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2014 Organisational Leadership in Infrastructure Sustainability Award

2014-09-02 02:36:34

This Award recognises the organisation that exhibits the most outstanding performance, leadership and greatest contribution to advance infrastructure sustainability in Australia.

Winner: Main Roads Western Australia


  • ACTEW Water
  • Aecom
  • Arup
  • Leighton Contractors
  • North West Rail Link Project Delivery Office
  • Thiess
  • Tenix

Winner: Main Roads Western Australia

Main Roads strives to be an organisation that integrates economic, social and environmental aspects into our decision making and seeks positive outcomes in each. We are continually embedding our sustainability policy into everything we do in order to create a culture of sustainability, seek economic, social and environmental benefits and build and operate a sustainable road transport system in partnership with others.

To realise our policy commitment we have taken the approach to embed specific drivers and targets into our business as demonstrated by initiatives such as the adoption of a target for carbon emissions. By adopting this approach we are able to achieve tangible outcomes such as reducing our emissions by 13.7% since 2010, using recycled content and utilising waste streams as part of delivering our infrastructure investments not only as opportunities arise but to improve asset performance.

Main Roads' has an ongoing commitment to delivering sustainable outcomes in all of our major projects. A key mechanism that will help us to measure and demonstrate these outcomes is the ISCA Infrastructure Sustainability framework. We have committed to using the IS for almost $2 billion of our proposed investment in infrastructure over the next four years.

 actew water

ACTEW Water - Building sustainably in the nation’s capital

Canberra like many other Australian cities faces the twin pressures of an increasing population which has been growing faster than the national average in recent years making Canberra Australia's largest inland city. Changing climates with hotter and drier conditions are expected over time.

Providing water security is critical to ACTEW Water as well as providing safe, clean water and sewerage services contributing to the health and wellbeing of the ACT and capital region's community. ACTEW Water is a government owned water utility with a large infrastructure portfolio, owning and operating ACT's water and sewerage assets.
In 2013 ACTEW took the opportunity to drive a business transformation program to set a new, clear strategic direction for the organisation with a greater emphasis on improving the sustainability of the business and its operations.

ACTEW developed a sustainability framework to embed sustainability across the business and help deliver a balanced approach to maintaining four elements of sustainability: financial, cultural, social and environmental health. In addition, ACTEW has received national and international acclaim for its innovative sustainable infrastructure projects.

The sustainability framework laid the foundations for how sustainability was to be driven across the organisation through policy, stakeholder engagement, process change, tool development, technology improvements, cultural change and continuous improvement measured through key performance measures.

As part of that sustainability journey, ACTEW has concentrated on ensuring all infrastructure projects incorporate sustainability at the very inception of any project to optimise environmental, social, financial and cultural outcomes over the long term life of the infrastructure.

Infrastructure sustainability tools

ACTEW is a founding member of the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA). It has two projects that have followed the ISCA IS methodology; the enlarged Cotter Dam and the Googong Water Treatment Plant Chemical Facility project. Involvement in the IS program led to the Enlarged Cotter Dam (ECD) project being the first to register for a national IS rating.

To ensure that sustainability is embedded into all ACTEW infrastructure projects, ACTEW has developed a sustainability scorecard to integrate sustainability into smaller infrastructure projects. It is a practical tool incorporated into ACTEW's capital works planning process to ensure all planning options assess financial, social, environmental and cultural impacts and opportunities before being delivered.

This is a major advancement for ACTEW to ensure it delivers sustainability within all new infrastructure. It allows for 10 different project options to be quantitatively and qualitatively compared and rated against the themes of resources, environment, community and workforce culture and finance, to ensure that ACTEW pursue the most sustainable options. The tool was developed and published internally in December 2013. To date, 19 infrastructure projects have utilised the internal sustainability tool.

In addition to building sustainable infrastructure ACTEW is focused on ensuring its assets are operated sustainably to reduce energy and water use, waste, greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs across the business.

Initiatives have achieved an 18% reduction in emissions since 2009-2010, meeting renewable energy targets, leading sustainable waste reduction technologies to reduce by-products from water treatment going to landfill.



AECOM is united by a common purpose to create, enhance and sustain the world's built, natural and social environments.

We recognise that the most important contribution we can make to sustainability is through our projects, particularly our infrastructure projects. Our participation in ISCA, as a Foundation Member is a reflection of our commitment to advancing infrastructure sustainability. For almost 10 years, we have consistently embedded sustainability in our infrastructure projects.

Fundamental to our approach to the integration of environmental protection and enhancement, social advancement and economic prosperity is to embed these principles as part of the foundation of the decision making processes we develop for our projects.

To support strong decision making, we also work to build and enhance the existing knowledge and capabilities in sustainability aspects, including governance through:

  • Promoting sustainable operations; the culture of sustainability we create within the project and the influence we have to promote 'sustainability for life' within the projects
  • Implementing sustainable delivery initiatives: the way we embed the culture of sustainability through the design and construction aspects of project delivery as well as opportunities created by sustainable thinking for the project across the whole of life of the asset
  • Beyond the boundary: the way knowledge is shared beyond the project boundaries into AECOM and our project participants, the stakeholders, industry and the communities we service
  • Striving for continuous improvement: the commitment to continuing our sustainability journey form one project to the next.

Our key achievements from our projects include:

  • the relocation of a 750 year old Boab Tree to Kings Park
  • biochar production from the mulched waste from vegetation clearing
  • reductions in carbon emissions for the Great Northern Highway: Muchea to Wubin of more than 7%
  • the use of 2300 used tyres as part of an innovative approach to embankment construction
  • recognition of excellence in stakeholder engagement for South Metro Connect and the Inner Northern Busway (INB) Alliance




Arup has held, since the firm's inception, that our work should serve a social purpose. In fulfilling our mission statement, we shape a better world, there is a focus on not only the aesthetic or raw utility of our projects, but of the holistic societal benefit.

This outlook continues to shape our corporate strategies today. The Brunel Lecture by Arupian Peter Hoad entitled Entering the Ecological Age: The Engineers Role has come to underpin some significant elements of Arup's corporate strategy. This includes our Australasian Strategic Plan. In outlining the challenges facing our world and the path to saving it, radical transformation of global infrastructure networks are highlighted as a major means of achieving this.

As the major output of our organisation, our projects will always be the best representation of our philosophies. Our internal program and project management tool allows sustainability objectives to be set for all projects. Expanding on this, Arup developed an infrastructure sustainability methodology has been used to evaluate social benefits and even monetise the sustainability outcomes of certain projects. Having been applied to such high profile works as the North West Rail Link project and the CBD and South East Light Rail, its application has helped inform Treasury feasibility studies.

While Arup projects have promoted sustainable outcomes for some time, the advent of the IS rating has seen an expansion of our efforts. As the tool has developed, Arup has undertaken IS rating 'self-assessments' prior to registering the projects with ISCA to help identify key sustainability design initiatives and actions necessary to achieve an IS rating. Notably, these sessions have often served as workshops to better the understanding of the tool across our clients, key stakeholders and the broader industry.

Our commitment to infrastructure sustainability is both fostered and continued by our people. David Singleton, Arup Principal and the current chairman of ISCA. On large city shaping infrastructure projects, key Arup team members and technical leads are Infrastructure Sustainability Accredited Professionals drawn from the 2 ISCA verifiers and several Infrastructure Sustainability accredited professionals on staff. As a founding member of this organisation, with strong individual ties to it, a number of our more senior sustainability personnel have been actively involved with the development of the IS rating tool.

Similarly, there is a focus upon spreading our best thinking. The internal research group, Foresight + Research + Innovation, are key communicators of the need for sustainable thinking in the face of environmental change. These compliment a range of internal and external communications supporting to expand the adoption of infrastructure sustainability practices across the industry.



North West Rail Link Project Delivery Office

The North West Rail Link (NWRL) Delivery Office has a clear vision to achieve new benchmarks in sustainable infrastructure delivery. This means demonstrating North West Rail Link is at the forefront of best practice, delivering environmental, social and economic improvements throughout the project. Sustainability underpins the core project program and is integrated across all project stages. It is not an afterthought or an add on.

Our commitment is recognised through a project objective to "contribute to environmental, social and economic sustainability by improving liveability, minimising our impact on the environment and the community, and delivering value for money". The project will make a positive contribution by not only extending public transport, but also sustainable growth in the North West region. However, the provision of new public rail infrastructure alone will not deliver sustainable outcomes.

NWRL has developed an approach that ensures that it will deliver and promote infrastructure sustainability in terms of objectives, targets and measurable outcomes against key policy themes across the project life cycle. Sustainability contract requirements (including targets) have been built into major packages to drive improvements and innovation and currently being delivered by NWRL Delivery Partners.

To demonstrate leadership, NWRL has endorsed innovative policies on operational energy (including the first endorsed policy position in Australia to offset 100% of the operational electricity relating to the rail) and a new approach to workforce development and engagement of local businesses with Greater Western Sydney in the project delivery and operational phases.

As Australia's largest infrastructure project in delivery phase, NWRL has pro-actively shared knowledge inside TfNSW and outside the project on its approach to achieving environmental and social outcomes on the project from the planning through the delivery phases. The project has mandated the use of the ISCA IS Rating Tool to ensure these outcomes can be measured and provide a benchmark for future rail projects both nationally and internationally.



Leighton Contractors

Leighton Contractors Pty Limited (LCPL) is an integrated contractor with a substantial footprint across the mining, infrastructure, telecommunications and energy industries. Sustainability was recognised as an imperative in our 2013 Group Business Plan, and our core values include a commitment to safety and health, enduring business relationships, achievement through teamwork, respect for the community and environment, and recognition of the value of our people. LCPL has identified seven functional areas central to pursuing sustainability, and has developed – or is in the process of developing – internal strategies, objectives and targets for each. LCPL was an alliance member on the first project in Australia to receive an ISCA rating. LCPL is also a member of ISCA, and is working on a number of infrastructure projects that are seeking an ISCA rating.



Tenix has done much to advance sustainability in the Infrastructure sector in recent years.
There are five particular achievements of note in this regard:

  1. Pursuing and achieving 'Excellent' Design and As-Built IS ratings for the Whitsunday STP Upgrades Project
  2. Sharing the achievements and lessons learnt from the ratings with the sector through conferences, presentations, journal articles a conference paper and more widely via a comprehensive marketing and communications program
  3. Creating and maintaining dialogues with our current and potential clients to promote the benefits of IS and the importance of implementing a sustainability approach in the design, delivery and operation of infrastructure assets – this has encouraged one IS rating in the water sector and is likely to lead to several more in the near future in the power and energy sectors
  4. Embedding the lessons learnt from the ratings into Tenix's systems and procedures: changing policy to require at least a minimum sustainability performance standard for all new projects and encouraging projects to seek IS ratings
  5. Designing and delivering sustainability competency training to key personnel across Tenix – thereby building understanding of the business case for sustainability and capacity to deliver sustainability initiatives across the project lifecycle


As a leading contractor, Thiess' expert team delivers certainty, infrastructure sustainability and excellence through innovation and partnerships. We are committed to achieving sustainable and profitable growth, as we have done so for 80 years, delivering sustainable development outcomes for our clients, environment, communities, and our people.

Our vision of 'Creating a brighter future, together', encapsulates our values of Trust, Innovation, Passion and Excellence, and underpins our commitment to sustainability and building long term relationships with clients.

As an industry leader in the delivery and operation of infrastructure through our Construction and Services businesses, we need to set high standards. Our success reflects a robust framework which guides our approach to sustainability which is underpinned by six key focus areas:

1. People

Empowering every employee to contribute their skills, knowledge and experience is fundamental to our high performance culture. We foster a work environment that creates opportunities, encourages innovation, celebrates diversity and recognises and rewards excellence.

2. Safety

Our highest priority is ensuring 'everyone safe, everyday'. In 2013, our Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (RIFR) dropped by 64 percent in two and a half years to 3.4 across Thiess Construction – the lowest result in Thiess' history.

3. Environment

Visible leadership drives a beyond compliance 'smaller footprint, bigger future' culture which promotes environmental best practice and innovation. We continue to be more efficient with the use of energy and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

4. Community

Through our social responsibility program Care, we provided over $2 million in community sponsorships, scholarships and donations to connect with our communities and directly invest in meaningful programs that will leave a lasting legacy.

5. Procurement

Through initiatives such as local buying programs, our Green Tick program, collaboration with national suppliers, supporting Indigenous businesses, we are making a positive difference in delivering value from sustainability with our supply chain.

6. Business Performance

Excellence in delivering on our sustainability agenda continues to lead to excellence in business performance. In 2013, Thiess achieved revenue of $6.9 billion, $17.65 billion total work-in-hand and $483.7 million profit before tax.

Our sustainability journey is open and transparent, having published sustainability performance annually since 2003, and energy efficiency reports before mandatory disclosure was required.

Our commitment to infrastructure sustainability starts with our leadership team and is demonstrated through our projects. We have committed extensive resources to building internal capacity and knowledge, and our employees are encouraged to become IS Accredited Professionals.

Thiess currently has two projects in New South Wales registered for IS Ratings – North West Rail Link and Wynyard Walk. It was also Thiess' solution and sustainability principles which enabled the successful delivery of the Narrows Marine Crossing underground pipeline near Gladstone, a cost effective solution which reduced environmental impacts and shortened the approvals and construction program.

As a Founding Member of ISCA, we are committed to advancing the industry through our support for the IS Rating scheme. Thiess has played a pivotal role in the development of the new Workforce theme, providing financial and in-kind support for the initial scoping study. We will continue to drive a culture that acknowledges the benefits of going beyond compliance and are committed to playing our role pursuing infrastructure sustainability excellence.