- Sonja de Klerk, Head of Quality, Environment & Sustainability
We strive to manage our environmental footprints in a responsible way. We use an environmental management system which is certified to ISO 14001 across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. We support the precautionary approach as envisaged by Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. We have no knowledge of any monetary fines or non-monetary sanctions against Aurecon during FY16 for non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations.
Irrespective of our certification status, we understand the undertakings made in our Environmental Policy are global commitments. We look beyond compliance to minimising our greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption and our waste and to take everyone at Aurecon along on this journey.
For most of our offices, we calculate the carbon footprint on a regular basis and communicate the results in the form of quarterly emission statements. To have sound and accurate carbon emission data, we have our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions externally verified annually by an independent provider according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol; with a high level review on our business travel related to Scope 3 emissions. We are currently developing real-time reporting systems for some of our larger offices and expect these to start going live during 2017.
But how do we make Aurecon’s impact really big? The answer lies in our projects. This is where we can take our knowledge and skills to scale. As engineers and advisors, we can re-imagine the way things work. We can find better design solutions which will save our clients and our planet significant effluents and emissions. We can listen to project stakeholders and find solutions which maximise social value beyond the immediate technical solution. That’s why during our Financial Year 2016 we committed to feed environmental and social considerations into the planning of every project in our Aurecon Methodology. There is always a better way. We want to find it with our clients and stakeholders.
We are passionate about reducing our current greenhouse gas emissions. We agreed on improvement plans for emissions with our offices, particularly those which did not achieve a reduction in their emissions in FY16.
These emissions relate to activities owned or controlled by Aurecon such as fuel combustion for cooking and heating, refrigerant leakage from air conditioning usage and fleet vehicles.
A large number of Aurecon’s Scope 1 emissions relate to the operation of Aurecon’s pool vehicles. It is our policy to give preference to small, fuel efficient vehicles. Some of our locations proactively pursued replacing existing fleets with hybrid vehicles and reducing the overall fleet of pool vehicles during FY16.
While an increase in Scope 1 emissions was noted in South Africa and attributed to projects with specific pool vehicle needs, overall Aurecon achieved a significant reduction in Scope 1 emissions.
We also offset some of our emissions through the planting of trees and the purchase of carbon credits, for example, in support of a solar geyser project in the township of Kuyasa/Khayelitsha, South Africa.
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Scope 2 emissions are associated with our consumption of purchased electricity. The electricity we purchase from the main grid is subject to different emission factors due to the fact that our offices are located in different geographies. Emission factors depend on the way grid electricity is generated, for example coal-fired power stations versus renewable energy sources. The same amount of electricity usage in kWh can thus result in different amounts of CO2e emissions, which is outside Aurecon’s control.
In order to minimise our consumption of electricity, many of our operations are based in buildings with high environmental performance, such as buildings rated under relevant national and international green star rating frameworks. We track the actual electricity consumption on an ongoing basis, with real-time displays being developed for several pilot locations.
Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions for the locations listed in the tables below were externally verified by GCX using the operational control approach with a limited level of assurance.
In conformance with ISO 14064-3 (2006) the verification process included as assessment of:
Refrigerant gas usage under Scope 1 was excluded.
Scope 1 and 2 Direct emissions and
Scope 1 and 2 Direct emissions and
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These are emissions which occur along an organisations supply and distribution chain, e.g. business travel. At Aurecon, we measure the emissions caused through our use of rental vehicles, air travel as well as paper usage.
Our air travel footprint reflects our geographic diversity. However, this is managed through default economy class bookings which have a much lower emission factor than flights in higher classes. Higher class flights are generally only booked in special circumstances when the health and safety of staff would otherwise be compromised. We encourage staff to refrain from air travel as far as reasonably practical and make use of our video/teleconferencing and digital communication tools instead.
Sometimes our civilisation is called the “throw-away society”. At Aurecon, we are conscious of the waste we generate and think of innovative ways to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste.
Some of our geographies experienced near-catastrophic draught conditions during FY16. If the tap runs dry, you recognise how depended we all are on clean, potable water. We try to make every drop count.
The nature of Aurecon’s business is such that most of our water comes from utility providers and, in some instances, from rainwater harvesting. Accurate reporting on water consumption is challenging in some of our offices due to the fact that certain buildings are leased and therefore we don’t pay water bills directly. Water is, however, measured within our offices wherever possible.
Water saving initiatives have been implemented in many of Aurecon’s facilities. Some of these initiatives include:
One planet. That’s all we have. Therefore we create a vibrant spirit of environmental care amongst our staff.
For United Nations World Environment Day 2016, we encouraged staff to leave the car in the garage and “Join the Race to Make the World a Better Place”. Walking, running and cycling, our teams across the globe accumulated 22 341 022 steps as measured by relevant fitness apps. That is the equivalent of 17 024 kilometres – a distance greater than walking across Australia from East to West and across Africa from North to South. Driven in a medium sized vehicle, this distance would have created 3.2 tonnes of CO2e.