Sustainable procurement is an integral part of delivering sustainable business practices within projects and organisations. Integrating a sustainable procurement approach into your project or organisation presents an opportunity to provide better outcomes through reducing risk, adding value and encouraging innovation. Done well, sustainable procurement adds positive environmental, social and economic impacts throughout the whole lifecycle of an asset, goods and services. At a practical level it also encourages cooperation, buy-in and better communication between purchasers, suppliers and stakeholders. The steps to achieving sustainable procurement require an understanding that sustainability needs to be integrated as a holistic concept across a project or organisation, not as an add-on or afterthought to tradition business as usual practices.
Over the past three decades, many iconic companies that have publicly professed to be leading practitioners of sustainable behaviour have then been nailed to the wall over their ignorance, complacency or naiveté around what is happening in their supply chains. To be successful, all the elements of your supply chain sustainability program need to integrate seamlessly. For example; your policy, code of conduct, audit tools and audit approach all need to be consistent and complete before you can confidently roll out the program across your chosen suppliers.
Think Sustainability has expertise and experience in developing and delivering sustainable supplier policies and codes of conduct, as well as supplier sustainability audit programs. Previous clients include Westpac and Macquarie Bank. Paul also regularly runs courses on sustainable procurement on behalf of ISCA.
Sustainable business practices and culture
Many business leaders state that sustainability is becoming a more strategic and integral part of doing business in Australia. There is a trend that more and more companies are seeking to align sustainability with their overall business goals, strategy, mission, or values - with more CEOs saying that sustainability is their “number one priority”. I honestly believe that those in leadership who profess the “sustainability is fully integrated in our business” sentiment are genuinely wanting to believe that sustainability, like safety, is embedded across the culture of their project or organisation. They can point to strategies and policies that seek to crystallize their sustainability objectives and targets, but somewhere between the boardroom and the front room the delivery falls short. Business leader surveys, such as those done by McKinsey, support this reality, with respondents clearly indicating the challenges they face in executing sustainability from the top down, particularly in the face of “competing” pressures of financial returns, turn-around times, plus a lack of performance incentives and internal accountability on achieving sustainability targets.
Think Sustainability has expertise and experience in evaluating and unpicking corporate culture to understand where the barriers and opportunities are in relation to getting everyone on the same page. Paul also runs courses on enhancing sustainability culture.
Infrastructure sustainability and IS ratings
The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) is the peak body in Australia and New Zealand for enabling sustainability outcomes in the planning, design, construction and operation of infrastructure. Paul worked at ISCA for almost 2 years as its Head of Market Capability and developed new strategies and tools (including virtual training and podcasts) to improve industry knowledge and capability in delivering sustainable infrastructure and in supporting professional development of sustainability practitioners. This includes new ways of delivering information and skills into the sustainability and engineering professions both for practitioners already in the field as well as those still in tertiary education. Paul also led ISCA's advocacy activities to promote sustainable practices and outcomes for the infrastructure sector, mapping a pathway to net zero carbon emissions, the social and economic returns of sustainability ratings, and managing the risks of modern slavery in infrastructure supply chains.
Prior to joining ISCA, Paul led the sustainability team at Northwest Rapid Transit for 3 years, the principal contractor for the Sydney Metro North West (SMNW) rail link. Paul’s key accountability was to ensure the project delivered on over 500 sustainability requirements during design, construction and operation for its scheduled completion in 2019. This includes evaluating climate change risk evaluations and adaptions, life cycle analysis, energy consumption modelling, supply chain assessments, and sustainable workforce development outcomes. Paul achieved a ‘Leading’ ISCA score for the project, exceeding contractual requirement of 'Excellent'. He also achieved a ‘Platinum’ Sustainable Design Guideline score for project, exceeding contract requirement. In addition Paul successfully delivered a 4 Star Greenstar rating for the project, achieving contractual requirement.
Think Sustainability has expertise and experience in working in projects, including complex multi-partner joint ventures, as well as climate change risk assessment and adaptation, sustainable supply chain management, sustainability strategy development, ISCA, Greenstar and SDG benchmarking, Life cycle assessment, workforce procurement, community engagement and team development, leadership and performance management.
Sustainability communications, GRI reporting and Assurance
Paul has 25 years’ experience in corporate communications and reporting, undertaken 40+ assurance engagements, written award-winning sustainability reports, and contributed to sustainability and integrated reporting standards. Paul has worked for a range of industry bodies in relation to corporate reporting and stakeholder communications including the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA), the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and the George Institute for Global Health. Paul is a former GRI-certified trainer in sustainability reporting, and is an Lead Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner (LCSAP) in assuring sustainability reports. Paul also participated in the Management Disclosures Group during the revision of the GRI Guidelines. Paul was also part of the Technical Collaboration Group for the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).
Paul has delivered the following projects in relation to Sustainability communications, GRI reporting and Assurance:
Select Mutual Banking Sustainability Report Development 2015
Sydney Airport sustainability reporting 2015
Charter Hall sustainability reporting 2015
Fuji Xerox Australia report materiality process 2012 – 2014
Newcrest sustainability report development 2011 - 2013
Think Sustainability has expertise and experience in developing and delivering stakeholder communications and organisational reporting on your sustainability performance, as well as delivering training in sustainability reporting and providing report assurance against AA1000. Paul also regularly writes and blogs on sustainability reporting, integrated reporting and report assurance issues.
Sustainability risk management
Paul has worked in sustainability strategy and risk management for 11 years, both as a consultant and also in infrastructure. Paul is a keen advocate for materiality as an essential part of business risk management. Materiality has a key role to play in equipping businesses to anticipate and cope with a changing world, including the recent global derailment caused by COVID-19. It can help them to better recognise opportunities, to achieve or enhance competitive advantage, to better embed resilience within their business model, and to build capabilities and reputation around inclusiveness, responsiveness and accountability.
Materiality has already delivered much to businesses in terms of identifying key issues for their reporting. It provides their stakeholders with greater confidence that critical issues are being addressed and that the key performance indicators in your report are those most relevant to your business. Yet the real power of materiality is its adaptability. It is this capability that leads on to what I believe has the greatest potential in terms of its application in business improvement. Materiality shares a lot of common ground with strategic planning, risk management and BCP, but they are not one and the same. Materiality is as much focused on identifying opportunities as it is on uncovering risk. Materiality also has the added benefit of applying an external lens on the business through its emphasis on stakeholder inclusivity, something not typically core to internal planning or risk evaluation processes.
Think Sustainability can help your organisation with positioning materiality as part of the input process into strategy development, business decision-making, and risk management. Through materiality, we can help your business to identify opportunities that deliver longer term value to the business, to better uncover and manage key business risks, to focus limited business resources on what matters most, and to better measure performance by zeroing in on the critical indicators.
Climate change strategy & risk assessment
Climate change is the single greatest threat to human prosperity in the coming decades. As a scientist, Paul is keenly aware of the evidence and research that dispels any myths that climate change is a popular cause but lacks credibility. Our generation and that of our children and grandchildren will be impacted by a climate that is more unpredictable and unfriendly than any facing us since the ice ages. We are already experiencing the early impacts and these have been seen by investors, insurers and the more enlightened governments as a harbinger of the future. Industry and government can together do two critical things at the moment: 1) reduce the impact of climate change through responsible practices and new technology; 2) Predict and commence adapting to the changes that climate change will inflict upon business and society.
For 13 years Paul has been involved in climate change risk assessment and strategy. Paul worked on climate change risk assessment and mitigation for Sydney Ports and for Sydney Metro Northwest. Paul also developed the climate change position for the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA). Paul was ISCA’s managing partner on the Reshaping Infrastructure: Net Zero Emission Project undertaken by ISCA in collaboration with ASBEC and ClimateWorks Australia from 2018 to 2020.
Think Sustainability can help your organisation with identifying, assessing and responding to climate change risks in relation to your business strategy, business decision-making, and risk management.