Our approach

Downer believes in the pursuit of environmental sustainability excellence, enhancing liveability for all communities in which we influence.

Our purpose is to create and sustain the modern environment by building trusted relationships with our customers. We help our customers succeed by developing and delivering environmentally responsible and sustainable solutions so our business is fit for the future.

Our ability to manage the impacts of our activities on the environment and communities in which we operate is fundamental to our long-term success. Downer remains focused on developing solutions to reduce our energy consumption and GHG emissions, while at the same time increasing our cost competitiveness.

Downer is committed to transitioning to a low carbon economy and focusing our attention on managing the risks associated with environmental management and in particular, climate change, we are also taking advantage of the commercial opportunities this presents for our business.

Our environmental commitments are outlined in Downer’s Environmental Sustainability Policy.

Each division is required to have an Environmental Sustainability Action Plan (ESAP) and strategies in place supported by suitably qualified environment and sustainability professionals. The ESAP allocates internal responsibilities for reducing the impact of its operations and business activities on the environment.

The international environmental standard ISO 14001:2015, is used as a benchmark for assessing, improving and maintaining the environmental integrity of its business management systems. The company’s divisions also adhere to environmental management requirements established by customers, in addition to all applicable licence and regulatory requirements.

Our 10 Environmental Principles were created as an important central awareness and engagement tool, providing practical messages to assist our frontline workers to achieve environmental compliance across waste, water, air emissions, hazardous waste and substance, flora and fauna, heritage and environmental incidents. They provide us with the necessary understanding and tools to ensure we conduct our operations and activities in a manner that is environmentally responsible and sustainable.

These principles are critical to ensuring our employees and broader stakeholder groups are engaged and aware of our environmentally sustainable commitments.

We encourage our employees to participate in industry networking events, influencing the adoption of more sustainable practices for example, Sustainable Business Council, Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia, Australian Constructors Association, Sustainability Working Group, Minerals Council of Australia, Sustainability Working Group, Civil Construction Federation, Supply Chain Sustainability School and Responsible Construction Leadership Group.

Our Performance

As at FY18 environmental performance data contained within the report includes our acquisition of Spotless and excludes Hawkins.

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The energy and GHG emission data for FY18 includes the acquisition of Spotless in Australia but excludes Spotless NZ and Hawkins. Both Spotless NZ and Hawkins have been quarantined for another 12 months consistent with the safety performance data. Both Spotless NZ and Hawkins have adopted Downer’s energy and GHG emission reporting protocols which are consistent with the Australian National Greenhouse Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme. Both these entities have had limited exposure to the NGER scheme and as a result they are at different levels of maturity when compared to Downer’s Australian operations. Transition plans are in place to ensure that their data is at the same level of integrity of reporting in FY19.

Environmental compliance

We record all environmental incidents using a six-level security rating. Downer acheived its Group-wide target of zero Level 5 or Level 6 encironmental incidents.

Climate-related risk and resilience

Climate change impacts present a challenge to sustaining our modern environment, enhancing liveability, the natural environment and our business.

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While our business portfolio is diverse, we have limited exposure to the effects of climate change impacts on our business through fixed, long lived capital assets. Our diverse portfolio allows us to be flexible and agile to redeploy our assets to high growth areas as markets change. This diversity of portfolio strongly positions us to mitigate and manage our exposure to climate risks and to maximise the business opportunities it presents.

This reporting period, we have conducted a detailed assessment against the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework. Details of our TCFD disclosures can be found in our 2018 Annual Report. In conducting our assessment, we considered the diversity of our operations and portfolio, in the context of transitional, physical and reputational risks as well as considering opportunities particularly in respect of transport, new markets and technological changes. Our analysis did not identify any material short-term risks to the Downer business in respect of climate change, however risks and opportunities across short, medium and long-term horizons were identified.

We have made significant progress to date in assessing climate-related risks and opportunities and in FY19 we are committed to exploring and disclosing further the material impacts of these items through analysis and identification of appropriate metrics and targets.

Stemming from the risk and opportunity analysis this year, our initial focus for scenario analysis will be in the following areas:

  • Outlook for metallurgic and thermal coal
  • Impact of extreme weather (increase in rainfall and temperature)
  • Energy transition, considering both the impact on energy prices and opportunities for alternative generation sources.

For further information on the TCFD disclosure, including climate-related risks and opportunities, refer to Downer’s 2018 Annual Report.

Managing our GHG emissions

This year Downer’s GHG emission intensity increased by 7.5% when compared to FY17 levels, primarily due to the growth in our Transport and Utilities businesses where revenue increased by 35 per cent, and the acquisition of Spotless.

Our future focus

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Significant progress was made this year in delivering on the focus areas that were disclosed in last year’s report. This year we will continue to focus on driving improvement in our environmental and sustainability performance and risk management while further embedding sustainability within our business through:

  • Continuing to diversify our business and providing services to sectors that promote a sustainable future and transition to a low-carbon economy, including renewable energy, facilities management, water treatment, telecommunications, sustainable transport, waste to energy and waste recovery
  • Further exploring the impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities through scenario analysis, and development of Science-Based Targets as we progress with the TCFD journey
  • Resetting the base year GHG emissions levels, reviewing GHG reduction plans and setting new targets
  • Improving and consolidating all our reporting within our sustainability reporting platform, including incorporating water and waste data
  • Expanding the scope of GHG emissions reporting to include:
    • Contractor data for New Zealand and Spotless in line with the rest of the business
    • Joint Ventures
  • Strengthening our procurement process to ensure alignment with ISO20400, involving engagement with selected key suppliers
  • Reviewing our ISO certifications and integrated management systems to align to new business structures
  • Further utilisation of low-emission technology across our fleet and machinery to reduce fuel consumption, carbon and air emissions
  • Developing Company-wide procedures to ensure a consistent approach to identifying and assessing land contamination at our sites (that we own or have acquired, leased or sub-leased)
  • Further developing a suite of learning modules for operational staff on various environmental management and sustainability topics
  • Application of LCA (life cycle assessment) to our Transport DivisionDdivision including developing an environmental product declaration for the Sydney Growth Train fleet; and LCA for Rosehill Detritus Plant and road maintenance
  • Increasing the number of ISCA Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) Ratings for our infrastructure projects to improve our sustainability performance including being the first Tasmanian project to sign up for a rating.