Is Australia proud of their environmental sustainability?

Over the weekend, Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison said quite confidently that Australia is on target to meet its 2030 emissions targets “in a canter”... in other words, with ease. The PM’s claim came only two days after a report detailed Australia’s rate of emissions rising at around 1.3% over the previous year, rather than falling. As it stands, in order to meet the Paris Climate Accord, Australia will need to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent, on 2005 levels.

Now, don’t worry- we’re not going to delve down the rabbit hole that is political discourse. However, there remains one important thing to consider as Australia looks to lower its emissions: in large part, private enterprise and the commercial sector may lead to the charge.

It’s worth noting that the government – regardless of which party may be running the government between now and 2030 – will be placing more of an emphasis than ever on working with businesses that have already prescribed a list of environmental goals.

This was spelled out in The New Daily’s article that claims the private enterprise will accommodate the government’s need to cut back on emissions with large-scale investments. James Fernyhough, author of the article explains that “the private sector, without any new government subsidies or incentives, will oblige the government by massively investing in renewable energy to the point that the entire nation’s emissions, which are currently rising, will perform a screeching U-turn.”

One recent exemplification of this, with a particular environmental theme, was Elon Musk’s brainchild Tesla offering to provide South Australia – which was suffering widespread blackouts - with a 100mWh battery pack on a wind farm by a certain date, otherwise Tesla would finish the project free of charge.

If it doesn’t eventuate that the commercial sector does lead the charge, it remains completely reasonable to assume that the government, as it looks to meet ever more stringent environmental targets will be looking to work closely with companies that have obtained something like the ISO14001 management system, whilst offering fewer tenders to companies that haven’t already pursued environmental certification, or intend to reduce their environmental footprint. Government will surely be looking at the company’s core purpose, and whether or not they intend to become more environmentally-conscious in the near future.

ISO14001 is an internationally recognized standard for environmental management systems that provides a formal recognition of your procedures, and shows that your business is considering and actively taking steps to mitigate detrimental environmental impact of its operations. We believe ISO14001 is already an invaluable resource for your business if you’re looking to bid on large-scale tenders, partially so with government tenders.

James Fernyhough writes that “Emissions from a number of other sectors, most notably transport and agriculture, are rising, and on track to shoot through the roof by 2030. And the federal government has no plan at all to address them either.” This is again a big opportunity for the private sector, and could have a profound impact. If a company is armed with ISO14001, they would look to tackle the problem through the lens of environmental management, and could ultimately be rewarded by the federal government with subsidies if they act to lower the emissions footprint in their endeavors.

As a country, we’re becoming more considerate of our environment than ever before. Recent strides by the big supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths to phase-out single-use plastic bags at the checkout is a clear-cut example of this. More cafes are ditching plastic straws, and offering incentives for customers to bring their own cup. Conservationism seems less taboo than it may have appeared a decade ago, and we can at least thank the principle teachings of ISO14001 for this, as it is something that not only encourages, but requires businesses to reduce their environmental footprint… something we believe will become more and more mainstream, incentivized and required as we move further into the 21st century.

If you’re interested in taking the first step toward becoming environmentally-certified, here’s a bunch of resources we’d like to offer up for free: An ISO14001-focussed Gap Analysis Checklist and IS014001:2015 Essentials Course as well as a short clip outlining what the process entails.

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