Sustainable consumption and production aims to “do more and better with less”. Our research engages with resource intensive sectors in identifying and evaluating strategies to improve environmental and social impacts along the supply chain, from resource extraction to end-of-life. We have done this through sustainability evaluations, policy and regulatory analysis, stakeholder engagement and the development of strategies, tools and frameworks.
ISF undertook an evaluation of the key environmental and social impacts along the supply chain (from mining to end-of-life) of energy storage technologies, including battery technologies, hydrogen, pumped hydro and concentrated solar power. This research, commissioned by the Australian Council of Learned Academies for the Office of the Chief Scientist, developed a new evaluation framework and proposed priority strategies to minimise the impact of these technologies in the transition to a renewable energy system.
Stewart Investors commissioned ISF to investigate and evaluate progress being made towards packaging sustainability in emerging market consumer companies, focusing on materials efficiency, the source of raw materials, and reuse or recycling of packaging. Following this, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) commissioned ISF to develop a rigorous and transparent packaging sustainability framework that has been implemented as an online self-assessment tool for companies.
Environmental impact of the garment industry
To understand how environmental impacts and decent work conditions interact in the garment sector in Asia, ISF undertook a supply chain review of energy, water, hazardous substances and waste for the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The review also analysed enabling conditions provided through regulatory frameworks, and multi-stakeholder and corporate social responsibility initiatives.
The sharing economy, made up of technology enabled business that allow the sharing of assets, finance or skills, is emerging in developing countries. There are many new example businesses within transport, agriculture and work sectors, and these could have both positive and negative impacts for development and sustainability. The potential positive benefits could include attracting investment and employment, enabling entrepreneurship, assisting with regulation and formalisation and creating environmental benefits through reduced resource use and waste.
However, there is a risk that sharing economy businesses won’t achieve these outcomes, and could lead increasing inequality for those who are not able to participate (e.g. those without internet or mobile phone access), shift profits away from local people, or result in negative environmental impacts. To ensure the sharing economy supports the poor and promotes sustainability, and to mitigate potentially adverse impacts, this report outlines new policy and program interventions that may help to achieve this.
Read the full report produced for Tearfund UK here.
ISF has been working to support product stewardship for over a decade, beginning with an independent review of Container Deposit Legislation for the NSW Government. Recently, we collaborated with the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative to investigate new systems for the collection and recycling of button cell batteries, which are a safety hazard for children. We are currently working with state and territory governments to investigate stewardship models for PV and energy storage systems, including an international review of best practice and engaging key industry stakeholders to inform policy development.