Australia’s bushfires and floods, New Zealand’s floods, landslides and volcanic eruptions and the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in extraordinary and unexpected challenges.
We can all be proud of the way our organisation and people adapted and responded.
Downer’s robust governance models guided the business through these unpredictable circumstances and our strong Zero Harm culture meant our people adapted well and quickly to the new health controls put in place to slow the transmission of COVID-19. We implemented programs to support our people through worrying and uncertain times and stood by our communities in their time of need.
While some of our planned initiatives for FY20 were disrupted by COVID-19, we have continued to make progress against our sustainability goals and improved our disclosure.
In FY19, Downer announced an ambitious long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target that aligns with the 2015 Paris Agreement goals to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C by the end of this century.
The catastrophic weather events in Australia and New Zealand during the year reinforced the importance of this commitment.
In February 2020, Downer announced we would shift our focus from high capital intensive activities to lower capital intensive and lower carbon activities, in line with our Urban Services strategy. This strategic shift will support Downer’s decarbonisation pathway. We have also increased our utilisation of low emissions technology across our fleet, plant and equipment to reduce fuel consumption as well as carbon and air emissions.
Our customers and communities are placing increasing value in the circular economy to reduce waste being sent to landfill, and Downer continues to be an industry leader in this space. In June 2020 we celebrated the second anniversary of Australia’s first road laid with Reconophalt™, Downer’s sustainable asphalt product. Over the past two years Downer has laid over 77,000 tonnes of roads in six Australian States
and Territories, using soft plastics from 46.1 million plastic bags and packaging equivalents, toner from 1.3 million used toner cartridges, glass from 11.5 million glass bottle equivalents and 20,500 tonnes of reclaimed asphalt.
We made good progress on a number of diversity and inclusion initiatives this year. We became a Workplace Gender Equity Agency (WGEA) pay ambassador, partnered with Engineering Australia’s campaign to promote gender equality and launched our Indigenous Cultural Awareness Training. In FY20, Downer’s Australian Operations spent $47.3 million with Indigenous suppliers, which is a 92 per cent increase compared to FY19 – an excellent result.
Cybersecurity is a growing challenge for companies around the world, and these risks have intensified during COVID-19.
Downer responded by deploying a number of programs to ensure our people can continue to securely work remotely.
Sadly, there was a fatality in our Otraco business in Chile in July 2019. At Downer, the health and safety of our people is paramount. We operate in a number of sectors that are exposed to high-risk activities and, while we have a history of strong safety performance, this tragic incident is a sobering reminder that we must keep safety front of mind in everything we do, every day.
Thank you to all our employees, customers, communities, business partners, contractors and suppliers for your continued support through what has been an extremely challenging 12 months.
Managing Director and
Chief Executive Officer