RET designs – Abbotititis or Rudasinus.

Do you have Abbotititis or Rudasinus. Bored with the election being in your face yet not meaning a thing.  Then there is ‘real’ again – It just means it will be reviewed and in the mean time your asset is at risk of being stranded because of the ‘Election’. You are told any decisions will need to be taken with a view of caretaker convention and then we will wait until the ‘dust settles’ and the view of the incoming Government is known.  Can you understand the frustration? Promises are being made yet we are told they are real until after the election!

Now lets look at the promised policy positions:

The Coalition talks of ‘real’ abatement in terms of energy efficiency. The flagstone is the Direct Action Plan. This plan will or may impact your business. We say this because the White Paper consultative process that the Coalition will initiate will only be known should they win office. Yes the ‘real’ is it will be a consultative process expressed as the opportunity for your business to provide input into the design of this ‘potential’ new policy framework. In more simple terms it means the details are not yet developed. However, the Renewable Energy Target (RET) has a commitment from the Coalition to retain a 5% to 25% reduction of emissions by 2020 compared with 2000 levels, but will review this commitment in 2015 (then other statements say 2014). That said they intend to wind back many of the provisions of the Clean Energy Future Plan including abolishing the carbon price and disbanding the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Climate Change Authority, the Climate Commission and the Energy Security Fund. Then we should note the Coalition intends to expand the existing Emissions Reduction Fund to introduce a buyback, and also plans to expand the Carbon Farming Initiative to achieve emissions reductions in the absence of an explicit carbon price – but the reductions must be ‘real’ against baselines ‘to be advised’.

It is most likely the Coalition’s plans to meet emissions commitments will be more disruptive to electricity supply industries and their downstream industries than labor’s.

Labor (why is it called Labor?) – Reported is among other things, this name makes it easier to distinguish references to the Party from the labour movement in general. Source(s):…

Maybe that is ‘unreal’!


Labor has two major policies for abatement changes. Continuing of the Clean Energy Future Plan, and the review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET).  The current RET compels large energy users to invest in renewable energy. This is to the benefit of industries such as wind and, up to an including hydro-electricity. The RET purpose is to introduce more capacity into electricity markets and push down wholesale electricity prices. Therefore the RET is challenging for fossil fuel electricity generators, and the changes will affect them directly and the upstream industries, including oil and gas extraction, brown coal mining and black coal mining, indirectly.


That said, Labor is committed to a 5% to 25% reduction of emissions by 2020 compared with 2000 levels, and an 80% reduction on 2000 levels by 2050. Labor has also taken the position and made an announcement of an early transition from the carbon tax to an emissions trading scheme in July 2014, bringing it forward from the previous announcement of 2015. Under the scheme the carbon dioxide equivalent would have a floating price linked to the prices of the EU’s emissions trading scheme. Under this policy, the price per tonne for carbon dioxide is likely to be discounted. The impact uncertainty is what will be the effect on the industry assistance packages included within the Clean Energy Future Plan.

Co2Land org said Labor supports the current 20% RET. This still holds true, as the responsible Department (name too long to mention) and advised work on the review of RET is suspended until further notice, and Labor has made a commitment to not review the target until 2016.

Labor’s changes to the Clean Energy Future Plan will create new winners and losers across energy-intensive industries. Labor’s changes maintain a pricing mechanism as a strategy to reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.


Co2Land org has noted IBISWorld’s August 2013 Report has a more detailed outline of the positions taken by the Labor and Coalition parties on major issues impacting Australian industry including workplace reform, energy, resources, broadband network, transport infrastructure, manufacturing and education. They write:

“The 2013 Federal Government election will be dominated by concerns about the economy. The end of the mining investment boom and the continued decline of the manufacturing sector have set a pessimistic tone among Australian businesses.

The Labor Government has taken a ‘glass half full’ approach, pointing out Australia’s strong economic position relative to other advanced economies and successful economic guidance during the global financial crisis.

In contrast, the Coalition points out a widening Federal Budget deficit, a declining economic growth rate, low business confidence and a weak economic performance relative to neighbouring countries.

The winner of the election will have to balance the government’s role to provide fiscal stimulus and counter-cyclical spending with budget responsibility and a plan to reduce government debt.

The Productivity Commission has estimated that there are $12 billion worth of cost-cutting and efficiency savings available to the Federal Government.

The Coalition has backed away from providing a date for a return to surplus, but asserts it will be sooner than a Labor surplus.

Labor forecasts a return to budget surplus in 2016-17, driven by savings made during 2015-16 and 2016-17 when the economy is expected to be in a healthier state than it is presently.”


Wait a minute, recently the coalition did say they aim to save $31B – now we are confused – will the ‘real’ number please stand?

Please note: No Green was hurt in this discussion.


Product design, standards and innovation

Product design is something that is no longer ‘just a good idea’. Creating a sustainable product is also an important trigger for your product design.  But then it gets boring – you start to take stock of the standards and think – we are trapped!

The backdrop is the lower slopes of Mount Kosciuszko (arguably the highest mountain in Australia), and it is winter. Looking into a log fire and being thankful we were warm and safe it was discussed that a better design and innovation are difficult to commercialise. The desire, the plans and even the Research and Development phase is proven. The issue at hand is the ‘bankable’, the intellectual protection and the confidence needed for the buyer of the new product. The buyer quickly becomes the focus. Then you divide it into whether the domestic market is different to the international market, and that leads to what standards might affect your design.

This means you either consider the process of manufacture as a pure design or as a managed procedure or both. Examples being:

The ISO 9000 series – It has a purpose of being a quality management system and China is issued the greater number of certificate holders in the world. Then comes the reasons for not adopting this standard and this would include the risks and uncertainty of not knowing if there are direct relationships to improved quality, and what kind and how many resources will be needed. Then there is how much certification will cost, the increased bureaucratic processes and risk of poor company image if the certification process fails.

The ISO 14000 and ISO 9000 series is similar in that both are concerned with the process of how a product is produced. However, it is worth noting neither is concerned with the product itself.

Importantly for this ‘fire side’ discussion ISO 14000 standards main aim is to assist companies in continually improving their environmental performance, whilst complying with any applicable legislation.

What is the better way to go? Why do it at all when you want to establish your reputation on product performance? Simple answer if you want to sell it on mass and to certain markets it is important that you focus on at least one standard. The decision required is whether to do it as a quality of process management or as a management focus on environmental performance and applicable evolving legal compliance and reporting duties.

If you have followed carbon management and the principles you will have understood the trends and the effects of the product needs to promote through Life cycle Assessment, the product footprinting, and governance requirements. In Europe in particular PAS 2050 cannot be ignored. If that is where you market is heading you might be even more interested to know ISO/TS 14067 is the story of today.

Product footprinting is standard ISO/TS14067 (ISO = International Organization for Standardization, TS = Technical Specification. The full name of the standard is: ISO/TS 14067 – Greenhouse gases – Carbon footprint of products – Requirements and guidelines for quantification and communication.

The genus: Built on ISO14040 and 14044. And originally they were known as LCA standards. LCA originated around 1997 and replaced around 2006. Academically and professionally, these are very well understood and in use.

The fit: It uses the existing terminology, concepts and ideas from 14044 and builds from this and what you learnt before will be understood today. It is comparable to the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol and PAS 2050 and is related to many industry and government agency specific guidelines.

What is different:

Expanding from the original LCA to ISO/TS 14067 brings in the requirements for providing, quoted is

 “principles, requirements and guidelines for the quantification and communication of the carbon footprint of products (CFPs).” Four types of communication are identified:

  • CFP external communication report
  • CFP performance tracking report
  • CFP label
  • CFP declaration


Of particular interest is that a performance tracking report …allows for the comparison of CFP results of one specific product of the same organization over time with respect to its original or previous CFP”.

The consensus: PAS 2050 was declared, ISO/TS14067 was built with international consensus representing about 50 countries through 12 working group meetings.

The importance of data:

A lot of data has already been collected for comparing product and categories are created that align with most products ‘norm’ for carbon footprinting. In short you can research if you don’t have enough data to start and the specification defines that the “best quality data available” should be used. Where site-specific data cannot be practicably collected, verified process data should be used. How good is that? A bit different to the ‘you shall’ or the sky falls in sort of thinking.


To conclude and quote Supply Chain: We should look at the standard as “

  • Something old = Built on the accepted ISO 14044 standard
  • Something new = Extends the scope of requirements for the communication of LCAs – which may be the next logical step for your current LCA work
  • Something borrowed = Utilises existing Product Category Rules concept that you may already be complying with
  • Something blue = Utilises process data that you may already have”.


In context to the original opening ‘discussion’ yes it makes sense that if you want to future proof you product or you want to move to markets where adopting EU stewardship rules, you have to consider it part of your plan to participate.  Just maybe that way you could break the ‘Business as Usual’ cycle and or hindrance to innovation.