Home > New study shows current support for environmental initiatives in Australian industry

New study shows current support for environmental initiatives in Australian industry

Supplier News
article image Australasian management has responded positively to environmental challenges

Decision-makers at leading Australian companies across various industrial segments are increasingly supportive of environmental initiatives involving cleaner water and greener energy, according to a study by CST Wastewater Solutions .

The study reveals that industry is convinced about the potential financial viability of sustainable energy and water initiatives. CST Wastewater Solutions Managing Director Michael Bambridge reports that 100% of the respondents strongly or somewhat agree that they are ‘passionate’ about sustainability, with over 90% believing their CFOs are receptive to sustainability initiatives with a strong cost justification.

Compiled by CST’s General Manager, Energy, Mr Andrew Boughton, the report draws upon 60 in-depth interviews with senior executives in industries such as food, beverage, agribusiness, processing, resources and energy, which have the greatest potential for new technologies such as wastewater-to-biogas being introduced to Australia by CST. The company offers proven local technologies as well as advanced international technologies from Global Water Engineering, which recently won the IChemE green energy award of an organisation representing more than 40,000 chemical engineering specialists.

The report shows respondents in Production, Engineering and Sustainability (PES) management have faith in the economics of sustainability investments, with over 90% disagreeing with the proposition that sustainability is ‘never likely to be profitable’.

However, over 50% of end-users and two-thirds of the consultants interviewed for the study feel there is a ‘major gap’ between the goals and outcomes of Sustainability, while nearly all end-users believe there are ‘major shortcomings’ or even ‘failures’ in sustainable energy and water projects, particularly around financial payback.

CFOs and engineering managers were particularly sceptical of ‘over-cooked’ sustainability claims, and of vendors using ethical leverage where buyers are urged to spend for the sake of the environment rather than address their real business needs. The market, by contrast, feels the sustainability industry should become more cost-effective, and ensure that business gets the results they believe they have been led to expect and have paid for, says the report.

Mr Bambridge, who has more than 30 years of experience in major waste water and green energy projects in Australia and the Asia Pacific, says such healthy scepticism is sometimes justified given the number of less experienced operators moving into the business as clean water and green energy become headline corporate issues.

CST was pleasantly surprised to see the positive response of Australasian management to environmental challenges. Over 80% of respondents agree it is ‘a genuine investment priority’ with almost 60% agreeing strongly, yet almost half feel it is at least to some extent a response to ‘politically correct pressure’.

In the open comments for the survey on ‘major challenges’ in Sustainability, a number of respondents said that raising its importance over other investment priorities was either their first or second challenge, while in the ‘Opportunities’ section many respondents cited business growth or new product development as their key Sustainability opportunity.

Mr Boughton explained that the CST report was one of the most comprehensive of its type in recent times in which CFOs have been very willing to speak candidly about the subject, because they passionately feel it has been over-cooked by the supply side.

A full copy of the report can be viewed on the CST Wastewater Solutions website.

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