Our part in a crucial global effort

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan,
Environmental Planner

Our part in a crucial global effort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan,
Environmental Planner

The reality of climate change means we cannot — and have not — been sitting idly by without reducing our use of non-renewable-materials and energy. We’re redesigning the materials and methods we use with the goal of transforming our environmental impacts and bringing them ever closer to net zero.

This reimagining of our operations extends to the protections we give to local flora and fauna, and to reducing the impact of noise and air pollution on communities living near our roads. Read on for some examples, or view our Sustainability Report for more details on how we’re performing in meeting our environmental targets.

Read our 2018 Sustainability Report

Using renewable energy

We’re always looking for opportunities to introduce more sustainable energy sources, and last year we installed 23.4 kW of solar PV panels at three of our operations facilities. We now have 140 kW of renewable energy generation capacity that, in the last year, generated more than 124 MWh of renewable electricity that was used directly onsite.

To reduce our use of coal-based energy further, two of our assets, the Lane Cove Tunnel and the Cross City Tunnel, bought an additional 3,263 MWh of renewable electricity during the 2017–2018 financial year.

Our total renewable energy use was 3,387 MWh, saving the equivalent of 2,811 Tonne CO2 (TCO2-e) greenhouse gas emissions. This is the equivalent carbon savings of planting more than 70,000 new trees.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Our business is roads and, for most of us, driving on any road burns up petroleum-based fuels such as gasoline or diesel. Almost all (95 per cent) of the world's transportation energy comes from non-renewable petroleum-based fuels.

While the world’s reliance on fuel is slowly changing – in the future the vast majority of vehicles will likely be powered by electricity – right now, transport emissions account for about 14 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the primary cause of climate change.

To reduce emissions now, we are:

  • improving road efficiencies and reducing the amount of time vehicles must idle in traffic
  • advocating for the transition to electric vehicles
  • shifting our own dependence on fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources
  • working to meet our 2030 emission-reduction target of 52 per cent (compared to 2016)

Roadside regeneration

Restoring the natural environment along our motorways is important to local communities and us. We do this through our major construction projects - for example, the West Gate Tunnel Project in Melbourne will plant 170,000 trees and one million shrubs. And in our day-to-day operations by looking for sites next to our motorways that we can regenerate.

Twice we have partnered with Landcare Australia and local artists to restore unused sites. The first time we regenerated a one-hectare site next to CityLink in Melbourne. The restoration of the natural ecosystem was combined with the installation of an iconic public artwork, called Habitat Filter.

More than just being visually attractive, the artwork contains nesting boxes for birds and bats, solar panels to offset night-time lighting and was constructed using recycled materials.

The second time, we regenerated an eight-hectare site next to the Hills M2 Motorway in Sydney. Restoring the natural ecology included improving the water quality of a local creek and planting thousands of trees. Another piece of public art was commissioned, called Kinetica, and this represents native flora.

 

 

Getting smarter about materials

Construction materials can potentially affect the environment and nearby communities for the full life-cycle of a project. When sustainable materials are used they can create benefits such as reducing the use of non-renewable resources and lowering emissions.

Given the scale of our construction projects, we are developing a sustainable materials strategy to help us integrate sustainable materials into our construction projects and existing roads.

As part of this strategy we’re also working with our suppliers with the goal of creating a more sustainable supply chain.

In the meantime, we’ve been trialling some new sustainable materials – you can read about these in our sustainability report

A global effort to create a more sustainable future

Our Sustainability Strategy supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address global challenges including poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we are working to meet during FY2018-19 are:

 

From our news room