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About Us > About AWA > Sustainability at AWA >
  • Sustainability is an important aspect for the water sector going forward.  With climate change and energy issues ever present, the finite availability of resources, real issues of ‘waste’, the challenge of a productive and innovative work force and the ongoing challenge of community engagement, it makes sense that the Australian Water Association takes sustainability seriously too.


    Initial work has been undertaken to engage with key stakeholders and stakeholder groups to identify a pathway forward.  One of the first initiatives, thanks to Dr Michael du Plessis of Greenice, was to undertake a carbon footprint analysis.  The results are outlined below for the financial year 2007/08.



    A carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (like methane, sulphur dioxide etc) emitted over the full life cycle of a product or service.  Greenhouse gas emissions are tracked along the full life cycle of the product or service from where raw materials are sourced (mined or grown) through to consumption and eventual disposal.


    The model used to calculate AWA’s carbon footprint was developed by the Centre of Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) at the University of Sydney and uses Input – Output analysis, a Nobel Prize winning macroeconomic theory. The model uses an organisation’s expenditure and revenue data alongside onsite energy consumption from fuel, gas etc to calculate a total carbon footprint that includes supply chain impacts.  Simply put, the ISA model works out the amount of CO2-equivalent “embodied” in the $ value of the purchases plus CO2-equivalent emissions that come from burning of fuels onsite.





    Source: Greenhouse Gas Protocol 


    The total carbon footprint (Scope 1, 2 and 3) for AWA in the 2007/08 financial year was calculated as 244 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (t CO2-e).  The largest contributor was the electricity used onsite at 92.4t CO2-e followed by the impacts from catering and food choices (mostly at events) at 78.7t CO2-e.  The next highest categories were air travel at 19t CO2-e and printing and stationary at 12.3 t CO2-e.  Together these four categories accounted for over 80% of AWA’s emissions.







    Whilst the overall carbon footprint of a small not for profit, office based, organisation like AWA is tiny compared to many of our members, we can still show leadership and look to reduce our impact.  We are using the insights gained from the footprint analysis to prioritise opportunities and develop actions plans. Discussions are currently underway on our next steps.


    For further information, please contact either AWA, or Michael du Plessis, Managing Director, Greenice,






    The ISA model accounts for what is termed Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions, explained as:
    Scope 1:  Emissions generated onsite
    Scope 2:  Electricity that the business consumes (greenhouse gases generated at power station)
    Scope 3: Greenhouse gases “embodied” in the products and services purchased by the business i.e. the greenhouse gases that arise in the supply chain