Australian Chemistry Industry underpinning sustainable manufacturing
The Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association (PACIA) is the national body representing companies in the $40bn Australian chemistry industry, Australia’s second largest manufacturing sector. The sector directly employs more than 60,000 people, contributing approximately 11.5% of total Australian manufacturing.
Policy advocacy, regulatory reform and sustainability leadership are key areas of focus for PACIA. These focus areas provide the structure for delivering long term positive outcomes for the industry through services to members who range from small, family-owned companies to leading national and multinational enterprises. PACIA provides a collective voice, representing the industry on critical issues and raising awareness of the important role chemistry plays in our everyday life.
“The industry supplies inputs to 109 of the 111 industries in Australia; ranging from mining and resources, to pharmaceutical, agriculture, and food production,” says Krista Imberger, Director of Sustainability at PACIA. “There is a wide range of industries and sectors that rely on the products and technologies that are developed by the chemicals and plastics industry and therefore a vibrant future for this industry has a significant positive effect on the whole economy,” explains Krista. This means that sustainability initiatives in the Australian chemistry industry multiply benefits, creating innovation and investment in supply chains across Australia.
The Australian chemistry industry recognises the importance of excellent environmental performance and responsible management including water efficiency, efficient material use, and the minimisation of greenhouse gases. But the industry also recognises that sustainability is much broader, encompassing community and stakeholder engagement, workplace health and safety, security and product management, innovation, workforce engagement and accountability.
PACIA has developed a Sustainability Leadership Framework that provides a platform for members to integrate relevant elements into their businesses, increase productivity and create new opportunities. PACIA also develops and administers a range of programs including PACIA energy+ that provides industry-focused information and tools on energy efficiency to deliver benefits to the bottom line. PACIA energy+ covers four key energy topics relevant to businesses associated with chemicals and plastics, and provides clear information helping companies to achieve efficiency through the reduction of energy consumption and costs. “We help by informing our members of business initiatives and opportunities that will help them to position for the future and respond to changing needs or external environmental pressures, ensuring they remain successful. In turn, it helps to ensure great success down the supply chain,” says Krista. At the centre of PACIA energy+ is an online portal for forums, tools, and tailored industry information, including case study videos with demonstrations of the benefits that the companies can gain by making changes to their energy purchasing or operational processes.
Companies working on sustainability within their own operations may be limiting their outcomes if they are not engaging with their supply chain partners. Based on the belief that a company should not work in isolation, PACIA created the ‘8 Step Guide to Supply Chain Sustainability’ to assist companies in different parts of the supply chain to multiply outcomes by working collaboratively together. The 8 Step Guide ensures that companies can identify common opportunities or issues, and helps them to find ways that they can achieve or resolve them. “Fundamentally, we believe that companies who integrate sustainability as a core of their business, position themselves for the future and create business opportunities. It helps them remain successful for the future,” Krista explains.
There is no better way to demonstrate the business value of an integrated approach to sustainability than through real life examples. PACIA develops case studies together with members to showcase sustainability initiatives and outcomes that companies within the industry have achieved. This helps to strengthen the sustainability and reputation of the industry as a whole. All of PACIA’s programs reinforce the business value that members can achieve with the tools and frameworks that are available to them, and through providing members with access to key decision makers in government and regulatory agencies.
PACIA will continue to lead the industry on the path to sustainable growth, building on the work initiated in the ‘PACIA Strategic Industry Roadmap’. The Roadmap is a strategic plan that outlines how the industry can work with governments and other stakeholders to remove roadblocks so that it can take advantage of opportunities, especially in Asia and the developing world, to sustain and grow the industry. At the heart of the document is the belief that Australia will benefit from a balanced economy that adds value to its resources through a healthy manufacturing sector, in which the chemicals and plastics industry drives innovation and sustainable growth.
Krista Imberger joined PACIA in 2008 and was appointed Director of Sustainability in 2012. In her current role she is responsible for the development and delivery of national programs and services that support PACIA members to integrate sustainability, drive productivity, reduce costs and create new value. Krista brings diverse experience to the role including an engineering background, more than nine years’ experience in the areas of sustainability, strategy, communications, organisational change, as well as a long-held personal passion for sustainability in its truest sense incorporating economic and social with environmental factors. Krista has held positions with consulting firms, and assisted businesses across various sectors. Her experience includes assessments and approvals for major works, environmental compliance, and supporting organisations to achieve more sustainable outcomes.