One often hears of the three P’s of sustainability – the so-called triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profit. The implication of the three P’s is that businesses should take all three elements into consideration when making decisions for a sustainable future.
As the world is becoming more aware of the effects of climate change, the second P – Planet – has been gaining attention. In the Australian construction market this P has become of particular concern, and with reason. Research released by the Green Building Council of Australia has found embodied carbon will make up 85% of Australia's built environment emissions by 2050, compared with 16% in 2019.
Kathryn Walker, National WHS and Sustainability Manager at Etex Australia (Siniat) says it is understandable that embodied carbon is taking centre stage in most Sustainability strategies of companies working in the construction sector.
“However, it is important for companies to not forget about the other two P’s,” she says. “Profit will obviously always be part of the bottom line, but People is the P that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves.”
Kathryn’s role combines the portfolios of WHS and Sustainability, and says it makes perfect sense. “I will not be able to be an effective Sustainability manager if I don’t also concern myself with the safety of the workforce and the wellbeing of our teammates.”
In terms of Siniat’s sustainability strategy, the P for people refers to efforts that ensure a healthy and productive workforce that manufacture the products, and the safety and wellbeing of customers that use them. It includes a focus on safety, diversity, inclusion and ethical work practices.
“When we call ourselves a sustainable company, we want to assure our customers that we don’t stop at providing carbon neutral products under the Siniat Opt-In Carbon Neutral Program. We go to great lengths to also position ourselves as an ethical company with a strong focus on the wellbeing of people – both those who work for us and those who use our products.”
On a global level the Etex Group has identified health, safety and well-being; decarbonisation; circularity; diversity, equity and inclusion; and customer engagement as priority areas in their Sustainability journey.
“The Etex Group regards safety as the very foundation of the business,” Kathryn explains. “It is also reflected in the company value Connect and Care. We have always made safety our main priority, and were pleased to discover that the safety vision of the Etex Group aligned perfectly with our own.”
Etex takes a 3-pronged approach to safety: safe equipment, safe procedures and safe behaviour – all of which are important to improving safety outcomes. Safety is up to all teammates – with everyone being responsible to participate in safety engagement actions, reporting near misses and incidents, and safety conversations are recorded by everyone, not only those directly involved in manufacturing.
In Australia every Etex teammate receives training in the safety awareness program SafeStart. SafeStart addresses unintentional human error and critical safety habits, thereby reducing risk and the probability of injury.
Etex Australia also invests in strategies that maintain the highest possible standards for the end users of our products. This includes triple ISO management systems certification of manufacturing operations, as well as regular, independent testing of products and systems to ensure that they comply with the relevant legislation, building codes and standards.
Etex Australia complies with Government regulations and publishes an annual Modern Slavery report.
“We have predominantly high skilled labour requirements in our workforce, and only use labour hire companies who are appropriately qualified,” Kathryn says.
Etex provides training on an international level in code of conduct, anti-bribery and corruption, and competition law, and any form of discrimination and human rights violation is strongly condemned. Employees are encouraged to report any misconduct or wrong doings through a whistleblowing policy.
When choosing carbon offset projects, Etex Australia endeavours to support offset projects that are environmentally and socially beneficial. Projects are selected that have a strong social responsibility aspect, such as improvements for communities and individuals.
Our current offset projects are
- The Prony and Kafeate Wind Farms in New Caledonia
Islands of the Pacific Ocean like New Caledonia face serious environmental and socioeconomic pressures that are exacerbated by climate change.
Pacific Island nations are already severely affected by extreme weather and climate variability, and their inhabitants are amongst the world’s most vulnerable communities to the growing effects of climate change.
The Project Prony Wind Power involves six wind farms located at two different sites on the island of New Caledonia that supply electricity to the local grid. The Kafeate and Prony sites consist of 116 wind turbines with a total capacity of 31 MW, with an estimated yearly production of 40 GWh of emissions-free, renewable electricity.
- Jandra/Nulty Native Forest Regeneration Project in NSW
Jandra/Nulty is a working sheep and cattle station has been in the same family since 1870.
Vast areas of Australia, including Jandra/Nulty, are grazed by livestock and overrun with feral animals, such as goats and pigs. Livestock grazing is an important economic activity for rural Australia, but it can suppress forest growth. However, leaving land to regenerate means sacrificing agricultural production and hence income for the landholders.
The Jandra/Nulty project is focused on the restoration of the native forest. By allowing native forests to regenerate, HIR projects sequester carbon and generate carbon credits, creating alternate revenue streams that allow landholders to supplement lost agricultural productivity.
Image supplied by South Pole