Zero Waste by 2030: The next step in Mirvac’s sustainability mission
Waste, and the way we extract materials, imposes a significant burden on our planet. We see this as an opportunity to play our part and be a force for good, so today we’ve released a plan outlining how we intend to achieve our goal of sending zero waste to landfill by 2030.
Every year, an estimated 11.2 billion tonnes of waste is sent to landfill, globally.
In addition to this, 92 billion tonnes of materials are extracted, with buildings responsible for around 50% of global materials use. In Australia, the built environment is responsible for approximately 60% of waste, representing a staggering 41 million tonnes annually.
The environmental, social and economic impacts of this are considerable.
Our reliance on natural resources and raw materials is placing an enormous burden on our planet, and the energy used to access and process these materials is significant. It’s estimated that the carbon emissions associated with materials extraction alone contribute to almost half of global emissions. Biodiversity is being disrupted, and ecosystems, such as our oceans, are becoming increasingly contaminated through poor waste management. In addition to this, the options to reuse and recycle the products we create are often limited, and the costs associated with waste management and disposal continue to grow.
For both the planet and for our business, it’s clear that we need to rethink the way that we choose materials, how we use them, and then look for ways to extend their life.
In 2014, under our (then) newly released sustainability strategy This Changes Everything, Mirvac set an ambitious target to send zero waste to landfill by 2030.
Initially, our focus was on diverting waste, predominantly through reuse and recycling. We have made significant gains in this effort, reducing both landfill waste and its associated emissions, as well as waste management costs.
We now recognise that to have a meaningful impact, particularly in our industry, we need to consider the lifecycle of all materials and products we use from the outset.
This means moving from a linear model that focuses on the waste we’re diverting from landfill at our construction sites and operating assets, to a more circular model, which taps into the key choices we can make to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle, as well as regenerate to repair harm from materials extraction.
To us, zero waste means being mindful of the impact of materials extraction, and rethinking how we design buildings to use less materials, how we procure, how we build, and finally, how we behave with the materials in our buildings.
We are also mindful of our capacity to influence waste outcomes at Mirvac and beyond, through advocacy in our supply chain, within our sector, on environmental policy, and through innovation.
Planet Positive: Waste & Materials is our plan identifying the areas we can control and the areas we need to influence in order to achieve zero waste to landfill at Mirvac.
You can view and download it here.
The actions we take now will have lasting consequences for the planet we leave to future generations.
Targeting zero waste, in addition to our goals to be net positive in carbon and water, is not just the right thing to do – it’s vital. And while the changes we will make will take time to implement, we are committed to doing so in a way that is meaningful, transparent and commercially astute.
It is up to companies like ours to be a force for good and continue to affect positive change.
I encourage you to take a look at the plan, and as always, welcome any feedback or comments you may have as we progress in partnership to rethink and end waste.