Sustainability is a priority within our Mission-driven science, and it is also a priority in the way that we look after people, our collaborations, business activities and the environment.
CSIRO has more than 5,000 employees working across 55 sites in Australia and overseas. We have one of the largest property portfolios within Commonwealth Government agencies and this includes management of national sites and infrastructure like the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, major radio telescope facilities, National Research Collections and the Marine National Facility.
We constantly challenge ourselves to improve our environmental, social and economic performance in ways that are meaningful and important to our stakeholders.
Our Sustainability Strategy 2020-2030 identifies six key areas of focus for advancing CSIRO’s sustainability over the next 10 years:
- Governance and transparency: Increasing transparency around sustainability performance through improved governance processes
- Excellent science: Working more closely with our scientists to apply CSIRO technical expertise to our operational challenges
- Our people: Creating a culture of sustainability and building the capacity of our workforce
- Sustainable property portfolio: Ensuring a sustainable property portfolio that stimulates excellent science and supports staff health and wellbeing
- Transition to a clean energy future: improving energy management and efficiency on the path to net zero emissions (NZE)
- Responsible value chain: managing the environmental and social impacts of our purchases and embedding circular economy principles and responsible resource use
These focus areas are underpinned by ambitious targets and initiatives which will help us contribute meaningfully to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement, Commonwealth Procurement Rules, and the National Waste Action Plan. Our path to Net Zero Emissions is in line with Australia’s Technology Investment Roadmap.
Building on our progress
Our new strategy is building upon achievements across a wide range of focus areas in recent years. For example, to reduce our overall energy use and emissions while advancing clean energy outcomes we have:
- installed 13,000 solar panels across 10 sites, with a combined PV capacity of over 5 megawatts (MW)
- effectively halved our electricity related emissions from 2021 through the commencement of a new a 10-year power purchase agreement to supply renewable energy to our facilities in NSW, ACT, and VIC
- introduced electric and hybrid vehicles to our fleet.
We have been tackling single-use plastic waste through audits and education, Plastic-Free July campaign and agreements and guidelines for on-site cafés, events and product suppliers. Our plans build upon progress and commitments to a diverse and inclusive workplace, the implementation of our Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), and Champions of Change Action Plan. Among other achievements, in 2020 we earned Gold Employer status through the Australian Workplace Equality Index.