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The information and opinions about any subject matter law or regulation contained in this diagnostic are intended to provide a general outline to assist members and none of the information or comments in this document is complete or definitive. Further professional advice from a qualified expert in the relevant area or subject matter may be essential before any action is taken or reliance is made on any of the contents of this diagnostic. To the extent permitted by law the Australian Industry Group, accept no responsibility for any act or omission by any person relying in whole or in part upon the contents of this publication or any liability for loss or damages incurred as a result of reliance on this publication and The Australian Industry Group do not warrant the accuracy completeness, suitability for any particular purpose or otherwise of any statements made by any person or organisation in this diagnostic.
The Environment and Energy Diagnostic assesses a company's position in seven sustainability elements: energy use, water use, materials utilisation, waste, strategy and compliance, environmental management systems and supply chain management. It is an easy to use diagnostic which requires yes or no answers. It provides suggestions of what you might do next to improve your sustainability. The report also gives you an idea of your current sustainability performance compared to other businesses.
A range of fact sheets and checklists are available to assist companies manage their environment and energy risks to improve productivity. The factsheets and checklists are available at the Ai Group Business Improvement and Growth Resource Centre.
Ai Group's Environment and Energy Team also offers a range of consulting and training services to assist companies understand and manage their environment and energy risks. These services include:
The report gives you a high level overview of your business's position in seven sustainability elements: energy use, water use, materials utilisation, waste, strategy and compliance, environmental management systems and supply chain management. It provides suggestions of what you might do next to improve your sustainability. The report also gives you an idea of your current sustainability performance compared to other businesses.
|E - Understanding||No real plans or activity but an understanding of the benefits of undertaking action and the types of actions that may be relevant|
|D - Informal Activity||Informal actions have been undertaken but they are not planned or systematic|
|C - Planned and Systematic Activity||Comprehensive, planned and systematic actions are being implemented|
|B - Embedded Plans and Activities||Plans have been fully implemented and embedded in the business's operations. Most actions have been completed. There is ongoing measuring, monitoring and reporting|
|A - Best Practice||An industry leader with plans fully implemented over more than one financial year. There is a continuous improvement culture in this sustainability element. There are ongoing proactive reviews of the plans, strategies and actions.|
The graph is designed to show your performance based on the answers provided. It also gives you an idea of how you compare with other businesses.
By reducing energy use and becoming more energy efficient, businesses can save money and reduce their carbon footprint. Improving energy management can be simple, like switching off equipment when not in use, or more involved, like using metering technologies.
Energy conservation means minimising energy use and wastage. Energy efficiency means using less energy to provide the same level of goods or services. Energy intensity measures how efficiently energy is being used. It's the amount of energy consumed per unit of production, service delivery or other driver of energy use. Energy use can impact a business directly or indirectly. Poor energy design in goods or services may drive energy consumption for end users.
You do not understand the importance of managing energy use and the benefits of energy efficiency.
You understand the importance of managing energy use and the benefits of energy efficiency.
You are committed to using energy more efficiently within the business. You have implemented some ad hoc actions and you plan to develop an energy management plan.
You have an energy management plan and have implemented some measures to manage energy use and efficiency.
You have a planned and systematic approach to energy management and energy efficiency. You have achieved your energy targets and you are able to calculate your energy intensity.
You have achieved excellence in energy management comparable with best in class/sector. Other businesses may benchmark against you and may be influencing others in your supply chain or industry.
Australia is a drought-prone nation with increasing water demands. Although water may be a low-cost business input, we must save as much as possible.
Water is used in production processes and business support functions like kitchens and bathrooms. Water conservation means reducing water use and using recycled wastewater wherever possible. Water efficiency means using the least amount of water to produce the required amount of goods or services.
Water intensity measures how efficiently water is being used. It's the amount of water consumed per unit of production, service delivery or other driver of water use.
Water use impacts a business directly or indirectly. Poor water design in goods or services may drive water consumption for end users.
You do not understand the importance and benefits of managing water and wastewater efficiently.
You understand the importance and benefits of managing water and wastewater efficiently.
You are committed to reducing your water use and becoming more water efficient. You have implemented some actions already to improve water efficiency.
You have a planned and systematic approach to managing water and you are implementing actions to become more water efficient.
You have achieved the water management targets set under your water management plan and you are able to calculate your water intensity.
You have achieved excellence in water management comparable with best in class/sector. Other businesses may benchmark against you and you may be influencing others in your supply chain or industry.
Materials are the physical inputs to the production of your goods or services. They may be the unprocessed raw materials used in manufacturing processes or they may be ready-made goods such as paper for your photocopying machine. More efficient use of materials means less waste and greater profitability and involves all processes from design of goods or services, manufacture, packaging, product stewardship and procurement.
We can measure how efficiently we are utilising materials by calculating the materials intensity. That is, the quantity of materials consumed per unit of production or service delivery.
You do not understand the impact of the materials used in your business and the importance of materials efficiency.
You understand the impact of the materials used in your business and the importance of materials efficiency.
You have taken steps to reduce materials inputs and to utilise your inputs efficiently.
You have a materials efficiency plan that is being implemented which integrates with the production planning processes and business reporting systems.
You have implemented a formal materials efficiency plan which is embedded and communicated throughout the business.
You are considered a leader in materials utilisation management comparable with best in class/sector.
Waste can occur in every area of a business: energy, water, materials, time and productivity but in this section of the report waste refers to the leftover inputs that are often thrown away. Waste costs also include transport, disposal, storage and labour. Through effective waste management, businesses can reduce the amount of waste and recover some of the remaining value. The Waste Hierarchy is a valuable guide to managing waste: (from most preferable to least preferable) Avoid, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Treat, Contain, Dispose.
Waste impacts a business directly or indirectly, e.g. excessive packaging may increase waste for end users.
You do not have an understanding of the benefits of managing waste wisely, including complying with regulations.
You have an understanding of the benefits of managing waste wisely, including complying with regulations.
You have taken steps to reduce your waste and manage your waste appropriately.
You have a waste management plan that includes processes, procedures and targets for reducing, monitoring and reporting waste.
You have successfully implemented a waste management plan (that includes waste reduction targets, resource recovery and appropriate management of waste) and you've achieved targets and reported results.
You are considered a leader in waste management comparable with best in class/sector.
Consumers may wish to acquire goods or services from businesses that are actively engaged in more environmentally responsible practices. Understanding all areas of your supply chain can reduce risks and provide opportunities to collaborate to save costs or innovate.
Large organisations that you may wish to supply are now including proof of sustainable practices as part of their tendering requirements. You may be able to improve waste and material utilisation outcomes by engaging with your supply chain. To continue to be successful in a changing world, you must be able to understand and adapt to the changing needs of your supply chain.
You do not have an understanding of the sustainability standards and in your supply chain.
You have an understanding of the sustainability standards and in your supply chain.
You have taken steps to engage with members of your supply chain to discuss environmental sustainability standards and issues to ensure you understand their concerns, requirements and opportunities.
You have a systematic plan to proactively engage your supply chain about adapting to changing environmental regulations and the demands of the market. The plan also aims to improve sustainability outcomes such as removing waste and improving materials utilisation across the whole supply chain.
You systematically engage your supply chain to continuously improve sustainability outcomes and your policy for engagement is embedded and communicated throughout your business.
You are considered a leader in sustainable supply chain management and in reducing the environmental impacts of your business's activities.
Having a sustainability strategy, or embedding sustainability elements in all your business strategies, means that you will drive cost savings and revenue opportunities when you make decisions about operations, marketing and goods and services. It also means that you will be more likely to spot opportunities for improvements in the business which can directly contribute to efficiency gains or the creation of new and improved goods or services.
An important part of risk management in a sustainability strategy relates to compliance, both with any regulatory and legal requirements, and with market demands.
You do not understand that including sustainability in your business strategies will assist you to manage your compliance obligations, assess your risks and opportunities, and ensure you meet market demands.
You understand that including sustainability in your business strategies will assist you to manage your compliance obligations, assess your risks and opportunities, and ensure you meet market demands.
You have identified and continue to monitor the legislation, permits or licences that apply to your business and you keep written records of your compliance. You've undertaken other ad hoc actions to manage market expectations.
You have a formal sustainability strategy that includes a register of relevant environmental regulations and obligations and takes into consideration market expectations.
You have a formal sustainability strategy that is integrated with your accounting and reporting frameworks. The strategy assists you to assess and comply with market expectations and regulatory requirements. You have communicated the strategy throughout the business.
You have achieved excellence in strategy and compliance and you work to anticipate future requirements, both regulatory and market based. You have strong community engagement practices and other businesses may benchmark against you.
An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a structured way to document and systematise your approach to environmental issues and your environmental footprint. An EMS may be as simple as a plan that outlines processes and procedures or as complex as a fully integrated monitoring and reporting system. The type of EMS you implement will depend on the type of business you have and the level of environmental impacts and risks you face.
More and more supply chains and major customers are requiring that their partners and suppliers have an EMS in place to demonstrate quality management and to ensure any environmental risks are minimised.
You do not understand that every business, regardless of size, has some level of impact on the environment and the community.
You understand that every business, regardless of size, has some level of impact on the environment and the community.
You have taken some steps to reduce your environmental and social impacts.
You have developed an Environmental Management System that includes action plans and targets and you monitor your progress.
You have a fully embedded Environmental Management System that is communicated throughout the business.
You have an integrated and audited Environmental Management System and you are considered a leader in your class/sector.
To assist companies to implement the opportunities identified in the diagnostic, the following resources are available: