NSW's emissions reduction targets are progressive and achievable

Veolia Australia and New Zealand

Wednesday, 06 October, 2021

NSW's emissions reduction targets are progressive and achievable

Veolia says NSW Government’s emissions reduction targets are progressive and achievable with the support of stronger environmental policy.

NSW was one of the first jurisdictions to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 and is now on track to halve its emissions by 2030, with a new target to slash the state’s emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 (previously set at 35%).

The state’s Net Zero Plan: Stage 1 Implementation Update sets out the NSW Government’s action on climate change, including its EV strategy, Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, the $750 million Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program, and the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy.

Veolia has set out a road map to ecological transformation and says it fully endorses the NSW Government’s announcement to halve carbon emissions by 2030, calling the move necessary, progressive and achievable, if the right policy drivers and system changes are put in place to underpin the ambition.

Richard Kirkman, CEO of Veolia Australia and New Zealand, said: “We have the required water, waste and energy technology, and know the answers to industrial problems that are needed to protect the environment, preserve our way of life and also present a business opportunity to Australia’s success. Veolia is ready to help industry meet its decarbonisation goals, prevent climate change and bring about a sustainable future, and business will back the policy drivers that support it.”

Veolia says that there is an opportunity for the government to ensure the delivery of its target, by using policy to encourage greater recycling, renewable loops of energy and to secure water supply, including:

  • Product Stewardship that includes the full cost of products (including their disposal) at the time of purchase — a system of consumer responsibility called Pay As You Buy, which would bring about product eco-design, recycled content, higher recyclability and better prevention and reuse.
  • Standardising recycling streams — making recycling easy for everyone.
  • Delivery of the FOGO — food and organics vision — to capture organics for use as fuels and fertilisers material.
  • Incentivising renewable energy generation — to encourage more local loops of energy production, storage and optimisation.
  • Normalising recycled water innovations — to secure water supply and preserve resources by implementing a circular water economy.

Kirkman added that the announcement is reassuring: “The NSW Government has once again set the gold standard, with a progressive stance on climate change that puts the future of our children and the planet at the forefront. It recognises the fact that we cannot wait any longer to act on climate change, and I believe the targets that have been set are achievable, but only alongside environmental policies that incentivise businesses to respond.

“Australia is at the edge of an opportunity to prevent climate change, take up the economic benefits of going green and build sustainable jobs for the future, but without policy we are limiting ourselves. If we make it easier for people to focus on ecological transformation, by encouraging more recycling, incentivising renewable energy and normalising recycled water solutions, we prevent Australia’s reliance on fossil fuels, drastically reduce emissions and halt biodiversity collapse — the outcomes we all want.”

Since joining the Veolia Group in 1994 as an environmental engineer, Richard Kirkman has held a number of senior commercial, operational and technical positions in Europe and the UK & Ireland. Joining Veolia Australia and New Zealand in 2020 as CEO and Managing Director, Kirkman is now focused on delivering ecological transformation through Veolia’s ANZ water, waste and energy activities. He is a passionate advocate for preserving and replenishing resources and is pivoting the organisation to be a trusted partner for complex infrastructure, while influencing policy as an authoritative voice on the challenges surrounding the environmental sector. He believes that delivering a sustainable future is about people, customers and teams working together. Kirkman is on the Board of NWRIC and is a member of the ANZPAC Plastics Pact Collective Action Group.

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