Partnerships for climate change
NAB uses the AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard as a basis for its stakeholder engagement. The company monitors stakeholder relationships to ensure the partners it works with are aligned with NAB’s values and that NAB itself is being an effective partner.
NAB has used the Edelman Relationship Index to measure the quality of its relationships from a stakeholder perspective. This tool examines stakeholder relationships via four key dimensions: trust, mutuality of control, commitment and satisfaction. It surveys stakeholders in the media, general public, opinion leaders, regulators and government and provides both qualitative and quantitative feedback. The survey results have helped NAB develop stakeholder engagement strategies for climate change and other areas of interest and concern, as well as tracking how the quality of the relationships change over time.
NAB has developed relationships with stakeholders as part of its climate change strategy including:
the Total Environment Centre (an Australian environment not-for-profit organisation): NAB provides long-term support for the Total Environment Centre’s Green Capital Events program and works with the Green Capital team in areas of mutual concern related to environment and climate change
key suppliers: NAB works closely with suppliers to ensure they understand why being carbon neutral is important to NAB and how together they can achieve this goal. In 2009 NAB set up a Supplier Sustainability Program in Australia to educate, support and influence suppliers. The program is based on Supplier Sustainability Principles which specify the minimum sustainability requirements for NAB’s suppliers. Development of the principles and a related accreditation scheme for suppliers involved collaboration with other financial institutions as part of the UNEP Finance Initiative
community groups: NAB supports a number of community organisations in their advocacy and awareness raising for climate change including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Run for a Safe Climate and World Wide Views.
How NAB offsets its emissions
NAB consulted the same group of stakeholders who provided input on the carbon inventory guidelines in developing its carbon offset acquisition guidelines.
These external stakeholders provided valuable input on what could be used as carbon offsets in different jurisdictions. NAB recognised that the offsets needed to be credible, quantifiable and permanent. This led to one of the most significant carbon offset procurement projects by an Australian company. A competitive tender was conducted involving 36 suppliers in seven countries to establish an international panel to advise on purchasing carbon offsets. The procurement process involved a comprehensive global market analysis, review of international offset standards and evaluation of offset projects in other countries.
How NAB builds staff capacity for change
NAB’s leadership role on climate change is strongly supported by its learning and development program, most notably the NAB Academy which runs learning and development programs for staff from entry to executive levels.
The NAB Academy helps employees to build critical and systemic thinking skills and provides staff with capabilities they will use across all areas of the business. In collaboration with the NAB Academy, NAB is developing an e-learning module to help employees understand what it means to be carbon neutral.
NAB also supports the Green Teams with awareness raising initiatives such as Ride to Work days and participation in Earth Hour.
The network of dedicated Environmental Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility personnel and voluntary Green Teams helps to implement the climate change strategy and this has had a knock-on effect in the business units where these green ‘champions’ sit. Not only have they built knowledge and understanding in their business areas about climate change, they have also been able to develop new ways of working across business units to achieve change in other areas.
NAB’s achievements to 2010
NAB’s three-year Carbon Neutral 2010 program has had a range of carbon reduction outcomes. To date, achievements include:
completing 314 energy efficiency projects in Australian properties saving 45 000 tonnes CO2-e,5 with plans to exceed the targeted 46 000 tonnes CO2-e savings by the end of September 2010. Another 80 projects are in various stages from scoping to implementation
supporting the renewable energy sector by purchasing 10 per cent of electricity from accredited Green Power generated from Victorian wind farms. To date, NAB has invested $2 million in Green Power
offsetting travel related emissions for measured business travel in Australia and the UK in the 2008–09 reporting year.
In addition, NAB has been involved in government consultation as part of the emerging regulatory environment. In Australia, NAB participated in piloting the Australian Government’s online reporting system for National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting and in the UK, has been part of the taskforce on the implementation of the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme. NAB has also engaged in climate change advocacy through responding to the Carbon Disclosure Project information request to companies in Australia and being a signatory to the Bali, Poznañ and Copenhagen communiqués on climate change.
NAB’s initial climate change strategy was planned to run from 2007 to 2010. In 2009 NAB decided to undertake a staged review of its climate change strategy and carbon neutral program, beginning in late 2009, in order to develop the second phase of its strategy from 2010 to the end of 2013. This review process comprises:
Feedback sessions with stakeholders. Focus groups and face-to-face interviews cover what stakeholders know NAB implemented to reduce its greenhouse emissions, what they think of this and what they expect of corporates, and in particular banks, in terms of climate change. The sessions include stakeholders such as regulators, environment and sustainability non-government organisations, specific internal groups such as Green Teams and the Australian Environmental Leadership Committee, and Australian customers.
A survey of employees in parts of the Group who have not yet been surveyed. This will focus on what a sample of these employees think of NAB’s actions to date and what they consider future goals should include.
A ‘visioning session’ held as part of an internal Climate Change Conference in August 2009, facilitated by futurists. Futurists track relevant trends, analyse them and think creatively about their direction and meaning. The session critically examined what employees thought NAB should and could do for climate change in the future. It also covered the measures NAB had already implemented and explored what the next phase of the strategy and the carbon neutral program could be.
Feedback from the review is contributing to the development of the post-2010 phase of NAB’s climate change strategy building on the achievements to date.
www.nabgroup.com (Corporate Responsibility and Corporate Responsibility Report)
Bankstown City Council and the Cooks River Sustainability Initiative:
How Bankstown City Council developed community partnerships for sustainable catchment management
Bankstown City Council is a partner in the Cooks River Sustainability Initiative. This project aims to improve the quality of the water in the Cooks River in Sydney, create new relationships within and between the project partners and develop a vision and action plan for six local subcatchments. The council engaged stakeholders in order to develop a vision and actions for the Rookwood Road subcatchment and to build capacity within the council and the community to think about water as an integral part of long-term environmental management and land use planning.
This case study shows how Bankstown City Council:
used visioning in its long-term water planning
developed partnerships for sustainable outcomes
worked with internal and external stakeholders to build their knowledge and understanding so they can take action for sustainability.
This case study demonstrates the following components of education for sustainability:
critical thinking and reflection
Bankstown City Council achieved these business outcomes:
increased engagement with the community
improved community and council capacity to integrate water issues into long-term planning
contributing to cleaner water in the Rookwood Road subcatchment through water-sensitive on-ground works in 2010/11 and by engaging and informing the community
strong, ongoing partnerships with other councils.
Bankstown is located in southwestern Sydney and covers around 77 square kilometres. In 2006 the population was approximately 170 000 people with 35.9 per cent born overseas and 32.3 per cent from a non-English speaking background. Bankstown has a well-developed business community of more than 15 000 businesses which employ over 70 000 people. In addition to the central business district, Bankstown City Council area includes an airport and a Strategic Employment Corridor around the M5 Motorway.
The Cooks River starts in Bankstown and flows 23 kilometres east and southeast through successive council areas into Botany Bay. The Cooks River catchment covers about 100 square kilometres and has suffered extreme degradation since the start of European settlement. Most of the natural vegetation has been cleared. Dumping of industrial and domestic waste including sewage, and stormwater pollution, have led to a significant decline in water quality.
Bankstown City Council is a partner in the Cooks River Sustainability Initiative, funded from 2007 to 2010 by the NSW Environmental Trust’s Urban Sustainability Program. Other partners include Ashfield, Canterbury, City of Sydney, Hurstville, Marrickville, Rockdale and Strathfield councils, and the National Urban Water Governance Program at Monash University.
The Cooks River Sustainability Initiative aims to:
improve the quality of the water that flows into the Cooks River
create new relationships within and between councils and the community that will provide ongoing long-term benefits for the Cooks River
develop a vision and action plan for six local subcatchments, one of which is the Rookwood Road subcatchment.
The project team
A project team, physically located at Strathfield Council, administers the Cooks River Sustainability Initiative. A steering committee includes project officers and managers from each council. Members meet every two months to discuss progress on subcatchment planning and action implementation, to share experiences and information, and to provide updates on the governance framework for the river.
In addition to the steering committee, there is an Executive Champions Committee consisting of managers and directors from each council. The committee meets every quarter to review an update from the steering committee and discuss any barriers to implementation. The key role of the Executive Champions Committee is to support their project officer (who sits on the steering committee) to manage the work required and to be a strong advocate for change within their own council.
Although the Cooks River is heavily polluted throughout its length, there are different challenges within each council area: there are different types and uses of land, many cultures and communities, and the councils in the catchment are at different stages in their understanding and response to sustainability.
To address the diversity of issues in the catchment and to inform the vision and action plan for each subcatchment, research on each council area and the catchment was conducted. This comprised social, physical and organisational profiling.
The Cooks River Sustainability Initiative Project Team developed two social profiling questionnaires which were reviewed and approved by the steering committee. The first questionnaire surveyed community attitudes towards water and the environment. This was mailed out. The second surveyed how businesses used water, how they saved water and their current environmental management strategies. This survey was carried out by mail, online and by phone.
Physical profiling looked at land use, drainage and water flows in and out of each subcatchment in order to develop a water budget. It highlighted the amount of potable water which could be saved by harvesting and using rainwater, stormwater and wastewater.
Organisational profiling involved three components:
A high-level survey within each council to find out what staff understood about the environment, sustainability and urban water management. The survey also covered what staff knew about how these areas were currently managed and how well their council performed.
A more detailed survey of staff with a direct role in urban water management to drill down into some of the findings from the high-level survey.
A half-day session with key staff involved with urban water management, facilitated by staff from the National Urban Water Governance Program (NUWGP) at Monash University (one of the partners in the project), again to gauge the level of existing knowledge and skills for change within each council.
The organisational profiling was extremely valuable because it gave all councils feedback on where they stood in terms of staff capabilities to implement and support integrated urban water management.
Bankstown City Council is also involved in the Mid-Georges River Sustainability Initiative (MGRSI). This project provided another opportunity to assess organisational capacity and to learn from the research undertaken at the NUWGP as follows:
The MGRSI focused on ‘Advancing Water Sensitive Urban Design in the Georges River Catchment: A Rapid Assessment of ‘Institutional Capacity’ in two local government agencies’. Early in the project two half-day workshops were held at Bankstown City Council to help staff to gain a better understanding of how the Council manages water and what actions are needed to move towards a more water sensitive city. The workshops for the MGRSI confirmed the Cooks River Sustainability Initiative organisational profiling results with regard to Council's current capacity for sustainable urban water management.
The NUWGP had recently completed a three year research project investigating the institutional barriers to sustainable urban water management and the governance factors required to transition to Water Sensitive Cities in Australia. The research highlighted the lack of suitable institutional capacity (skills and knowledge) as the most significant challenge to implementing sustainable urban water management.
The research conducted early on in the Cooks River Sustainability Initiative gave each council a holistic view of the current situation and key issues within its subcatchments. It helped councils understand what the community and business thought about water and how water was viewed as a resource. Importantly, it gave a significant amount of detail as to the current capacity of each council to implement change within the subcatchment so that a plan to develop a vision for the Cooks River could be devised.
Developing the vision
Following the research stage, the steering committee developed a community consultation plan to feed into development of subcatchment visions and action plans for 2050. The visions and action plans were to focus on four areas: our suburbs, our green spaces, our waterways, and our community.
Most councils consulted with their communities as a stand-alone process. However, Bankstown City Council felt that water vision and action plans should be formed more systemically, looking at all the pressures on the subcatchment and acknowledging the conflicts between land use, water and population growth. Council wanted a broader approach rather than just a focus on water because so many other issues were interlinked. Consequently, the team decided to:
change the vision end date to 2031 (rather than 2050) to be in line with the NSW Metropolitan Strategy and the local area planning process
formulate the vision as part of the local area planning process. There are seven local area plans, one of which covers the Rookwood Road subcatchment, and they are informed by the Bankstown Community Plan.
Drafting the community vision and action plan
Council held a community water planning forum for the Rookwood Road subcatchment in October 2009. The participants included 25 people who responded to an open invitation to the community (a broad cross-section was selected) and key stakeholders such as Sydney Water, Landcom (a NSW Government owned developer), TAFE, two councilors and a local community environment group.
Before the forum all participants were given background information on land use in the subcatchment, the water budget for the subcatchment and the results of the community water survey. During the forum they were divided into groups and used visions developed from community engagement in Council’s Local Area Planning Process to develop goals and actions that would help to turn the visions into reality. Participants were encouraged to work together, to ensure all voices were heard and to think holistically.
At the end, the participants voted on the goals and actions they thought had the highest priority. The outcomes from the forum were then used to create the following vision for the subcatchment for 2031:
Our streets are beautiful, interactive spaces that are used day and night by the community. Our parks are safe, accessible and sustainable living spaces that connect the community to each other and the environment around them. Our waterways are clean, rainwater and greywater are collected for reuse and the community and other stakeholders work together to promote water conservation and recycling.
As a result of this process, participants now see water as an integral part of environmental management and land use planning. Council staff who led the forum increased their knowledge about what is important to the community and how the community views water in the context of council’s operations.
How to get community ownership of the goals
Council sees community involvement as vital to improving water quality. It has supported the community to take ownership of the subcatchment vision, rather than it just being led by council. Examples of community involvement are:
local people selecting plantings for regrowth sites and water gardens
community events, such as barbeques, at remediation sites when work is completed
water tours with residents and businesses to show where water comes from in the subcatchment and where it goes to. These tours show residents and business owners how council treats and reuses water at the council depot; the Padstow raingarden which captures runoff; and the Chullora wetland area which is being rejuvenated by the SouthWest Enviro Centre.
After the forum
The vision, goals and action plan were formally drafted and published on the Rookwood Road subcatchment website for community access. The subcatchment management plan will soon be finalised and council will incorporate the actions as part of a new water management framework.
Council took the community’s inputs and ensured the goals and actions were linked to strategies in local area plans. The project team then reflected on how best to ensure the community goals were implemented. Council is continuing to use the Executive Champion role to drive this process. The council project team will liaise with the relevant council departments to ensure that the action items are included and prioritised in long-term plans such as the four-year Stormwater Levy Plan and Corporate Plan.
Keeping the community informed
The Cooks River Sustainability Initiative has a Media and Communications Committee made up of representatives from each council. The committee developed promotional material and media releases on the results of the community water survey and maintains a comprehensive website. A bi-monthly newsletter goes to interested community members and Council has reported on the initiative in its environmental newsletter Sustainable Bankstown.
Increased sustainability knowledge for council staff
The funding from the NSW Environmental Trust specifically allowed for capacity building within the community, Cooks River Sustainability Initiative staff, council staff directly involved in the initiative and other council staff.
Steering committee members have increased their understanding and awareness of community issues on water and the environment. They have also gained significant skills in working collaboratively and in thinking critically as a team. The committee is now developing a governance plan to ensure that the actions are implemented, the efforts of each partner council are consolidated and the Cooks River ecosystem is restored. One of the key findings is that change should go beyond planning, implementation and review: it should also be adaptive and respond to new information and feedback.
Following its involvement in the Mid-Georges River and Cooks River sustainability initiatives, council invited all staff to a technical workshop about sustainable urban water management. Over 60 staff attended and heard speakers from the University of Western Sydney and the National Urban Water Governance Program discuss the environmental, social and governance issues associated with urban water management. The workshop demonstrated how staff from different backgrounds think differently about solutions to urban water management and water sensitive urban design. The workshop also helped participants think about the backgrounds and values of fellow staff and how to work more effectively with them in the future.
In addition, the Cooks River Sustainability Initiative has:
organised technical working group meetings with engineers across the eight councils to discuss and workshop the design of water sensitive urban design initiatives
funded council officer attendance at a number of sustainable urban water management training, workshop and conference events in Australia.
The partnerships developed across the eight councils in the Cooks River Sustainability Initiative will bring long-term benefits to this part of Sydney through both the technical knowledge gained over the past three years and better ways of councils working with each other and their communities. This group has a huge opportunity to provide valuable input into other urban issues such as land use planning, urban design, energy, waste and population growth in terms of planning, process and policy.
The project team made presentations to other council staff on the Cooks River Sustainability Initiative and their work in the Rookwood Road subcatchment, to share the process and outcomes and to develop holistic and critical thinking capacity within council. This included creative thinking about how to fund the initiatives and link them with other actions such as planning car parking (including gardens in the design to capture rainwater runoff from these hard surfaces) and using rainwater harvesting (at the council depot) to reduce water use.
The project has also helped Bankstown City Council identify champions who are willing to become involved in more holistic planning and decision making about water. This has created a support base which will help ensure actions are implemented.
As part of the new governance framework that is being investigated for the Cooks River catchment, it is likely that Council will now develop visions, goals and actions for the remaining two subcatchments in its jurisdiction. Council staff will review and reflect on the effectiveness and efficiency of the Rookwood Road process and outcomes and share their conclusions with the steering committee. This process will also be supported by the development of the new governance model for the Cooks River catchment. Critical thinking will identify barriers and levers to successful implementation and staff will reflect on the skills and tools needed to address the issues and continue to improve water quality.
Amcor Safety Integration Project:
How Amcor improved safety and reduced time lost through injuries by integrating sustainability policy and practice across its business operations
Amcor is a large global packaging manufacturer with multiple sites in the Asia Pacific region.
One of the challenges Amcor faces is how to implement complex supply chain and service delivery across a range of cultures and regulatory environments. Amcor uses a continuous improvement model, which empowers employees to lead change from the bottom up. Safety is a core part of Amcor’s sustainability strategy but safety and the creation of safe workplaces often mean different things in different countries. In 2010 Amcor faced the challenge to integrate consistent safety policies and processes in its sites in Australia, New Zealand and several countries in Asia.
This case study shows how Amcor:
implemented change across multiple sites, divisions, business groups
created a strong project team
used a capacity building approach to change.
This case study demonstrates the following components of education for sustainability:
critical thinking and reflection.
Amcor achieved these business outcomes:
less time lost through injuries
stronger safety procedures and policies
improved culture of safety
partnerships across sites and countries
better reputation internally and externally.
Amcor manufactures a broad range of plastic, fibre, metal and glass packaging products, and provides packaging-related services. It operates in 43 countries at over 300 sites with approximately 35 000 employees. Amcor’s belief statement or strategic goal is ‘we believe in responsible packaging’. Its core values are about:
Amcor has a goal of no injuries and aims to provide a safe working environment for its employees, contractors and site visitors. In manufacturing companies this goal is vital and Amcor uses a best practice approach to ensure its machines and manual processes are safe.
In February 2010 Amcor purchased Alcan’s manufacturing plants in Asia from Rio Tinto. These, together with Amcor’s existing sites in Australasia, were combined to form Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific, with a head office in Singapore. Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific is one of Amcor’s six business groups and manufactures flexible packaging for the food and healthcare markets.
Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific sites are located across Australia, New Zealand, China, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand and additional sites in India are currently under construction. The Australian and New Zealand operations have high levels of capital investment with state of the art machinery and about 80 to100 employees per site. The Asian operations generally have older, less technologically advanced machinery and are more labour intensive, with up to 400 employees per site.
At the time of the February 2010 purchase, all sites had very different environment, health and safety policies and procedures and all operated under different regulatory regimes.
At the same time of the February 2010 purchase Amcor created a ‘new’ Amcor brand allowing both companies to move forward together and create a ‘new’ Amcor.
As part of the move to the ‘new’ Amcor a 100 day Safety Integration Project was proposed to implement best practice across Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific, with a focus on benchmarking safe working practices to ensure Amcor retained its strong safety record.
The project team
The project had strong backing from senior executives, who recognised the need to improve workplace safety as a component of sustainability strategy. The Asia Pacific Vice President of Technical, Research and Development and Continuous Improvement was appointed as project sponsor. The Vice President has extensive experience in manufacturing plants in Asia.
An Australian-based project manager (covering Australia and New Zealand) led the project team which included the Asia Pacific Vice President and three Senior Safety Managers from China, Indonesia (also covering India) and Thailand. Of the project team, only the project manager had experience in education for sustainability, having used this change process in previous environment, health and safety improvement programs.
Beginning the process
Amcor’s continuing licence to operate depends on how well it manages environmental risk, employee risk and reputation risk. It was clear before the Safety Integration Project started that these risks were identified and managed differently across the sites now part of Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific. One of the first actions taken by the project manager and project sponsor was to meet each other and develop a high-level overview of the existing operations in the three areas of the business which were now amalgamated. They met in Thailand and spent three days looking at each country’s operations in detail. They concluded that, within the newly merged entity of Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific (Australia, New Zealand and Asia);
the ‘old’ Amcor Australia and New Zealand sites had strong environment, health and safety systems in place due to a history of strong regulatory requirement and enforcements. Although common systems, the implementation of the systems was decentralised and managed at a site level. Amcor calls this bottom-up approach ‘freedom within boundaries’
the ‘old’ Amcor Asia sites had only basic environment, health and safety systems in place although a culture of awareness of safety issues existed
the ‘old’ Alcan sites had strong environment, health and safety systems and practices, despite less strict regulatory environments and enforcement. Risk was managed by a top-down approach of directives rather than consultation with employees. Alcan had also a rolled out a behaviour safety program based on management safety observation tours.
Developing the project plan
The project team decided that in order to ensure the success of the project they needed to meet face-to-face in the planning stage in order to develop working relationships which support the implementation stage. The project team allocated three days for a visioning workshop in Thailand, led by the project manager.
At the workshop the participants defined the key issues for the project, which included:
differing policies/procedures between countries and sites
differing regulatory environments between countries
different safety cultures
different approaches to building capacity for change for safety i.e. bottom-up versus top-down
different factory operations i.e. high versus low levels of capital investment in state of the art machinery and high levels of manual processes in Asia (due to lower cost labour).
The divergence of policy and practice, regulatory environment and safety culture identified by the project manager and project sponsor was confirmed at the workshop. In addition, the team agreed that not one site had all elements of best practice and that they could probably get a better outcome for the project by combining best practice examples from all the different and ‘new’ Amcor sites.
The project team worked collaboratively over the three days and thought systemically about the issues. The team developed a vision to integrate and synergise the currently existing environment, health and safety systems to ensure the way to zero incidence. From this vision, they agreed to a set of objectives and key outcomes. This involved comparing and contrasting the specific operating environments at each of the sites and agreeing how to combine the best features from all of them. The planned outcomes were grouped under Amcor’s ‘three-pronged safety program’ of leadership culture, good systems, and safe workplaces. The team also wanted to develop and/or strengthen a culture of continuous improvement rather than imposing a huge one-step change.
The project team developed a plan for the next 100 days, with timelines for each deliverable and quick wins, which would help build momentum and support for change. At the end of the three days, the project team had formed a strong bond and a good working relationship and better understood the cultural contexts in which they were working. Rather than imposing a single set of policies and practices across the new Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific the project team were able to work creatively to work out the best approach to deliver the safety vision.
Importance of the project plan
The project plan became critical during implementation when the participants went back to their offices. The plan was designed to be highly visual and to fit on one page. This one pager allowed quick identification of issues, challenges and stumbling blocks. Having all the deliverables simply written in clear English helped overcome potential language barriers between the participants and ensure that everyone understood the priorities and timeframes.
The project team held fortnightly phone conference calls during the 100 days of the project. Before each meeting team members submitted a progress report (standardised across the sites) to help them understand how the project was progressing. The project manager reviewed the individual reports and summarised them in one page, allowing for a comprehensive bird’s eye view of progress.
Capacity building during implementation
Led by the project manager, the team used reflective practice to share and evaluate progress and to build an understanding of what was needed to create a culture of continuous improvement. In the conference calls the project manager used a series of questions to get the team to think about why something had happened faster, slower, or with more or less difficulty than expected. This helped identify country, culture or site specific barriers to implementation. Importantly the conference calls enabled the project team to share their experiences and critically examine their own role in driving change within their respective locations. It especially enabled the team to understand and acknowledge how their own cultural background and values influence their assumptions about change.
In between the fortnightly meetings, the project team shared best practice examples and trialled changes at individual sites before rolling out new processes and policies across all sites within a country. There was a high level of phone and email interaction between all project team members and these communications were made easier because of partnerships formed in the three-day visioning session.
The project manager also met each fortnight with the team who had overall responsibility for all the integration projects (other than safety integration) that were happening at the same time. This allowed transfer of information and knowledge about successes and barriers to change more broadly across Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific and built capacity and understanding about the cultural and operational differences across the sites.
How employees learned to improve workplace safety
Implementation at the site level focused on working with site management teams to engage employees in making decisions about safety. This was to empower employees to help drive the changes required and give them permission to create a safety culture rather than it being imposed on them.
For example, although the ex-Alcan sites in Asia had a program to improve man- machinery interface and safety controls there had been little learning and development to build the capacity of the employees to think about safety and actively develop new processes and operations to improve safety. To build capacity the project team developed the modified Safety Behaviour Program, which was rolled out across all sites in the business group. The purpose of this program was to develop strong partnerships with employees with the message ‘We care about your safety because you are important to us and your family’.
The program includes a Safety Leadership Tour. The employees working on the factory floor give managerial level staff (technical and non-technical) at the site a tour of their work, walking through their daily machine and manual handling activities. The manager then asks questions like: ‘That was a risk, how could it be improved?’ and ‘What do you think you could do to increase safety?’. The questions are open-ended and designed so the managers can observe the processes and get feedback from factory floor staff. The purpose is to give ownership of safe working practices to factory floor employees so they become more aware of how safety can be improved and assist site managers in making change. The manager is not allowed to take notes during this half-hour tour. The manager needs to be, and to be seen to be, listening and asking questions. After the tour the manager completes a short report about any unsafe behaviour, ideas for change and follow up which is given to the site manager for action.
In order to build these tours into normal factory operations, the project team was able to include a site level key performance indicator of the number of safety leadership tours per million hours worked into monthly site safety reporting. This will help monitor how many tours are conducted and whether the tours help build capacity and reduce injuries and reportable cases.
The project team also introduced a program to share good practice solutions for reducing risk in our factories.
Outcomes of the Safety Integration Project
Outcomes were planned over different timeframes. In the short term the focus was to ensure that the activities undertaken at each site delivered the intended change. Each fortnight for 100 days the project team measured actual outcomes against objectives, both in changes to policies, systems and procedures and whether project deadlines were met. The project one pager summaries were an invaluable tool as they effectively measured progress whilst allowing adjustments to the original plan.
In the medium term the focus was on capacity building to improve existing and create new safety cultures. Through this process each project team member identified key site staff who could be moved into a safety leader role. This helped to reiterate the value Amcor places on safety and also to provide an accessible point of contact for factory floor employees. This role is especially important in those sites where safety was not originally part of the site culture.
There was also significant capacity building within the project team. The team members developed ways of working together across geographic and cultural boundaries and used critical and systemic thinking to plan and implement change. They have already used these skills and the strong working partnership they formed for other projects.
In Australia, the project manager made a presentation to the Amcor Australasia Executive Team about the project, including the success of the Safety Behaviour Program and how the Safety Integration Project has improved risk management across Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific. The Safety Leadership tours will now also be rolled out across the Amcor Australasia business.
Site managers indicated that the Safety Integration Project quickly created a much more bottom-up approach to change with a clearer direction around what a safety culture looks like. Staff at all levels started to suggest ways to improve safety. Some ideas came through the Safety Leadership Tours.
Amcor Australasia has a Safety Leadership Council, set up for senior safety managers across all business units of Amcor in Australia and New Zealand. The council meets each month and its purpose is to transfer knowledge and lessons learnt across the business. The project manager is part of the council, to share the thinking processes involved in the Safety Integration Project and how the objectives were delivered. The project manager also gained from being part of the council as the safety leadership culture component of the integration project was sourced from discussion with this group of managers.
Safety Action is an external training organisation which has delivered safety training for Amcor and designed and run staff surveys in Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific. Safety Action has a strong background in manufacturing and safety and runs quarterly breakfast meetings attended by leading safety managers. The purpose of these meetings is to showcase projects implemented by Safety Action’s clients and the project manager has been invited to present the outcomes of the Safety Integration Project at this forum. The presentation will hopefully strengthen connections with other manufacturing companies, as many of the attendees face similar business risks to Amcor. The partnerships formed in this forum are a valuable source of industry information and best practice in safety.
The project team will continue to monitor and measure the outcomes of the Safety Integration Project over the next 12 months in order to ensure change is embedded within Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific. Shared projects will continue beyond the 100 day integration project and the members of the team are still very much in contact with each other and consult either individually or as a team on a range of issues. The project manager has become a mentor to the senior safety managers and supports them to think creatively, aligned with the vision of no injuries. Significant corporate knowledge has been built as a result of the project and the challenge will be to continue using this knowledge in the future.