Sustainability factors driving infrastructure investments

The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) has revealed that environmental, social & governance (ESG) factors are driving infrastructure upgrades in Australia.

Last year, Australia saw large loan facilities being deployed for the first time to drive ESG upgrades and improvements to major infrastructure assets.

The ISCA said in a statement that a recent development within the broader ESG movement is the rapid increase in the scale of Sustainability Linked Loans (SLLs).

SLLs offer explicit price incentives to borrowers or investors for environmental improvements.

“Companies that achieve their sustainability targets benefit from favourable interest rates, while a failure to do so will lead to higher rates. With SLLs, companies therefore have an incentive to align both financing and sustainability objectives,” the ISCA said.

“SLLs are driving significant environmental upgrades of corporate and infrastructure assets around the world.”

ANZ, Westpac and BNP Paribas banks have provided billions of dollars of SLLs to organisations such as Sydney Airport, Investa Commercial Property, Queensland Airport, Adelaide Airport and AGL.

“Communities, consumers and governments increasingly expect investors to allocate capital in a socially and environmentally responsible and ethical way, and be transparent about their investment practices,” the ISCA said.

The council stated that many organisations have developed their own internal policies and procedures to assess ESG risks and opportunities within its industry frameworks.

Research released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance in October 2019 showed that  the total amount of sustainability linked debt now exceeds USD1 trillion (AUD$1.5 trillion).

The ISCA stated that infrastructure investment by superannuation funds in Australia have a particularly strong ESG focus due to the long term nature of the assets and investment mandates.

“Investors measuring and reporting ESG performance will also proactively look to improve the performance of their assets,” The ISCA said.

“SLL’s can improve quality, performance and value through their focus on upgrades of existing assets.”

The council stated it expects that ESG screened investments will continue to grow in importance as organisations look to demonstrate their environmental, social, governance and commercial sustainability.

Clean Energy Finance Corp (CEFC) is also providing loans linked to ESG performance, including AUD100 million into MIRA’s Australian infrastructure platform to target lower carbon emissions and improved energy efficiency in assets including airports, electricity, port, rail and water, and AUD150 million to the IFM Australia Infrastructure Fund.

These two investors hold a portfolio of assets including ports, electricity networks, airports and water infrastructure.

CEFC also manages the Australian Recycling Investment Fund.

According to the ISCA, investments under an ‘ESG’, ‘sustainable’ or ‘ethical’ investment umbrella have moved into the mainstream over the past decade, and particularly in the last three years.

Sustainability linked debt comprises green, social and sustainability bonds which have been around for 10 years, and the more recent green and sustainability linked loans.

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Tennant Company’s sustainability strategy

Tennant Company marketing specialist Rebecca Wall explains the benefits of sound environmental practice and innovative cleaning solutions. 

Has your organisation developed and implemented a sustainability strategy? When choosing suppliers, is your decision based on whether they have one?

In the past, behaving in a sustainable manner was considered something of a novelty. Now, it increasingly illustrates credibility and a genuine care about how your business conducts itself as member of the global community.

As more companies, large and small, turn towards sustainability initiatives, a kind of corporate fellowship has emerged. Businesses are now working together to create a link in the longer chain of environmentally conscientious organisations.

Being seen as a sustainable business is a positive thing, as countless products and services are introduced to make sustainability practices easier to implement.

Tennant company

Since 1870, Tennant Company has worked to empower its customers to reduce their environmental impact and create a cleaner, safer and healthier world. We have a definite vision to lead the way in sustainable practices.

Tennant Company continually gauge our own efforts to determine the benefits they deliver, not just for the environment but also for our bottom line. What we’ve found is that one doesn’t have to disadvantage the other, in fact, choosing a more sustainable solution can be more cost-effective.

Tennant Company research and development teams are constantly coming up with innovative and environmentally responsible cleaning solutions for customers that are increasingly seeking them.

When a potential customer asks us for a proposal, they frequently request that we summarise our sustainability strategies to determine if they match with their own. Putting sustainability policies and practices in place can very literally mean the difference between landing a new contract or not.​

Tennant Company is known for evolving to meet external influences. Early on in our history, we developed eco-advantaged products for our own business and for our customers. It began with vacuum-equipped sweepers that featured enhanced dust control. Next, we developed high-performance, low-VOC floor coatings, followed by highly concentrated detergents.

In more recent times, we introduced our game-changing ec-H2O technology, which took out the Business Innovation of the Year award at the 2009 European Business Awards. The ec-H2O delivers significant reductions in water usage, greenhouse gas emissions and waste generated — all key elements in a hardware’s lifecycle environmental footprint.

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Registrations launched for Waste Expo Australia

The future of waste management and resource recovery is high on the agenda at all levels of government as Australia’s largest and most comprehensive conference and exhibition, Waste Expo Australia launches registrations.

Hosting more than 120 brands and over 100 speakers across three conference stages, Waste Expo Australia will return to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on October 23 and 24.

Waste Expo Australia will offer free-to-attend conference content across the Waste and Wastewater Summits, attracting the largest gathering of waste management and resource professionals in Australia.

The Waste Summit Conference brought to you by Oceania Clean Energy Solutions will cover six targeted streams from resource recovery, waste-to-energy, collections, landfill and transfer stations, construction and demolition waste as well as commercial and industrial waste.

Key speakers will include Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, Victorian EPA CEO Cathy Wilkinson and Acting Executive Director for Waste Strategy and Policy at the NSW EPA Kar Mel Tang.

Other national and state-based bodies will be represented, along with case study presentations from local governments including Campaspe Shire Council, City of Holdfast Bay, Yarra City Council and Albury City Council.

Leading off day one of the Waste Summit, a panel will discuss the pressing issues surrounding Australia’s waste-to-energy (WtE) sector.

One of the panel members, Director of Enhar Consulting Demian Natakhan, will discuss the status of landfill solar generation and propose that the final resting place for municipal waste may be the beginning of new energy generation.

“Solar farming on former landfill sites offers a way to put otherwise unproductive land to a valuable use,” Mr Natakhan suggested.

“Where landfill gas is already collected in sufficient quantities to firepower generation, solar can be added onto existing grid infrastructure. In sites with lower landfill gas volumes, new solar generation with grid upgrades can unlock significant solar generation, avoiding the competition between solar farming and productive agricultural or industrial land.”

Confronting the challenges and opportunities in wastewater treatment will also be tackled at the Wastewater Summit brought to you by EnviroConcepts.

Waste Expo Australia Event Director Cory McCarrick said the event continues to grow with more speakers and suppliers on board this year than ever before.

“We have seen an increase in the total number of exhibitors this year to 120 and around 50 of these are exhibiting for the first time at Waste Expo Australia,” Mr McCarrick said.

Key exhibitors this year include Bost Group, Cleanaway, Caterpillar, HSR Southern Cross, Tricon Equipment, Applied Machinery and Hitachi.

“Add to this list our impressive line-up of speakers, there is no other waste event in Australia that gives you access to such thought-provoking content that address the major issues facing the industry coupled with the opportunities to be immersed among the key players and products for free,” Mr McCarrick said.

Waste Expo Australia is co-location with All-Energy Australia, Energy Efficiency Expo and ISSA Cleaning and Hygiene Expo — forming a significant showcase for the waste, recycling, wastewater, renewable energy, energy efficiency and cleaning industries.

Across the two days attendees will have access to industry speakers and suppliers across waste management, wastewater treatment, energy generation, energy efficiency and cleaning and hygiene.

Registration gives you access to all four events on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 October 2019.

To register visit www.wasteexpoaustralia.com.au

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Scania launches natural gas engine

Scania has expanded its alternative fuel and sustainable transport range with the launch of a OC09 compressed natural gas (CNG) engine at the Brisbane Truck Show.

Based on Scania’s 9.0-litre five-cylinder engine, the OC09 works using spark plugs and complete combustion in accordance with the Otto principle gas power cycle.

Scania Senior Engineer Folke Fritzson said sustainability was a driving factor behind the engines development.

“As with Europe, in Australia there is a small but growing band of operators and businesses keen to investigate the benefits of operating vehicles on alternative or renewable fuels,” Mr Fritzson said.

“Natural gas provides a CO2 reduction of 15 per cent, while biogas from waste water can cut CO2 emissions by up to 90 per cent.”

Mr Fritzson said Scania Australia have signed a memorandum of understanding with natural gas consultants NVG Group.

“This will ensure operators of Scania’s CNG fuelled vehicles enjoy a reliable fuel supply,” Mr Fritzson said.

Scania Head of Service Concepts Anders Ekstrom said the OC09 has an unusually high torque for the engine type, making it useful in a number of different applications.

“Regardless of the type of gas used, the drivability of Scania’s gas engine is in line with what conventional diesel engines can offer in terms of torque and power,” Mr Ekstrom said.

“Gas, and of course biogas in particular, are of particular interest from a European perspective with the potential for reductions in both CO2 and other emissions.”

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Scania and Visy work towards sustainability

Scania has delivered 10 new P 450 6×4 prime movers to Visy Logistics’ Truganina site as part of its Ecolution sustainability initiative to reduce emissions.

Scania Australia Vehicle Connected Driver Services Manager Richard Bain said the new vehicles will deliver significant savings in fuel, reduced exhaust emissions and a boost to Visy’s road safety record.

“The trucks will deliver Visy’s recycled cardboard products, manufactured at its state-of-the-art factory in Truganina, to customers across metropolitan Melbourne.”

Mr Bain said the 13-litre engine prime movers are among the most efficient available and are fitted with the standard Scania NTG safety package, comprising lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and electronic stability control.

“The Scania Ecolution trial will give Visy full visibility of how the truck fleet is being driven, how much fuel is being used and how emissions are being reduced, as well as directing its maintenance requirements,” Mr. Bain said.

“The Ecolution programme begins with a tailor-made specification of the prime mover, designed exactly to meet the needs of the task.”

According to Mr Bain, by using Scania’s onboard communicator and global connectivity system, Visy fleet management will be able to monitor how the vehicles are being driven, highlight deviations and allow Scania’s trainers to keep drivers performing at peak efficiency levels.

“Scania Ecolution is a powerful solution producing substantial fuel and CO2 reductions for our customer – helping to drive our ambition of providing the market’s most sustainable and profitable transport solutions,” Mr Bain said.

“By offering Visy Logistics this suite of features through the Ecolution trial, we are delivering on our strategy to be a leader in the shift towards a sustainable transport system.”

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GRI Waste Standard opens for public comment

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is seeking input from international specialists and advocacy groups to shape its draft Waste Standard.

GRI is an independent international organisation that helps businesses, governments and other organisations understand and communicate their sustainability impacts.

According to GRI Global Sustainability Standards Board Chair Judy Kuszewski, GRI standards are the world’s most widely adopted sustainability reporting framework.

“In the face of a growing global waste crisis, new corporate reporting disclosures are being developed by GRI to help organisations better understand and communicate their waste impacts,” Ms Kuszewski said.

“The new Waste Standard will help companies improve their waste management, with a strong emphasis on the transition to a circular economy.”

The initial draft standard was developed by a multi-stakeholder project working group appointed by the Global Sustainability Standards Board to review, revise and expand the content of waste disclosures, and is an update on GRI 306: Effluents and Waste 2016 .

“The draft GRI Waste Standard recognises that our linear, ‘take-make-waste’ approach is contributing towards a global waste crisis,” Ms Kuszewski said.

“As the world moves to a more circular economy, in which we treat waste as an input material for production, a new approach to reporting is needed.”

Ms Kuszewski said the draft agues for a fundamental shift in the perception of waste, greater emphasis on how decisions on procuring and using materials relate directly to waste generation and new disclosures to understand how discarded waste has been created and the significance of its impact.

“International recognition of the need for action on waste is increasing, and the scale of the issue – from the effect of plastics in marine ecosystems to the mounting disconnect between food waste generation and global hunger – illustrates why businesses and other organisations need to play their part by improving waste management practices,” Ms Kuszewski said.

“The standard will help companies better understand and measure their waste impacts, disclosing reliable and comparable data that ultimately supports better decisions.”

The public comment period is open until 15 July, with contributions welcomed from anyone irrespective of sector, type of business or location.

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Bastille Festival announces sustainability plan

The Bastille Festival in Sydney has teamed up with SUEZ to transition into a more environmentally sustainable event.

Director Vincent Hernandez said the festival welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors over four days, generating an estimated 20 tonnes of waste.

“Tonnes of rubbish – plastic wine cups, food packaging, food waste, cigarettes buds and more. How can we do better?

“That’s precisely the question I asked myself after the success of last year’s festival but I needed an expert to lead us and SUEZ accepted the challenge to help us make a difference,” Mr Hernandez said.

SUEZ will implement the festival’s waste collection system to ensure waste is minimised and diverted from landfill.

SUEZ NSW General Manager Tony Grebenshikoff said simple changes such as installing appropriate recycling bins and raising awareness about what is and is not recyclable will make a significant difference.

Other changes include a plastic ban, and requirement that all stall holders use energy-saving LED lights.

Re-usable glasses and compostable cutlery and plates will be mandatory for food stall holders, and non-recyclable packaging will be eliminated for food consumed at the festival.

Wastewater and cooking oil will be collected separately and treated appropriately, and public transport will be encouraged.

The festival will also attempt to minimise the contamination of recyclable material and food waste by using separate organic and co-mingled bins, with a target of 75 per cent diversion rate from landfill.

Power generators will be shared by stall holders, operating on energy saver mode to optimise the use of electrical resources as well as using electricity generated from solar panels.

To support the effort, the festival will be working with local organisations, communities and individuals to help implement and manage the new policy.

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