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A boost for infrastructure innovation through smarter supply chains

In a clear signal that smarter, more sustainable supply chains are key to improving social, environmental and economic outcomes across Australian infrastructure projects, the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) has released details of new Innovation Challenges for registered projects.

Working alongside the Supply Chain Sustainability School on the priority issue of ‘Supply Chain Education’, ISCA has created seven Innovation Challenges to encourage projects, assets and organisations to pursue sustainability initiatives beyond the current IS rating scheme criteria and contribute to beyond-business-as-usual sustainability outcomes.

“The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia is leading the way – not just nationally but internationally – when it comes to setting best practice benchmarks and encouraging innovation for some of the most significant projects Australia and New Zealand has ever seen,” says the School’s Chief Executive Officer, Robin Mellon.

“Though it’s great to see organisations, projects and teams setting ambitious sustainability targets across more economic and social issues,” he adds, “we cannot hope to achieve these objectives without the support of supply chains that understand the words we are using, recognise the relevance of their role to our projects, and who will work with us to achieve our goals.”

To reward continuous improvements in the sustainability knowledge of project participants, two points are now available in the Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating tools where sustainability training is provided to at least 80% of project employees, as well as the contractor and sub-contractor workforce. Education should cover key topics including; Climate change adaptation; Materials; Waste; Biodiversity; and Sustainable Construction. Contractors and sub-contractors must also cover the theme of Environmental management.

The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia is one of the School’s Founding Partners and Ainsley Simpson, ISCA’s Chief Executive Officer, says sustainability knowledge has become increasingly important to employees and suppliers over the last decade.

“Every project employee can contribute to the sustainability outcomes of the project, particularly on-site employees who play a vital role in implementing sustainability measures such as waste separation, water conservation, conservation of ecological sites, and employee health and well-being,” Ms Simpson says.

“Other Innovation Challenges recently released aim to encourage issues such as Piloting an updated category, Piloting the Economic Theme or Workforce Sustainability Category, Carbon Neutrality, Sustainable Site Facilities, and High clinker substitution in the production of concrete, as well as the ability for projects to Restore and Renew,” she adds.

In order to qualify for the two Innovation points, registered projects must provide information such as examples of training material, attendance at training sessions shown to cover essential elements, Contractor Action Plans available for free from the Supply Chain Sustainability School or similar organisation, demonstrated increases in sustainability knowledge over time, with reports from the Supply Chain Sustainability School or similar organisation showing improvements.

Launched in March 2015, the School was established to increase sustainability knowledge and competency along construction and infrastructure supply chains, and has grown steadily since. The School is funded and supported by 17 partner organisations across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, including industry leaders such as Downer Group, Dulux Group, John Holland, Laing O’Rourke, Landcom, Lendlease, Mirvac, Stockland and Sustainability Victoria.

“Now that there is a free, readily available way for project teams, organisations, contractors and extended supply chains to access sustainability learning resources in a variety of formats – with a resource library that is being constantly updated to highlight priority issues and case studies – the School will collaborate with organisations such as ISCA to demonstrate and measure improvements in sustainability knowledge by topic, by state or by profession,” Mr Mellon states.

“We look forward to working with the School on educating current infrastructure contractors, workers and their supply chains about essential sustainability topics and the IS rating tools, as well as emerging trends and innovation, through the range of free School learning resources and comprehensive ISCA training,” Ms Simpson concludes.

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