At CSR, it is our firm policy to act responsibly, ensuring that our people follow appropriate procedures to minimise the company’s impact on the environment, and where possible contribute to its improvement.
CSR has an active program to reduce its impact on the environment, overseen by the board and the Safety, Health & Environment (SH&E) Committee. Each business has an environmental protection plan which commits local managers to:
- Comply with government environmental regulations
- Identify and address key environmental risks
- Improve environmental awareness of employees and contactors
- Reduce our use of resources
Each business is also required to have environmental performance measures, such as energy usage, air emissions, water consumption and waste generation and to have plans in place for continuous improvement on these measures.
CSR is committed to providing transparent and accurate reporting on our environmental impact. CSR provides environmental information on its operations in a number of ways:
- Annual reporting as part of site licensing activities
- Emissions data to the National Pollutant Inventory
- Progress reports to various state Government departments’ programs on energy and water savings
- Member of Greenhouse Challenge Plus
During YEM08 CSR:
- Completed its first comprehensive inventory of greenhouse gas emissions
- Upgraded our data monitoring and collections systems to improve our ability to report against indicators
- Committed to producing a stand-alone sustainability report referencing the GRI guidelines
- Registered with the Environment Protection Authority Victoria in the Environment and Resource Efficiency Plan Program
CSR reports environmental incidents based on five levels of breaches of compliance with regulatory and CSR requirements. These are 1 minor, 2 significant, 3 serious, 4 severe and 5 extreme/catastrophic.
There were 170 environmental incidents recorded during YEM08, 53 higher than the previous year. 168 were level 1 and level 2 incidents and two were level 3 incidents. There were no level 4 or level 5 incidents.
The increase in environmental incidents during YEM08 can be attributed to:
- Enhanced employee training and awareness of environmental policy and reporting procedures
- Improved data monitoring and collection systems
CSR encourages site employees to report all incidents, including those which are controlled on site (level 1 incidents). This allows improvements to be made to processes and procedures on site to prevent similar occurrences.
Level 3 incident
Roof tile factory, Rosehill, Sydney
In July 2006, CSR incurred a spill of a small amount of a substance used in the coating of roof tiles. At the same time a similar resin-like hydrocarbon/polymer substance was spilled into the Parramatta River. The spilled material was cleaned up and there appears to be no long term damage to the river or any marine life.
At that time, CSR believed all of its spill was contained on site, however, as a prudent measure, the company reported the spill to the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change.
Following the incident, CSR conducted an extensive review into the events surrounding the incident. Although this review could not identify the cause of the spill for certain, CSR Building Products Limited pleaded guilty in the NSW Land & Environment Court to a charge of polluting waters, recognising that the company may have been responsible for the spill.
In August 2008, CSR was ordered to pay a penalty and costs totalling more than $430,000.
As a consequence of this event, CSR has reinforced its standard operating procedures to ensure all chemicals used on site are stored and handled in accordance with those procedures. We have also reinforced training in the event of a spill for all factory floor employees. CSR is also changing the roof tile coating used at Rosehill and other sites to a water base coating.
Level 3 incident
Lucinda bulk sugar terminal, North Queensland
On the 30 September 2007, 25 sugar boxes were derailed from a locomotive travelling to the Lucinda bulk sugar terminal in North Queensland. Sixteen sugar boxes were damaged in the incident and approximately 40 tonnes of sugar were spilled in an area adjacent to a mangrove habitat.
The Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was notified immediately and attended the incident site the following morning (1 October 2007). At the site, the EPA took water samples for possible analysis, but later decided not to analyse these as they concluded there would be no effect on the local waterways.
The clean-up of the site by CSR was completed by 3 October 2007 and resulted in the removal of an estimated 100 tonnes of material including vegetation. The spilled sugar was recovered from the site.
CSR Sugar undertook an investigation into the incident. The exact cause of the incident was not determined, although a large number of possible causes were ruled out.
In response, CSR continues to review its operating procedures in relation to cane transport.