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Sustainable procurement in action
Procurement professionals discuss their successes and lessons from implementing sustainable procurement.
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, 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 DAWE’s Acting Director of Sustainable Procurement, 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, acting director for the sustainable procurement team in the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. 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 Agriculture, Water and the Environment. 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.