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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
22 October 2002
An Agreement signed today by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and the Executive Director of the Australian Paper Industry Council (APIC) Ms Belinda Robinson is set to improve the environmental performance of the paper and pulp industry.
This Eco-Efficiency Agreement with the $3.5 billion Australian paper industry commits APIC to a number of activities that include developing eco-efficiency indicators, conducting a study of the greenhouse 'footprint' of the industry and publishing its first environmental report.
"In signing this Eco-Efficiency Agreement, APIC members are committing themselves to achieving further environmental improvements in their industry, by continuing to improve on energy and water efficiency and on further reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Dr Kemp.
The paper industry, which directly employs over 8,000 people across Australia, has already lifted its environmental performance. Since 1995, it has cut water use by 34.8 per cent and energy use by 37.3 per cent per tonne of production.
Partly this has been a result of technological innovations such as those used by tissue producer Carter Holt Harvey, which installed a new system to operate with water recycled from earlier papermaking processes, thus enabling reductions in fresh water consumption and in the corresponding discharge of effluent.
Another company, Norske-Skog Australasia, achieved significant energy savings by substituting new fibre with recycled fibre in their processes. Producing pulp suitable for newsprint is very energy intensive - however, incorporating recycled fibre uses only one fifth the amount of energy.
APIC's six member companies -Visy Industries, Carter Holt Harvey, AMCOR Australasia, Kimberly-Clark Australia, Norske Skog Australasia and PaperlinX - have been involved in Commonwealth environment initiatives in recent years, including the Greenhouse Challenge, the National Packaging Covenant, and the Energy Efficiency and Best Practice Program.
"Eco-Efficiency helps businesses develop more efficient, sustainable business practices. This means increasing the profitability of businesses by producing more goods and services with less energy and fewer natural resources, and at the same time producing less waste and pollution. APIC's activities under this agreement will enable the accurate measurement and reporting of their environmental performance," said Dr Kemp.
"By committing to this Eco-Efficiency Agreement, APIC is taking a strategic, active approach to developing environmental improvement in the paper industry. The Commonwealth will provide $71,500 during this first year, while APIC will make a contribution of approximately $180,000 over the three years of the agreement," said Dr Kemp.
The APIC Agreement is the 25th Eco-Efficiency Agreement approved by the Howard Government.
For further information on Eco-Efficiency Agreements, please visit the Environment Australia web site at: www.ea.gov.au/industry/eecp/agreements/index.html
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
An Eco-Efficiency Agreement is a three-year, voluntary agreement between the Commonwealth and a peak or sectoral industry association.
Through the Agreement, an association and the Commonwealth agree to work together to promote Eco-Efficiency to the association's members.
Under the Agreement, an association undertakes to publicly commit to Eco-Efficiency, and develop an Action Plan for Eco-Efficiency for three years. The Action Plan may contain a range of elements, including:
Other Eco-Efficiency activities can be pursued through the Agreement. Examples of activities are: trialing or developing eco-efficiency tools such as Environment Management Systems, or Environmental Accounting, developing guidelines on environmental management for member companies, holding environmental awards, or the development of an Eco-Efficiency manual for members.
Funding support for activities in the association's Action Plan may also be provided and will be the subject of a separate Commonwealth contract. Precise contents of Agreements are flexible, and will be agreed between the Commonwealth and the association.
As a result of participating in the Eco-efficiency Agreements Program, these associations have made the following achievements:
New South Wales Seafood Industry Council (NSWSIC) is in the final stages of developing their Fish Waste Utilisation Project. This involves the fish waste (guts and skeletons) generated by the Sydney Fish Markets being returned to the Markets by retailers and converted into organic fertilizer. There is no certified organic fertilizer currently available in Australia so this product, created from a waste stream, is in high demand. This excellent example of eco-efficiency was developed in collaboration with the NSW EPA by the Eco-efficiency Officer employed at the Sydney Fish Markets under the NSWSIC Eco-efficiency Agreement.
The Kwinana Economic Impact Study identified opportunities for companies within Western Australia's Kwinana Industrial Estate to share resources and reduce waste. Under their Eco-efficiency Agreement, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCIWA) provided significant input into this study, helping to identify where the waste outputs of some companies can become useful inputs for others. As this study is implemented over the next few years it is expected that significant quantities of waste will be diverted into useful product. For example, sulphur - a by-product of oil refining - can become a useful input to agricultural fertiliser.
ACT Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACTRCCI) recently conducted a series of workshops for their members titled 'Eco-business Seminars'. These seminars were the first of their kind to be held in the ACT and were well received by businesses looking for practical solutions to improve their environmental performance.
Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NTCCI) has completed two new Codes of Practice for the mango and hotel industries. Previously these industries had no environmental guidelines at all, so these Codes will help managers of small to medium enterprises to identify environmental improvements in their daily operations and reduce their impact on the environment. Mango farmers can use their Code to reduce water, integrated pest management strategies, fertilizer and pesticide use, while the hotel industry can use their Code to reduce water consumption by installing dual flush toilets and cut power consumption by installing movement sensors to control lights.
Property Council of Australia - Victorian Division has produced an Environmental Management System (EMS) for commercial buildings. This is the first time an EMS has been produced for this industry and it shows property developers, building managers and tenants of commercial buildings how to maximize environmental performance through energy, water and waste efficiencies. For example, builders can fit light and movements sensors to control lighting to reduce power use, and install dual flush toilets to reduce water consumption. Property developers can design solar passive building that will retain thermal energy more effectively, and reduce power use.
Avcare (National Association for Crop Production and Animal Health) produced a Public Environmental Report for 2001 that generated great interest in improving environmental performance within the industry and by suppliers. Avcare is using this momentum to get more members involved in the program, widening the network of businesses that stand to benefit from making environmental improvements. One current Avcare member, Nufarm Australia, has saved 470,000 containers from going to landfill over a three year period, through using recyclable and refillable containers.