Funded by: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility
This project investigates the mineral industry’s existing knowledge, skills and capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The industry is already facing a number of challenges associated with climate change, and the research project will help identify and fill gaps in the knowledge and skills of mining professionals in the area of future risk assessment and adaptation measures. A leading practice guideline has been developed in consultation with mining and mineral processing professionals to assist them in assessing risk from climate change, as well as planning, implementing and monitoring climate change adaptation measures.
Food waste data assessment
Client: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Institute researchers collated and reviewed an extensive body of food waste studies for the Federal Environment Department. The carbon footprint of food waste, through the generation of methane and carbon dioxide, has brought this issue into the spotlight. There are also concerns about the ongoing viability of existing systems in place to deal with food waste, and new interest in how this waste can be redirected into the agricultural industry. The Institute comprehensively examined over 1200 studies, ranging from regional waste management reports to national studies. This provided a clear picture of what figures are available on this issue, highlighting that data on food waste generation and the fate of that waste is fragmented and scarce. The majority of the studies focus on 'post-consumer' food waste as this is measurable by government authorities and waste management contractors. 'Pre-consumer' food waste data was collected by food charities and a major supermarket group. Gaps in the research located include differences in data collection on geographical regions, and there is much variability in the methodology used. Key priority actions were recommended in the lead up to a national approach to managing and recovering food waste being implemented. Download/view National Food Waste Assessment - Final Report.
GeRS-DeMo - or Geologic Resource Supply-Demand Model
This model estimates the demand, production (from mines or fields) and recycling of any geologic resource. Specifically, it can be used to predict the historic and future production, amount of recycling and demand of a metal, fossil fuel, or mineral. Dr Steve Mohr, currently a Research Consultant at ISF, developed this model during his PhD research. He has used it successfully to model coal (black and brown), oil (conventional, shale, natural bitumen/tar sand and extra heavy oil), gas (conventional, tight, coalbed methane, shale) phosphorus, lithium, gold, nickel, copper resources. The model has been successfully used on world, country and regional levels. The Institute for Sustainable Futures funded the development of the model into a format that could be used by all people and organisations. The model currently only works on Windows 32 bit, and excel 2007/2010. It does not work on excel 2003 or other operating systems. If there is sufficient demand for the model to work in different platforms or older versions of excel, then resources will be spent fixing the macro accordingly. There is a illustrative step by step guide on how to install GeRS-DeMo, and Input.xlsm contains information on the model, and the inputs required as well as a blank input file ready for your use. Also included are five examples of input files that are ready to run at the click of a button.
This initiative was formed by the Institute and the Department of Water and Environmental Studies at Linkoping University, Sweden, to facilitate quality interdisciplinary research on global phosphorus security for future food security. A further initiative arising is the Global Phosphorous Network, fostering public debate on sustainable phosphorous use for global food security.
Industrial Transition - Swanbank Landuse Master Plan
Client: Thiess Services and Zerofootprint Australia
The ‘Industrial Transition’ project sought to develop a business case to support and build on the Swanbank Landuse Concept Master Plan. The site includes mixed landuse where residential, industry and an old and new landfill sites will all be in close proximity. The project involved futures forecasting and innovative thinking around potential options and opportunities for environmental, financial and social benefits presented by the site; including thermal energy from co-gen, generation of low emissions energy for use by nearby industry, as well as industrial ecology, possible employment gains and other asset mapping. The aim of the project was to document what’s possible and help others have the vision for the value that could be created on the site.
Mineral Futures Collaboration Cluster
The Institute led the Commodity Futures part of this three year collaboration between CSIRO's Minerals Down Under flagship and five university research teams that explored large and complex future sustainability issues in the minerals industry across regional, national and global scales. Commodity Futures – investigated the macro-scale challenges, dynamics and drivers of change facing the Australian minerals industry through scenarios and monitoring of peak minerals. The Commodity Futures Vision 2040 was informed by multi-stakeholder processes that identified strategies for improved resource governance and a collective vision for the future of the minerals industry in Australia out to 2040. It delivered a contemporary understanding of the changing profile of risks and opportunities that are present in diverse mineral futures scenarios. ‘Peak minerals – identifying the need for strategic transition options’ explored the relevance and consequences of peak minerals for Australia.
Sustainable food can be defined as food that is produced, processed and traded in ways that: (1) contribute to thriving local economies and sustainable livelihoods; (2) protect the diversity of both plants and animals and the welfare of farmed and wild species without damaging natural resources or contributing to climate change; and (3) provide social benefits to the community such as good quality food, safe and healthy food products and educational and learning opportunities. The environmental impact of our food choices is addressed in ISF's submission to the Environmental appendix of the NHMRC’s Australian Dietary Guidelines.
WasteNot: streamline resource exchange tool
Clients: Auburn City Council and Parramatta City Council
A waste exchange tool was developed in partnership with businesses in the Duck River Catchment areas of Silverwater and Camellia and Parramatta and Auburn Councils. The Streamline WasteNot resource exchange web-based tool allows businesses to list and search for waste resources within their local area to facilitate resource recovery through exchange, reuse and recycling. Three case studies were undertaken as part of the research for this project, to determine the conditions required for a successful waste exchange and the associated benefits and costs. Institute researchers found waste exchanges and recycling activities amongst the case study subjects saved approximately 73 kL of water, 42 tCO2, and led to the diversion of up to 160 tonnes of waste from landfill. As a direct result of their resource recovery measures, the case study businesses saved nearly $50,000 between them. Through a series of stakeholder workshops an enthusiastic community of practice has developed to progress sustainability initiatives and address business needs to achieve waste reduction and exchange. This project will potentially act as a catalyst for improving resource recovery rates in neighbouring areas and beyond.
Fyfe, J., Herriman, J., Blackburn, N., Asker, S. & Giurco, D. 2009, Designing the Duck River Waste Exchange Program, [prepared for Auburn City Council and Parramatta City Council], Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney, Australia. View/Download
ISF is leading a CSIRO Cluster to identify pathways for creating wealth from waste containing metals, including e-waste. The $9m three year collaboration [2014-2016] partners with researchers at The University of Queensland, Monash, Swinburne and Yale and will officially be launched in March 2014.