Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, published its Sustainability Strategy 2020-2030 in December 2020. The strategy aims to improve CSIRO’s environmental, economic and social impact, and enable the organisation to be an exemplar of sustainable culture, practice and operations.
The Sustainability Report 2022 is CSIRO’s first annual progress report against the strategy and details achievements across five key themes for the 2021-22 financial year:
- Foundations for a sustainable business
- Our people
- Partnerships and engagement
- Excellent science
- Environmental and social impact
CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall said the report sets a benchmark for CSIRO’s progress on sustainability so far as well as committing to transparency and accountability going forward, as CSIRO aspires to lead by example for the nation.
“As Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO is proud to be both developing and implementing world-class solutions to the global challenge of sustainability, through both our science, and in our operations around the country,” Dr Marshall said.
“Our people are passionate adopters of sustainable practices, which is the key to our continued progress, including on waste management solutions and more sustainable procurement practices, among other initiatives.
“Looking ahead, I’m excited by the sustainability goals we’ve set ourselves. Despite our massive property footprint – including remote sites and diverse assets like our research vessel Investigator, supercomputing facilities, and one of the best-equipped PC4 biosecurity facilities in the world at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness in Geelong – we have still set ambitious targets for CSIRO to reach net zero emissions by 2030*, which will be achieved in part through harnessing world-class innovation from CSIRO and our partners.
“CSIRO’s inaugural Sustainability Report shows we have made great progress, but we have significant and exciting work ahead to realise our ambitions. Enabled by our world-class research, driven by our passionate people, and informed by our robust strategy, I look forward to CSIRO continuing to become more sustainable and inspiring Australia as we achieve our goals," he said.
In 2021 CSIRO established a steering committee to guide the strategy and achieve sustainability goals, adopting key learnings from the organisation’s science missions to tackle Australia’s greatest challenges.
Achievements highlighted in the report for 2021-2022 include:
- Reducing CSIRO’s property footprint by over 50,000 m2
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 50 percent compared to 2020-2021
- Achieving Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) Silver accreditation to May 2022 and Science and Gender Equity (SAGE) accreditation to 2026
- Publishing CSIRO’s third Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2021-23
- Driving improvements in sustainable procurement
Following this inaugural report, a Sustainability Report will be published each year to report on CSIRO’s progress, complementing the organisation’s annual report.
* CSIRO’s net zero by 2030 goal applies to Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Scope 1 = direct emissions resulting from consumption of gas and fuels on site. Scope 2 = indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity