Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
   Page tools: Print Print Page RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

Manufacturing and the environment

Introduction

The manufacturing industry consumes natural resources such as energy and water to provide goods and services to households and businesses, and for export. As a direct result of this consumption process, waste is disposed of into the atmosphere, rivers and oceans, or as landfill. All of this places pressures on the environment. Increasingly, such pressures result in governments creating policies which influence the behaviour of manufacturers. Manufacturers react to these regulatory and social pressures through environmental plans and expenditure on environment protection.

Use of natural resources: energy and water

Both primary and secondary energy sources are consumed by the manufacturing industry. Primary energy sources can be renewable or non-renewable. Renewable energy sources include solar, wind, wood and bagasse. Non-renewable sources include raw materials (such as coal, oil and gas) and uranium concentrates.

Secondary energy sources are those derived from a primary energy source such as thermal electricity. Thermal electricity is derived mainly from coal and refined petroleum products (e.g. automotive petrol) which in turn is derived from crude oil. Renewable energy currently accounts for a small proportion of these secondary sources, the principal type being hydro-electricity.

In 1997-98, energy use by the manufacturing industry was 2,489 PJ of primary energy and 521 PJ of secondary energy (table 19.1). This accounted for 19% of total primary energy use and 21% of total secondary energy use in Australia. Renewable energy contributed 160 PJ or 6% of primary and 4% of secondary sources. Of the primary energy used, manufacturing produced 1,696 PJ or 68% of secondary energy supply.

Over the period 1992-93 to 1997-98, primary energy use by manufacturing increased by 11% and secondary energy by 9%. For the same period, all users increased their use of primary energy by 36% and their use of secondary energy by 13%.


19.1 ENERGY USE

Manufacturing
All users(a)


Primary energy
Secondary energy
Primary energy
Secondary energy
PJ
PJ
PJ
PJ

1992-93
2,244
478
9,727
2,203
1993-94
2,303
494
9,865
2,253
1994-95
2,367
513
10,410
2,319
1995-96
2,414
514
11,787
2,387
1996-97
2,464
502
12,676
2,435
1997-98
2,489
521
13,250
2,489

(a) Industries, household and exports.

Source: ABS 2001.


The manufacturing industry was the sixth highest water user in Australia, consuming 1% of water extracted (727 GL) in 1996-97. By 2000-01 this use had increased to 793 GL (one and a half times the volume of Sydney Harbour). The majority of water intake for this industry was mains supplied (70%), reflecting the tendency for manufacturing industry to be located around urban communities.


Manufacturing as a source of pollution and waste

Most manufacturing businesses do not generate waste in quantities significant enough to report on the National Pollutant Inventory. However, 675 manufacturing locations (approximately 1% of all manufacturing locations) reported particulate emissions (dust particles smaller than 10 micrometres) amounting to 11% of the estimated total particulate emissions for 2000-01. Depending on the type of dust, particulate matter can be a hazardous material which can cause irritation of the mucous membrane, allergic reactions, fibrosis and cancer.

In 1997-98, the manufacturing industry released 57,166 Gg of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (CO2-e), accounting for 17% of total CO2-e by Australian industries (table 19.2). Manufacturing is the second highest source of greenhouse gas emissions after the electricity industry. The level of emissions reached in 1997-98 represented a 9% increase over the 1992-93 level. The majority of emissions are carbon dioxide, with a marginal amount of nitrous oxide and methane.


19.2 GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

Manufacturing
All sources
CO2-e
CO2-e

1992-93
52,431
285,168
1993-94
52,934
289,325
1994-95
55,665
302,959
1995-96
56,603
313,355
1996-97
55,437
320,975
1997-98
57,166
339,597

Source: ABS 2001.


Response by government for environment protection

Governments react to environment pressures exerted by manufacturing activity through legislation and partnership programs. These programs are based on reducing greenhouse emissions, waste minimisation, resource recovery and reducing material inputs to the manufacturing process.

Government regulations concentrate on protecting the environment. Regulations range from licence fees for pollution emissions to the environment, to compulsory reporting requirements through legislation such as the Corporations Act 2000 (Cwlth), and fines from prosecutions.

Voluntary programs promoted by the Commonwealth Government and state governments focus on the provision of reporting measures for businesses such as A Framework for Public Environmental Reporting: An Australian Approach (Environment Australia 2000) and eco-efficiency agreements (relating to waste minimisation, energy minimisation and an overall reduction of materials into the manufacturing industry). Targets are set by government and industry collaboration on the basis of which indicators are agreed upon, measuring the extent to which businesses meet those targets.

More recently, the Global Reporting Initiative program (Global Reporting Initiative 2001) details a series of environment, social and governance measures for companies to report on.

Response by manufacturing on environment protection

Manufacturers react to regulatory and social pressures by establishing environmental plans or policies and by expenditure on environment protection. Their expenditure in 2000-01 is shown in table 19.3 in respect of the following domains: solid waste management; liquid waste management; air emissions management; other environment protection including protection of soil resources, biodiversity and habitat; and administration of the environment.


19.3 ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION EXPENDITURE - 2000-01

Current
Capital
Domain
$m
$m

Solid waste
284.0
90.3
Liquid waste and waste water management
183.5
176.1
Air emissions
34.5
124.0
Other
32.7
47.7
Administration
133.8
. .
Total
668.5
438.1

Source: ABS 2002a.


Current environment protection expenditure for the manufacturing sector of $669m was about 0.3% of total current expenditure of the sector. The highest expenditure was on waste management ($502m), in the fields of solid waste management ($284m), liquid waste and waste water management ($184m) and air emissions management ($35m).

Capital environment protection expenditure for the sector of $438m was about 4% of its total capital expenditure. The highest expenditure was again on waste management ($390m), in the fields of liquid waste and waste water management ($176m), air emissions management ($124m) and solid waste management ($90m).

Approximately 13% of manufacturers had an environmental plan in place at 30 June 2001. Of these businesses, 54% constructed a voluntary environment management system or code of practice and 52% had a written policy or environmental plan (table 19.4). However, of businesses with 100 or more employees, 64% had environmental plans; the great majority of these (87%) had a written policy or plan.


19.4 BUSINESSES WITH ENVIRONMENT PLANS - 2000-01
With environment
plans
Without environment
plans
Written policy
or plan
Public Environment
Report
Voluntary EMS(a)
Certified EMS(a)
Employment size (persons)
%
%
%
%
%
%

0-19
10.2
89.8
39.4
(b)10.4
57.9
(b)9.8
20-99
28.3
71.7
72.0
(b)7.1
39.2
(b)7.3
100 or more
63.3
36.7
86.0
21.1
58.0
24.2
All businesses
13.4
86.6
52.0
(b)11.0
54.0
(b)11.0

(a) Environment management system.
(b) Standard error of more than 10%.

Source: ABS 2002a.


Barriers to environment protection

A number of barriers can prevent businesses from implementing environment management measures. Such barriers include lack of time, resources or knowledge on environment management.

Approximately 46% of manufacturers had no barriers to improving environment protection expenditure for the financial year 2000-01 (table 19.5). The main reasons for not improving environment protection were reported to be the likely costs involved (28% of businesses), and lack of time and staff resources (26%).


19.5 BARRIERS TO ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION - 2000-01

Proportion of manufacturing businesses
%

Lack of time/staff resources
26
Lack of expertise within the business
11
Likely costs involved
28
Lack of market demand
7
Risks involved (e.g. interfering with product/service quality)
4
Lack of evidence of likely benefits
21
Lack of awareness of potential for environmental improvements
7
Lack of government assistance
12
Other barriers
5
No barriers
46

Source: ABS 2002a.


About 44% of manufacturing businesses sought some form of environment management information in 2000-01. Some 21% obtained information from state government and 19% from their industry and professional associations (table 19.6).


19.6 SOURCES OF ENVIRONMENT INFORMATION USED - 2000-01

Proportion of manufacturing businesses
%

Internet or world wide web
12
Commonwealth government agencies
9
State government agencies
21
Industry and professional associations
19
External consultants
6
Seminars and conferences
5
Other businesses
12
Parent company
3
Other sources
4
Information on environment management not sought
56

Source: ABS 2002a.


References

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2000, Water Account for Australia, 1993-94 to 1996-97, cat. no. 4610.0, ABS, Canberra.

ABS 2001, Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accounts, Australia, 1992-93 to 1997-98, cat. no. 4604.0, ABS, Canberra.

ABS 2002a, Environment Protection, Mining and Manufacturing Industries, Australia, 2000-01, cat. no. 4603.0, ABS, Canberra.

ABS 2002b, Environment Protection, Mining and Manufacturing Industries, Australia, 2000-01, Special Data Service, ABS, Canberra.

Environment Australia 2000, A Framework for Public Environmental Reporting: An Australian Approach, March 2000.

Global Reporting Initiative 2001, Draft 2002 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, www.globalreporting.org/GRIGuidelines/2002draft.htm.

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.