine:
Great. Okay. Thanks folks. Sorry. We’ve got a little bit of a reverberation here. Thank you so much for inviting me and for giving me the opportunity to join you and speak about the circular economy.
Before we begin today, I’m unfortunately going to have to beg your indulgence here as I take a quick step backwards to the foundations of the circular economy. And there’s a very good reason for that. In most nations when the circular economy is at a growth stage, an immature stage, there is a tendency to begin to conceptualise the circular economy from a recycling standpoint, and this poses a potential challenge when we are approaching policy design and development. So I just wanted to help to reconceptualise what we’re trying to achieve with the circular economy before we embark on a discussion of policy itself.
Now this waste hierarchy diagram should be a diagram that is familiar to a great many of you. What’s interesting about this diagram is that it also has implications for economic development. If you look at the diagram, and in particular hone in at the higher levels of the hierarchy, the refuse and reduce areas, one of the elements that is important to recognise when planning the circular economy as an economic development lens is that these higher order activities are actually higher in resource productivity as well, therefore they’re more desirable.
Let me give you an example. And I’d like to give you an example of a pickle jar, mainly because if you have an opportunity to give an example on anything, shouldn’t it be a pickle jar? Well if you talk about reusing something like a pickle jar, the whole idea behind it is you take a jar, you’ve used the contents, and then you rinse it out and you re-task it for something else. Now when you think about that economically, reusing that same jar for something else requires very little resource inputs. Indeed in most of the times it’s just a matter of rinsing it out and reusing it.
If we move down a little bit on the hierarchy to repair and remanufacture, we see a fairly similar profile. For example, if you’ve got a computer and you sell it – say you’re a computer manufacturer – you sell it to a consumer, and somehow you can get that computer back again after a certain period of time. You can open it up, you can replace the components that are no longer working, buff it back a coat, and then sell it back into the market place. Really what you’ve incurred there are just the costs of repairing the computer itself, so very minor cost. For incurring these very minor costs, you’ve essentially sold the computer twice. So that’s what I mean by higher productivity along the waste hierarchy.
Now if you turn down to the bottom of this, you see recycling, and here’s where the interest really lies, because there’s a lot of talk about recycling as a foundation to the circular economy. Well let’s think about recycling in terms of our infamous now pickle jar. So you’ve got a pickle jar, but now you want to use it for pickles again. So what do you do? You take your pickle jar, you send it back out to a recycler who transports it, so uses transport and labour, they then crush it back down into its constituent parts, it then gets reground up and reprocessed into another pickle jar. So what’s happened in the recycling process is that you’ve taken a product that required energy, labour, the cost of materials, equipment, investment, transportation, and you’ve crushed it up, and then you’ve infused the same amount of labour, energy, investment to create a new product. And this is why folks recycling is at the lower end of the hierarchy, because the whole recycling process takes so much more effort and cost, that it is a lower level contribution to economic development.
Now I’ve bored you with this for a long time, because it’s really important to understand that waste hierarchy when it comes to conceptualising the circular economy. So as you can see with my model of the circular economy here on the right, what you see is the emergence of our waste hierarchies again. So to define the circular economy, what’s really happening here is we’ve got a macro economic strategy. It’s designed specifically to optimise waste or to optimise the use of resources throughout the entire economic system. And if you do that, you infuse higher levels of productivity into the economy, you make businesses more productive, therefore more competitive, and you strengthen local businesses, enabling them to compete successfully in international markets. That is the allure of the circular economy.
So when you look at it in terms of my butterfly diagram, what you see here is commitments at the beginning to both the refusal or avoidance and reduction of waste, both at the virgin resource use stage, and also in terms of inputs into production and to consumption. So you’re trying first and foremost – if you want a circular economy to work, you want people to use as few resources as possible. So that’s point number one.
Point number two is you’ve got producers and consumers. They are all doing stuff. They’re buying things and they’re using things. What you want them doing is you want them re-tasking the materials that they can re-task at higher orders of the hierarchy. Because if you do that, you’ve still got the embedded productivity in the products. So each of these little small circles, the small loops that you see in this butterfly diagram, are actually corporate strategies that can be put in place to allow companies to operate at higher levels of that waste hierarchy, and therefore become more profitable. That folks is what the circular economy is all about, and that’s what we’re trying to do when we are sitting down with governments to try to give them advice on how to structure the circular economy.
So how do you do it? That’s really the next question isn’t it? Well this is a small diagram of a normal pathway to developing a circular economy from the bottom up. It starts with something that isn’t even related to the circular economy, which is an environmental and stakeholder analysis of a region, a council area, or even a nation, to begin to understand what the aspirations of people are. Because at the end of the day, we’re not practicing the circular economy in order to make circles. What we’re doing is we’re practicing the circular economy in order to enhance economic inputs into an economic system that is desirable for the nation.
So the first stage is really an outreach program that’s designed to interact with stakeholders in order to help to understand what they want to achieve economically. The second stage then, once you understand what people aspire their nation to be, is to then begin to construct a circular economy vision. This cannot be done top down. I emphasise that. When you are constructing a circular economy vision, you have to do it from the bottom up. What that means is you need to get out to all stakeholders that could possibly be economically involved in the circular economy, and you need to understand their willingness and capacity to get involved. At KPMG we have a program called Circular Champions, which does just that.
At stage three, what you’re doing there is you’re now starting to flesh out the map that you’ve constructed in the circular economy vision. And so what you’re trying to do here is you’re trying to identify anchor tenants or anchor companies that can help to drive the circular economy. Now this is all getting a little bit potentially confusing, so let me just step back for a minute and talk about this as if we were trying to build a shopping centre. If you’re trying to build a shopping centre, you want to find out at stage one what the environment is like and where you’re going to site your shopping centre. Stage two, you want to sit down with the developers and understand what your shopping centre should look like. Stage three is the search for anchor tenants, whether it’s a David Jones or a Kmart or Big W, to drive volume in your shopping centre. Well that’s very similar to what we’re trying to do in the circular economy. You want to have a grounded stakeholder engaged participative discussion over who can do what in the circular economy.
Once you’ve got the major companies on board – and these are companies that typically are very resource intensive, they are recyclers, they are advanced materials reprocessing companies – once you have them on board, then you can move to the fourth stage, and the fourth stage is really then starting to look for the connections in the ecosystem. So if you’ve got for example a number of organisations that have material – so you’ve begun in stage three with a number of recyclers – well in stage four what you’re doing is you’re looking for companies that connect with those recyclers to create new products. And so here, once again, it needs to be grounded bottom up planning. You need to get out into the community. You need to be discussing prospects with entrepreneurs and innovators to see whether or not there is a level of interest in participation. Because if you judge the level of interest properly, it does not cost you as much to create subsidies to drive the market. So stage four is really about filling the gaps and fleshing out your circular economy. And again, at KPMG, we’ve got a program specifically for that called the Circular SME Program.
And then finally the last stage in the process is the fortification of the ecosystem, and this is where you start to bring in university connections, public programs, local schools, retailers and retail spaces, social ventures, and these companies are then starting to drive the circular economy back toward the stakeholder aspirations that have been identified for a given planning area. This folks to me is what a circular economy progressive journey looks like.
And if you do this right, you begin to develop an understanding of the types of activities that take place within the circular economy. So here’s an example of an engagement that we had with the Council of Hume, which is a city on the outskirts of Melbourne central. Now Hume has a lot of industrial activity. So on the bottom left, when we were engaging with Hume, we began to talk about the need for a materials marketplace. We need to trade the materials. We also began to conceptualise around who the recyclers are in the given council area, and what kind of advanced materials repurposing capabilities does Hume have.
Now once we did that, these started to take shape on one of our maps, and as we began to map this out, we realised okay, we’ve got control over our resources. Now we need to figure out where they should be going. And so if you turn to the bottom right side of this chart, you can see that there’s a number of programs focused around the development and enhancement of activities to support entrepreneurs and innovators. So creation of maker spaces, creation of events hubs, Circular Advantage, which is one of our capacity building programs for SMEs. These are all the types of initiatives that need to be developed in order to support entrepreneurs who then can tap into this resource base and create products.
Create products. Where? How? When? Well to do that, we move down to the bottom left here. And as you can see here in the case of Hume, we began to talk about the need for physical innovation space. So we began to talk about the idea of the design of CE innovation hubs. And if we had innovation hubs, the innovations need to somehow be supported. So we began to talk about a coalition of universities, which we called multiversities, for supporting the circular economy. So now we’ve got innovation hubs supported by university R&D, but wait a minute. There’s a vision in Hume. One of the visions, the aspirations, is to have improved social impact. And so therefore we need to look at ways in which we can design social impact businesses that can fit into this model. So all of these things begin to develop as you have the stakeholder engagements.
And finally down at the bottom right hand corner, you see a number of activities that are essentially based on the assumption that we have created something here on the left, businesses now have goods that are circular in nature, they need to sell them. So we need to have community circular economy spaces. We need to have retail spaces. We need to have virtual one stop hubs. So this is the vision of the circular precinct in Hume that we’ve been working on, and it’s not dissimilar from the types of visions that one would see, whether it’s with an RDA or an LGA or a number of other regional bodies that have come together to create the circular economy. It all begins with a bottom up consultation with the stakeholders.
Okay. So if you don’t mind, I’ll just have a quick pitch to make the point that at KPMG we recognise that these discussions need to take place at various different levels, so we have various different programs. And I’m not going to get into these programs, but I would like to highlight an important point, which is that at each stage you need to have custom made programs to achieve specific outcomes if you’re trying to build capacity. So for us, on the left, here is our Circular Champions Program. This is the program that is designed to create the conceptual circular economy maps that we then start to flesh out with actual businesses. The middle program, Circular Pioneers, is an engagement program with major industry where we begin to take them through the throes of designing circular economy strategy to fit into our vision. And then finally on the right is the Circular Advantage Program, and that’s a program that’s designed for SMEs that helps them to identify the gaps in the emerging circular economy network so they can begin to pitch for funding in order to create new jobs and new ideas that feed into the circular economy.
Okay. So we talked about building the circular economy, and I wanted to sort of end off – I’m assuming that we started a little bit late, so maybe I can take a couple of minutes. I’m hoping for people to – anyway, we’ll be finished by 3:37. Okay. I’d like to take you through some policy channels of case studies, and I think it’s useful, because it highlights the point that the circular economy is by no means easy, and it’s by no means something that can be undertaken without real careful, deliberative study of the needs of industry.
So here’s the first one. This is a great company. This company is called Interface, and I believe they’ve got a Sydney head office here in Australia. Now Interface has a really great idea. They connect with communities in the Philippines, and they actually pay these communities for their recovered old fishing nets. What this does is it takes all of these fishing nets out of the marine habitat where they cause lots of damage to the species, and it re-tasks this into carpets. So they break down these nets, they re-pelletise the material, they turn them into carpeting, and sell them back into the market.
Let’s think about this if you’re trying to make this work in Australia and you’re Interface. You need to be sure that you are getting a guaranteed flow of this supply of netting. Because if you’re not, you’ve got no business. You’ve got no way to produce your carpets. So companies that are going into the circular economy are always concerned about how are we going to get material that is of a certain quality and of a certain quantity? Something to think about.
Second thing that is I think a second food for thought in terms of policy challenges relates to a discussion I had with the pioneer of Melbourne’s Repair Cafés. I sat next to her at a conference, and I leaned over and I said ‘You are fantastic. Just the fact that you’ve been able to do something like this all across Melbourne, terrific. What is the biggest challenge that you faced when you opened this up?’ Now interestingly, she surprised me with what she said. I never imagined that this would have been her biggest hurdle. But her biggest hurdle was getting insurance to run these repair cafés. And if you think about it, it makes sense doesn’t it? Because here’s a business that relies on volunteer workers to come in to help other people to repair their goods. Now imagine if somebody who is unqualified comes in and repairs a toaster, the person who had the toaster repaired goes home, plugs it into the wall and it sets fire to their house. The Repair Café is indirectly to blame for this isn’t it? So I guess what the case study of the Melbourne Repair Café tells us is that many of these entrepreneurs face extreme regulatory hurdles when they are trying to start up their businesses. And when we’re setting policy, we have to anticipate this if we expect to get entrepreneurs to adopt these types of models.
Okay. Here’s another interesting model of a circular economy initiative. This falls into the sharing of resources category, and it’s a French company called Blabla Car. Now Blabla Car is really interesting, because it’s just got such a simple model. The idea is that say you’re in, I don’t know, Rotterdam, and you want to somehow get to Brussels. So you just go on to the Blabla app and you type in ‘I’m in Rotterdam. I want to go to Brussels. I don’t have a car,’ and you can find somebody who similarly has registered who has a car who wishes to pick up a rider and share the cost. So the driver and the rider share the cost and off they go from Rotterdam down to Brussels.
Now the interesting thing about this – and this is not dissimilar to an Uber model of shared transportation – is when you think about trying to seed these types of opportunities, one of the main policy challenges is keeping people safe. So a young lady gets into a car that is unregistered, goes off to Brussels and never arrives at her destination. What’s happened? So these are issues that companies that are going into this type of business have, but they need to be legislated and regulated because we need to keep people safe. So when we are trying to seed the circular economy, there needs to be a balance between the type of regulations and legislation to keep people and products safe, while at the same time allowing entrepreneurs to move ahead with innovative business ideas.
Another policy challenge that gives rise to some thinking in terms of how difficult it is. So what is the choice when you see a supermarket chain that is running, as you can see on the left here, freezers that don’t have doors on them? Think about how irresponsible that is in general. Now imagine if you have kids. Imagine if one of your children opened your refrigerator door and then went to bed. What would you think? There would probably be a bit of discussion in the house wouldn’t there? And yet in every supermarket around Australia on a regular day we see this type of behaviour. So what’s the balance that we should be finding here if we are trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and we’ve got companies that are not adopting technology that is appropriate for the challenges that we have nationally.
Now what’s really interesting about this challenge is that – and I will not name the company, but I will say that this is a famous supermarket chain in Australia – and interestingly they have just started to adopt, on the lower right here, these types of enclosed refrigerators. Now why did they do so? Well interestingly, the story is this. This company apparently had a CEO, who would be classified as an extreme bone head if you thought through his thought processes regarding this particular initiative. This CEO believed that having an open refrigerator was necessary because people would not open the door to buy things. So if you put a door on a refrigerator, then people would not buy any of their product, and as a result they would go bankrupt. Lo and behold, what happened? The CEO was replaced. A new CEO came in, looked at the research, put doors on to their freezers, and guess what happened? The sales of the company skyrocketed, because people weren’t freezing to death as they wandered through the refrigerated section of the supermarkets.
So here are some real inefficient, ineffective technologies that we see being applied on a regular basis to businesses and industries all across Australia. The question is how do we move these businesses away from ineffective technology? Should it be the carrot or should it be the stick? It’s not an easy or cut and dried question to solve.
Okay. A couple more minutes. So I’ve got one last case study, and then I’ll summarise. So here’s an interesting company. This company is called Nybo Workwear. It’s in Denmark. I worked with them a few years back. They developed a really interesting hospital uniform that was made out of PET bottle fibres. So the great thing about this is that it was perfectly recyclable. Whenever the uniform started to wear out, you could take it back and recycle it back into its pellets and create new uniforms again. But this particular company was unable to sell their hospital uniforms to hospitals. Why? Because hospitals in Denmark do not buy the uniform. Who buys the uniform? Laundries. And laundries are not happy to have mixed fabrics when they’re trying to clean their clothes, because they have to set the machines at different temperatures, and of course they have to use different levels of detergent.
And so here we had a company that had a great idea, a PET fibre uniform, but they couldn’t sell it into the hospitals. And all it took really was a simple green procurement legislation to come around, and as soon as the procurement standards changed at the hospitals, suddenly the laundries began to change. So that’s the type of impact that we can make at the government level through our procurement strategies, and so I’m glad that Jean-Louis is going to be able to talk to you a little bit about procurement strategies going forward.
If I may, just to summarise here. There’s a lot of issues to deal with when we look at moving in to the circular economy. First and foremost is really the role of recycling, because if we have too big a reliance on effective recycling, it takes the market attention away from some of the higher order activities. For example, if you’re recycling a whole bunch of material and that happens to be your new supply chain, that material may not be so easy to procure if you’re trying to re-task it for something else.
But here’s some of the elements that I think you need to look at. You need to have a marketplace. So the question here is do we centralise it? Is it a competitive model? Should it be government run? These are all questions we need to ask. In terms of recyclers and material processing, what’s the council’s role in this? Do we provide recyclers with subsidies to get them to move into select types of materials? Do we set up material processing precincts to allow the circular process to be more efficient? In terms of corporate capacity building, what level of consultant support should be provided? Should the government be providing support to businesses for that? Should education programs be developed in universities for this?
In terms of investment inducements, we need to ask things like what types of procurement programs do we need? What types of investment tax credits should we be giving companies for investing? What types of subsidies should we be giving for companies that invest in recycled material?
I’ll skip this little bit. In terms of seeding innovation, innovation hubs, should the government be providing this? Should this be a PPP relationship? Should this be provided at the state level? With universities or not? Should we have entrepreneurship centres? In terms of quality assurance, what’s the role of the EPA with this? Should this be an independently assured process? Should there be fast tracking, and is that possible to have a fast tracking system? What are the links to insurance programs? Can insurance programs be made affordable so that entrepreneurs can buy cheap recycled products?
In terms of network building, what are the building models? I presented you with some of the KPMG approaches, but there’s many out there. What models should we be adopting? How do we undertake a gap analysis? How do we participate and how do we engage stakeholders in participation?
It’s a really interesting journey that we’re all on, and I’m glad that you’ve joined us in this master class, because this is just the beginning I think of a very complex but very rewarding foray into the circular economy. I’ll tell you this. If we get it right, the circular economy is really exciting. Because it enhances the resilience of businesses, it improves the innovation and entrepreneurship of the nation, and it will significantly reduce our ecological footprints.
So I thank you all for joining me in this first session of our master class, and I will pass you back I believe to Rachel, who will then introduce you to Jean-Louis. Thanks again for joining.
Intro to best practice sustainable procurement
Presentation by Jean-Louis Haie, former chair to the ISO 20400 Sustainable Procurement Mirror Committee Video length: 30 minutes.
I’d now like to introduce our second speaker, Jean-Louis Haie. Jean-Louis is an internationally recognised sustainable procurement and supply chain management expert, with 12 years of experience across industries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. His experience has led him to become the Chairman of ISO 2400 Sustainable Procurement Mirror Committee between 2013 and 2017. Jean-Louis is a regular speaker at sustainable procurement events. Welcome Jean-Louis.
Jean-Louis will provide us with an introduction to sustainable procurement best practice, as well as some examples of how we can reduce waste through procurement.
[Slide with text saying ‘Increasing use of Recycled content through Sustainable Procurement’, ‘An introduction to sustainable procurement best practice, and examples of how we can reduce waste through procurement’, ‘Presented by Jean-Louis Haie’]
Thank you Susanna, and thanks Scott for a very insightful presentation. Can you hear me? So thumbs up for those who I can see. Excellent. So my role today is to give you an introduction to sustainable procurement and how you can use it to drive the circular economy, circular economy objectives, especially through the use of recycled content.
First question for you, all of you who are watching this webinar. If you think about sustainable procurement, what comes to mind? Think about it for 30 seconds. What do we mean by sustainable procurement? What are we trying to achieve through sustainable procurement?
It’s a very important question, because basically if we’re not speaking the same language, then we’re not going to be able to work together on sustainable procurement. So think about it for another ten seconds. When you hear the words sustainable procurement, what does it mean to you?
There are many definitions worldwide, globally around this topic. What you can see on the right of the screen is a bunch of terms you may have heard, and those terms refer to slightly different sustainability issues sometimes in slightly different ways to talk about procurement. But what happened between 2013 and 2017 is the fact that 52 countries globally joined their efforts to develop an ISO standard on sustainable procurement called ISO 20400, and one key outcome of this joint effort was to develop an internationally recognised definition of sustainable procurement, and that’s what you can see on the screen. And what’s really important to remember about that definition is that – well I haven’t put the definition of procurement, and I’ll come back to that, but procurement is a comprehensive and wholistic process to select and manage suppliers. But what’s interesting is to see that we’re really talking about the balance between environmental, social and economic impacts. That’s the first very important aspect. Which means that it’s not green procurement or it’s not social procurement, which is very important for government jurisdictions across Australia. It’s the balance between the people, the planet and prosperity.
And so I really liked when Scott was talking about somehow the [0:39:37] between reducing environmental impacts, but also creating more productivity through circular economy business models. So remember that definition, because it’s very important to understand that we’re talking about a wholistic approach. And the last part of the definition is over the entire life cycle, which is important as well. We’re not only talking about the impacts of what we buy, when we have the product and where we’re using that service, but it’s what happens upstream in the supply chain or value chain, everything that happens before that product comes to office. And it’s everything that happens of course once we get rid of a product or an equipment or an asset. So it’s that whole end of life management or potentially a new life management. So these are very important concepts in terms of the language and how we talk about sustainable procurement.
If you want to look at it in another way, think about the government and think about how the government has the ability through its purchasing power to influence a range of organisations, and especially suppliers I should say – when those suppliers are working on site. So you have service providers coming on your site. If you think about a cleaning service provider, facility maintenance, repairs, waste management that come on your site as well, but you think as well about your local supply chains and your extended supply chains. So that’s the government’s share of influence, and you think about how can the government I guess select, engage and manage suppliers that are doing the right thing in terms of sustainability. That’s really what we are talking about. And when we’re talking about that in terms of sustainability, we talk about a variety of topics. We talk about environmental risks, we talk about human rights, all types of human rights, including the prevention of modern slavery, but also labour standards, health and safety. We’re talking about the impacts of what we buy on the community – if you think about a large construction project having quite a big impact maybe on a community in terms of noise, dust, jobs, and then when it’s done, the actual use of that construction asset. You think about diversity and inclusion. How can we use our purchasing power to promote a more diverse community, provide jobs to the disadvantaged communities, provide jobs to Indigenous businesses, social enterprises, disability enterprises? There is a lot we can do with procurement, and you all know that. Fair practices of course, how we do all of that in a fair, honest and transparent way. And of course environmental opportunities. Carbon, waste, energy, materials, recycling.
All of those issues are relevant to government procurement. They all are. And as mentioned before, it’s about finding the balance when you deal with suppliers about how they should contribute to some of those issues, making sure that nobody’s contributing negatively to those issues. But at the same time, you should think about buying a fleet of cars versus cleaning services or buying paper. The issues will be different. There’s a very important element in the definition of sustainable procurement, which is let’s find the balance between those issues, but let’s also ensure we understand where to prioritise, where are our priorities. So in terms of I guess circular economy objectives, anything can contribute to circular economy objectives, but think about what you buy, think about the RFTs you manage, the contracts you manage. You need to think about where are the contracts and the suppliers and service providers, where there is the most benefits in terms of circular economy. So a question I had for you. Think about it for 30 seconds again. You think about all those sustainable procurement issues. Can you think about any regulations or policies from the Commonwealth Government that would be relevant to those issues? Think about it for 15 seconds.
I saw a question in the Q&A around the new CPRs, the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. So some of you may know, maybe all of you would know, that the Commonwealth Procurement Rules include very clear links to those topics, in terms of labour and ethical standards, environmental issues, or the contribution to the economy. You think about the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act for example. You think about Indigenous procurement policy. You think about a bunch of environmental regulations you need to comply with. And you have a bunch of policies that are going to be quite important in terms of the environment and circular economy in the future. So if you look at all the policies at the Commonwealth Government level that have a link to procurement, there’s a lot of those that are going to be good hooks for you to work on sustainable procurement. And the idea is that when you look at, or if you’re a contract you’re able to, think about what are those most relevant regulations and policies for that contract based on risks.
Alright. So enough with the basics. But remember, it’s wholistic. It’s looking at the balance, it’s looking at prioritisation, and link it to the existing policies, which are giving you more tractions to work on this. So does the circular economy fit into that? I’m not going to try to be as good as Scott as explaining circular economy and circular procurement, but basically what procurement does is helping to create the demand for those circular economy solutions. So it’s at the centre actually of how do we promote circular economy models, because without demand, the offer cannot thrive. So you think about the clear objective to use more recycled content. We need government through its procurement processes and through all your RFTs and contracts to promote circular economy models, including the use of recyclable content. So that’s where it sits, circular procurement within all of that.
How do you then make it happen?
So procurement is sometimes complex. Sometimes it’s as easy as clicking on an e-catalogue and choosing a product. Sometimes it’s as complex as a mid-year program to develop a new asset or to put in place a new IT system. So there is different I guess levels, different sizes and complexity of procurement. The first thing to bear in mind is that when you’re trying to implement sustainable procurement, there is that international standard called ISO 20400, and that standard has been developed by hundreds of people across the globe to respond to the expectation of how do I manage sustainability within procurement when some of my suppliers are offshore, my supply chains are international, so we need a consistent way of thinking about sustainable procurement. So the ISO standard gives you that, and it’s a guidance document basically that describes how to successfully implement a sustainable procurement program from looking at [0:48:15] or [0:48:16] impacts and drivers, putting in place policy and a strategy, so not only a policy, but a work plan with objectives, accountabilities in the monitoring framework. Then we have the enablers, which are a bunch of middle management practices that are going to help all of you on the webinar today to do it, making sure it’s included in your performance objectives, making sure you’re trained, [0:48:41]. Today is a good example of that, providing some guidance in how we make sure we report on all of that.
All of that is very useful, the red, the green and the orange, but really in the end we’re doing all of that to make sure we are able to change the way we manage our procurement processes, so the way we think about our procurement strategies, the way we select our suppliers, and the way we include sustainability into contract and supply management. So really the idea is that you infuse sustainability with each step of the procurement process before you actually go to the market, before you actually share any information with the suppliers and you engage with the suppliers. But making sure we think strategically about sustainability within that particular context of an RFT or contract or panel or prequal, then it’s making sure we include that into the requirements that we put on suppliers, the evaluation criteria, clarification processes, negotiation when it’s possible, and contract award, making sure that’s part of the contract at least.
And then post-contract award, making sure that we include that in the implementation of the contract, the ongoing supply management, and the actual management of performance and supply and continuous improvement. So you’re going to tell me ‘That’s very nice, but I’ve got to do this on recycled content. I still need to do that on Indigenous procurement. I still need to think about my modern slavery risks. And I still have health and safety and all the environmental management issues, and more’. So is it overwhelming? Is it impossible? My view, my advice to you is make it strategic. So don’t try to do it on everything from the start. Don’t try to infuse a little bit of use of recycled content into everything. Think strategically about your pipeline of RFTs and new contracts. Think about your current suppliers and those where you have a long term relationship and you can work with them throughout the term of that relationship. And pick those that are really essential, and where you think you can achieve outcomes. And this is maybe something you won’t do alone, but is an element of alright, why don’t we try it on that RFT? Why don’t we think strategically about it? We try to do it in a smart way and overcome some of the challenges we may find.
And what are those challenges? So you may have thought already about some of the challenges that you face when thinking about recycled content into a procurement. I’m just going to share two slides with you. The first one is on internal challenges. The second one is on market challenges. Very important to acknowledge that sometimes the supply market isn’t the issue. The issues, the barriers, the challenges are internal. I remember working with a university on sustainable procurement. We had 12 pilot projects that we had prioritised, and then we did an exercise, an internal exercise to think about where are our challenges? Internal or external? And 11 out of 12 had more internal challenges than external challenges. So some barriers. It’s new. It can be a bit disturbing. And sometimes we just have time constraints, so we want to continue as is. It’s much easier to have the same supplier again and again, do the same thing, and maybe it’s been working well so far. But if you want to change something, you may think about how you can review the way you assess costs. That’s what they did in the city [0:53:00] on tyres. You may want to think about how you can concert and engage and again with the end users to understand how a new solution could be implemented. That’s what they did in Denmark on workwear. And you may get some support as well. Sometimes it’s just too hard to do it just with your team, so you may get someone from another team to help you, or an external expert, because some of those issues are technically complicated or there’s regulatory considerations to make.
So basically what we see across the globe, it is possible. It is possible, as long as we think strategically and smartly or cleverly around this. So think about those challenges that you’re going to face and think about how you can manage those. On the screen you have just three examples. There’s so many of those. We could share those later on. But they are some examples that if you have a good internal process to engage with your stakeholders and to think strategically about using recycled content, you will make it happen.
My last slide for this presentation is around market challenges. Internal challenges, they’re hard. You can manage them. Market challenges as well can be quite overwhelming. And again here, nothing impossible. There’s a lot of case studies, great stories, dozens, hundreds of them of how you can overcome market challenges in terms of using recycled content. It’s important to know the standards and frameworks that are in place, understanding those standards, those frameworks, those certifications. There was a question in the Q&A about how can I make sure a supplier is providing truthful information? You can rely on third party information and standards. That’s what they did in the UK on a major construction project. They used some well recognised standards. Understanding available products. The Victorian Government developed that Buy Recycled online directory. What I would say is that a directory is nice, it’s useful, but what’s important is that you understand the list of available products in different locations, understand pricing, understand technical requirements on your specific market. So just like you’re trying to better understand costs and prices in your supply market, or quality issues, if on the product or service you want to look at recycled content, you will need to do your proper market analysis. But that’s an interesting thing to do. It’s a bit new. It’s a bit different. So I really encourage you to think about how you could ask questions to your suppliers about what they currently do.
The last example is from the Dutch Government. The Dutch are so advanced on this. They’ve been doing that for years. They are super-creative as well. And one example of how they did that on a major road reconstruction project is that they said ‘Alright, how can we engage early with the tenderers about what would be the best solution to actually meet on it,’ and they used a competitive dialogue process to do it. And that’s how instead of trying to define the solution for the tenderers, they asked the tenderers to contribute to it and to co-design that solution. That example is for a road, roadwork construction. There’s hundreds of millions of dollars involved. If you’re buying something cheaper, a bit less complex, you will need to find your own solutions to do it. So the idea is that you think about it strategically, you take that topic as something that you would discuss internally with your stakeholders and externally with your suppliers, and that will give you more insights and more input to actually be able to define the right solution with your teams, with your suppliers. I understand it takes time, but my advice is do it well on a few pilots first instead of trying to do it across RFTs using some blanket criteria requirements. It needs to be tailored.
Thank you very much for your time. And I think that’s it for me.
Implementing sustainable procurement for government
Presentation by Catherine Caldwell, Director for the Commonwealth Sustainable Procurement Advocacy and Resource Centre in the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. Video length: 30 minutes.
And now our final speaker today is Catherine Caldwell. Cath helped deliver the Australian Government response to the COAG waste export ban, which included measures to increase demand for recycled content through procurement. She is currently leading the Sustainable Procurement team in the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. The team has been established to assist Australian Government agencies to increase their use of recycled content. Cath will talk us through the opportunity for us to all put sustainable procurement into practice.
Thanks Rachel, and hi everyone. So as Rachel said, I would like to talk us through now what the opportunities are to put sustainable procurement into practice. But as Jean-Louis said in his presentation, we need to think about the relevant policies, and the policy that I want to focus on today is the National Waste Policy. So the government has actually set a target to significantly increase its use of recycled content, and I want to talk today about what products are currently available on the market, and give some examples of how those products could be used by the Australian Government so that we can work towards that goal and that target. I’ll also identify where there’s greatest opportunity for us to buy recycled. So as Jean-Louis was making the point, we need to direct our efforts. So I think that will be helpful for agencies considering how to direct efforts. And I’ll also give some examples of where the Australian Government is already procuring and using recycled content. So in demonstrating what’s available, where the products can be used and how products are already being used, I hope that that will give you some ideas for how to buy recycled within your agencies.
So I firstly wanted to point out that sustainable procurement is not a new concept for the Australian Government. So as Jean-Louis – and I’m pointing back to his presentation, because it was a great kind of concept starter for us. So many of the government’s policies already are kind of working towards sustainable issues. And I also had a look at our website and went through the archives to track back on our sustainability and sustainable procurement policies, and the earliest I could find was 2010 when we had the ICT Sustainability Plan. So that’s a decade ago. And as you can see on the slide, we’ve progressively updated our sustainable procurement policies over the years. And with the release of the National Waste Policy in 2018 and then the action plan to support that policy in 2019, all governments have now committed to use sustainable procurement to help build markets for recycled content. And we’ve updated the Sustainable Procurement Guide, which will be released very soon, to reflect this commitment and to help you in implementing that commitment.
So in March at the National Plastic Summit, the Prime Minister reiterated the Australian Government’s commitment to do its bit. We can play our part by buying goods that are made with recycled materials. But I also just want to say that this isn’t confined just to goods. There are opportunities to also apply this to services where goods are consumed in the delivery of that service. So I think probably an obvious example is cleaning services. So that’s where we can stipulate that packaging of the products is using recycled packaging, and that also we can look to incorporate goods such as paper hand towels and toilet paper that are recycled.
So as Rachel noted in her introduction, the Australian Government does have a significant spending power, and last year we entered into an average of 80,000 contracts worth almost $65 billion. But in order to leverage this power, we need to know where the opportunities are. We need to know what products with recycled content are available, and more importantly, what’s available for the things that we’re buying in the Australian Government.
So we’re seeing an increasing number of brands committing to sustainable products that incorporate recycled materials. So you could assume that the opportunities and what’s on offer is growing. I’ve got a couple of examples of where we might have seen this ourselves. So for example, all made by Google products are now using recycled material, and Google’s committed to using 50% recycled plastic in all its products by 2025. And we’re also seeing Australian brands like Country Road and Oroton who’ve all recently featured recycled content in their products. So even the shirt I’m wearing today, which I went out and bought yesterday from Witchery, contains recycled materials. So it’s becoming common place. And this is great for us as individual consumers, but my team wanted to know if this extended to products that we buy in government.
So we worked with KPMG to have a look at what products are commercially available in Australia that actually contain recycled content, and we searched the existing directories, which Jean‑Louis mentioned a couple of those. So Planet Ark have a directory, Sustainability Victoria and Sustainable Choice in New South Wales. And as you can see from this very busy slide, there are quite a lot of things available at this point in time. And if you look at the products that are on this slide, we can use some of those for all sorts of purposes. So recycled carpet we can use in fitouts of our buildings. Recycled cardboard and paper can be used in the packaging for our cleaning products and ICT equipment. Recycled glass and rubber can be used in road base and asphalt, and we’re seeing that happening in states and territories, and we’ve even got our own Federal Government example which I’ll touch on later. Recycled plastic can be used in clothing. Potentially that could be in the uniforms that we’re buying. And soft plastics can be recycled into many products, including outdoor furniture, decking and bollards.
So next we had a look at where are the opportunities for the Australian Government to buy these sorts of products. So in trying to make it strategic, as Jean-Louis said, we wanted to see where the greatest opportunities were. So what we did was we mapped the available products to the relevant Australian Government procurement categories, and then using the AusTender data for the 19/20 financial year, we looked at the total contract value of each of these categories. And so what this slide is showing is the top nine procurement categories by total contract value, with the highest potential to include recycled content. So it’s essentially the Australian Government procurement categories that have potential to use the most recycled content and where we’re spending the most money.
So I might just pick a couple of categories to explain the opportunity, and if we look at the computer equipment and accessories and the electronic hardware and accessories. So I think the impact of e-waste on the environment and the waste produced from obsolete devices, electronic devices, is a well known contributor to Australian landfill mass, and indeed landfill mass globally. And it has been targeted by local state and federal governments for some time, and we’ve got initiatives like the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme which has helped divert e-waste from landfill, and encouraged the use of recycled materials in developing these new electronic devices. And this has reduced the demand for virgin materials in this industry. And then if we look at the 19/20 financial year data for the Australian Government, we were regularly procuring goods such as desktop workstations, computer monitors, mobile phones and printing devices, which all have the opportunity for recycled content.
And I might also touch on the project management category, so it might seem a little bit out of place. So in the last financial year, project management contracts consisted of services such as infrastructure, project management, ICT project management and policy and program management. So the opportunity to include recycled content in services is often conceded as low, but if we actually take a step back and think about it, some of the products that are actually consumed in delivering those services have a high opportunity for use of recycled content. So if we think about general consumables such as paper, electronic devices and other stationery items, these can all be sourced from recycled content. So we can talk with suppliers about the goods that they’re using, and encourage them to move to recycled goods. And so this is an example of indirect activities that can contribute to Australia’s achievement of the National Waste Policy.
Now you might be looking at this funnel and thinking there’s not a lot for my agency in here. And while this is about where we can direct our greatest effort, there are categories that do cut across all agencies, like stationery and office supplies. So we’re all buying pens, printing paper and the lanyard clips that we use for our passes, and these are products which we can, and many of us are, buying recycled products. Packaging is also another common product. So we might be buying different things, but it will all come in some form of packaging. And I think a really good example of how packaging is important is a story I heard recently around lanyard clips. So the agency had bought lanyard clips which were made from 100% recycled product, which was fantastic. But when they actually arrived and they opened the box, each of the clips was individually wrapped in soft plastic. So think of the waste that we could have saved if there’d been a conversation with the supplier from the start about how the product was going to be packaged, and if there’d been a conversation about reducing that waste and not wrapping those individually and delivering them in a cardboard box that’s recycled.
So these are experiences that are important for us to share, because I think it helps us stop and think about how this might apply to our own procurements, and helps us learn for the next time.
So from our discussion with agencies, we know that many of you have been embedding sustainability into procurements and your operations, and as I showed from the beginning, sustainability has been around for over a decade now in terms of Australian Government policies. And we know that some of you are already buying recycled content, and I wanted to share a couple of examples which come from the 2020 Sustainable Procurement Guide. So the first one is the National Plastic Summit which happened in March this year and was hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. And for this event, DAWE worked with the supplier to put a focus on waste minimisation and recyclability, and this was delivered in a number of ways. So the delegate lanyards were made from recycled plastic bottles, and the delegates were required to hand those lanyards back in at the end of the event so they could be re-used at future events. Name badges were printed on recycled stationery and recycled card, and then the signs that were used at the event were made out of recycled corflute.
The other steps that were taken were to ban the use of single use coffee cups at the event, and then also to use technology to provide delegates with the program online. So there was actually no paper programs printed at all. So that was done through a summit app, and that was also used by delegates to network and for the event organisers to be able to push messages out during the event.
So the second example I wanted to touch on is one I mentioned earlier, which was the use of recycled plastic in roads, and this year the Department of Defence delivered its first recycled road at RAAF Base Williams in Point Cook. And they did this by collaborating with industry to come up with an innovative and sustainable solution that was an alterative to using virgin asphalt, but still met the capability outcomes for the project. So this project ended up consuming 180 tonnes of PlastiPhalt asphalt. So that’s asphalt that is made from using recycled toner cartridges. And in that project, that consumed 600 kilograms of plastic and 210 tonnes of concrete waste rubble that had been crushed and re-used as sub-base material.
So these are just a couple of examples of where procurements are using recycled content or where we’re working to minimise waste. And with the government’s commitment to increase our use of recycled content, we all need to consider how our agencies can buy recycled.
So I wanted to leave you with a case study from Parks Australia on Christmas Island, which although it’s a small procurement, I think it’s a really lovely illustration of what I’d say hits a national waste policy trifecta. So Parks Australia has just bought a table which is being made from 100 percent recycled plastic, which will be placed in the Christmas Island National Park. And the majority of that table is being made from reclaimed ocean plastic, and then the rest is coming from plastic waste collected from the local community. So the table’s going to be located in a reclaimed mine site, which is now overgrown with vegetation and home to native birds, and also marks the former lookout point. Now Parks Australia could have bought a cheaper table, but they saw the value in supporting a local start-up, which is called Eco Crab, who are working in the community to avoid waste, improve the Island’s resource recovery, and improve the use of recycled material.
So Eco Crab was established by a couple of Christmas Island locals, Tanya and Jake, in March last year, who had returned to the Island and were quite shocked at the tonnes of plastic waste that was washing up on to the beach from the Indian Ocean region. And they were also surprised at the lack of recycling services in the community. And so what they did was set up bins where the local community, school groups etcetera, and households could come and drop off their plastic waste. And they also run beach clean ups at Greta Beach, and then they take the plastic from those beach clean ups and from the community and are creating recycled products. So at the moment they are making tables and boardwalk planks. And I think this is a great example of a local community taking responsibility for its waste, and how Australian Government procurements can support this sort of innovation.
So now you’ve got some insight into what products are available and some examples of how they can be used by the Australian Government, I hope that you’ll consider the opportunities for your agency to buy recycled. Thanks.