Jenni is a Research Consultant at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, with a focus on evaluation and research to develop effective strategies for household-level, organisational and society-wide change towards sustainable futures, with a particular passion for resource use and waste.
Recent evaluation experience includes the current evaluation of a project to improve recycling in Multi-Unit Dwellings for SSROC, an evaluation of the impact of green space in the newly renovated Goods Line behind UTS, contributing to qualitative and quantitative data analysis for a combined program- and impact evaluation of the Nature Conservation Council’s Powersavers Challenge for Low income households; a major document review and synthesis for a large-scale evaluation of World Vision International’s Global Child Health Advocacy Campaign, design and analysis of a large customer survey for Ausgrid’s Smart Grid, Smart Cities $10 million trial and an evaluation of Leichhardt Council’s food waste recycling program in multi-unit dwellings including semi-quantitative interviews.
Recent social change experience includes currently designing and evaluating a waste behaviour change pilot for Waverley Council, research into the barriers and solutions to reducing food waste in Australia's food retail sector, a series of food waste education projects, targeting tertiary students, households and small businesses, and research on the affordability and accessibility of healthy food in the City of Sydney. She also contributed to the development of the Green Electricity Guide, a resource for consumers in choosing their electricity provider, UTS's Sustainability Action Plans on Waste and Energy, and the Australian Technology Network of Universities' Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update which included recommendations to reduce emisisons. Jenni has also been an expert marker for UTS' Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII), and supervised a UTS Industrial Design project, both focused on food waste.
Jenni has a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in Sociology, focusing on social regulation and policy, a Grad.Cert. of Science in Applied Statistics and is currently completing a Masters of Evaluation.
Recent media contributions
- National food waste summit, Mornings ABC Radio Melbourne, November 2017
- Packaging a solution, Corporate Waste Solutions, November 2017
- Why it’s so hard to get recycling right, Waste Management Review, September 2017
- We can’t recycle our way to ‘zero waste’, The Conversation, June 2017
- Zero Waste Future, Radio Adelaide, June 2017
- How much food do you waste? ABC Radio Nightlife, May 2017
- Recycling can be confusing, but it’s getting simpler, The Conversation, March 2017
- Five golden rules to help solve your recycling dilemmas, The Conversation, March 2017
- What a waste, MindFood, Jan 2017
- Sydney households spend on groceries, Sydney Morning Herald, Sept 2016
- Accessibility of alternative food networks, Food Politics Conference, June 2016
- Food for thought, Corporate Waste Solutions (Issue 2, p.28), June 2016
- Australia's 7.5m tonnes of food waste, The Guardian, 6 June 2016
- Re-evaluating the reduce, reuse, recycle model, 2Ser radio, 29 March 2016
- Should we all go vegetarian?" GreenMail, March 2016
- Shopping overseas is costing the environment too, finder.com, 22 January 2016
- Don’t knock ‘ugly food’ campaigns – they help fight against waste, The Conversation, 13 April 2015
- Food affordability in Sydney, Putting food on the table Conference, 13 October 2014
- Occasional abstinence from meat, ABC Radio National Bush Telegraph 'Food on Fridays', 27 January 2012
Resource use and social change
- Waste practices and reduction (individuals and organisations)
- Consumption habits, resource use and collaborative consumption
- Behavioural economics, behaviour change program design and evaluation
- Corporate social and environmental responsibility and reporting
Lewis, H., Downes, J., Verghese, K. & Young, G. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2017, Food waste opportunities within the food wholesale and retail sectors, pp. 1-99, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The aim of this research project is to provide the NSW Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA) with a better understanding of the opportunities and barriers to reduce the amount of food waste going to landfill from the wholesale, logistics and retail sector. This report presents the research findings and provides a series of recommendations as to how NSW EPA can most effectively engage with these sectors within the food supply chain to maximise performance while minimising disruption and costs.
Madden, B. & Downes, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2016, Increasing commercial food waste collection services—literature review of Australian and international initiatives, Sydney, Australia.
The NSW Organics Infrastructure Fund has various waste programs focused on waste avoidance, local government household organics collections, organics processing, and markets for processed, source-separated organics. One of the program, Bin Trim, supports small to medium sized enterprises to monitor, reduce and manage waste including organic food waste.
However there is currently a lack of collection services for source separated, commercial food waste. The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is investigating options for incentivising commercial food-only collection services. To complement separate research on the barriers to the establishment and expansion of commercial food waste collections in NSW, the EPA commissioned ISF to undertake a literature review of Australian and international initiatives that have sought to provide incentives to increase commercial food waste collection services. The review identified a number of government funded initiatives in other states, particularly SA, as well as examples by the UK Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). A review of the United States, and academic literature did not yield relevant examples. In these contexts the focus remains on household food waste collection.
Downes, J. & Berry, F. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2016, Food Waste at Festivals & Markets: Yamba 'Surfing the Coldstream' Festival Trial, pp. 1-36, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The Love Food Hate Waste: Food Festivals and Farmers' Markets project aims to reduce the amount of avoidable food waste currently being discarded at festivals and markets in NSW. The project set out to achieve this by first engaging organisers and stallholders of farmers markets to understand the opportunities and challenges to reducing avoidable food waste and producing a suite of education resources. These resources were then piloted at Pyrmont Festival, revised and trialled again at the Yamba 'Surfing the Coldstream' Festival. The Yamba Festival Trial documented in this report follows an earlier Pyrmont Festival pilot and background research at Farmers Markets. Results of the background research and pilot are available as separate reports.
Rutovitz, J., Atherton, A., McIntosh, L., Langham, E. & Downes, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2016, Local Electricity Trading: Issues for Retailers, pp. 1-26, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Riedy, C.J., Jackson, M., Berry, F., Downes, J., Harris, B., Matyus Flynn, S., Saintilan, C. & Levine, D. Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney 2015, GreenPower Program Review: Final Report, Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Winterford, K., Downes, J. & Chong, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney 2015, World Vision's Global Advocacy Campaign Child Health Now: A review of the campaign model and contribution to World Vision advocacy capacity. Phase 1 Evaluation Report., pp. 1-64, Sydney.
The Green Electricity Guide helps to inform Australians about which electricity retailers are really as 'green' as they say they are. It is the only independent analysis and ranking of the environmental performance of all electricity retailers around Australia. It is an important source of information for consumers keen to support retailers who align with their values.
In 2014 the first edition of the online Guide was produced by TEC and Greenpeace, using earlier ISF research as one of main the inputs to the ranking criteria. The Guide ranked 20 retailers against 7 criteria and has been visited by over 100,000 people.
In 2015, ISF was contracted to update the Guide's methodology and rankings. The cost of the work was partly funded by an Advocacy grant from Energy Consumers Australia. In addition, ISF, TEC and Choice all contributed in-kind support to the project. ISF reviewed the 2014 Guide criteria and rankings, and then conducted background research to identify additional criteria and sub-criteria to expand the 2015 Guide to more comprehensively assess the 'green' credentials of Australia's electricity retailers.
ISF developed a survey for retailers to capture the required information for the rankings. Information provided by retailers was then supplemented by and verified against desktop research of company websites, company reports and public reports conducted in September 2015. Each retailer's data was assessed and scored, to determine a final score and ranking for 2015. The rankings are available online at www.greenelectricityguide.com.au
Herriman, J., Mikhailovich, N., Wynne, L.E., Downes, J. & Boyle, T.M. 2014, Leichhardt Council Community Engagement and Participation Plan: Food recycling in multi-unit dwellings, Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Langham, E., Downes, J., Brennan, T., Fyfe, J., Mohr, S.H., Rickwood, P. & White, S. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2014, Smart Grid, Smart City, Customer Research Report, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Prepared by the UTS: Institute for Sustainable Futures as part of the AEFI consortium for Ausgrid and EnergyAustralia
Dunstan, C., Downes, J. & Sharpe, S.A. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Restoring Power: Cutting bills & carbon emissions with Demand Management, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Dunstan, C., Sharpe, S.A. & Downes, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Investing in Savings: Finance and cooperative approaches to electricity demand management - A scoping study for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, pp. 1-124, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Herriman, E., Razian, H., Moore, D.D., Ross, K., Downes, J. & Paddon, M. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Research into the Economic, Social and Environmental Implications of Population Growth in Australian Cities: Case Study - Logan, QLD, pp. 1-75, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Ison, N., Ross, K., Cooper, C., Brennan, T., Langham, E., Wynne, L., Riedy, C. & Downes, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Our energy future: Renewable energy master plan, pp. 1-133, Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Langham, E., Ison, N., Brennan, T., Downes, J., Boronyak, L.J. & White, S. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Smart Grid, Smart City: Analysis and Reporting. Stakeholder Engagement Report, Sydney, Australia.
Downes, J., Berry, F. & Rutovitz, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Electricity retailer disclosure study: Briefing notes for the Total Environment Centre, pp. 1-26, Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Downes, J. Catalyst Australia 2012, What gives? How companies invest in communities, pp. 1-73, Sydney, Australia.
Downes, J. & Herriman, J. 2015, 'Don't knock 'ugly food' campaigns – they help the fight against waste'.