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									               Discussion Paper


                     Prepared by the
   Australian Government Information Management Office
                      GPO Box 390
                    Canberra ACT 2601

                     30 August 2004
                                  Table of Contents

1. INTRODUCTION                                                                1

2. EXISTING AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES                                  2
    2.1    Greening Government – Energy Use Reporting                          2
    2.2    Triple Bottom Line Reporting                                        2
    2.3    Annual Reports                                                      2
    2.4    Environmental Management Systems                                    2

3. GOVERNMENT/INDUSTRY INITIATIVES                                             3
    3.1    Product Stewardship                                                 3
    3.2    National Packaging Covenant                                         3
    3.3    National Energy Star Program                                        4
    3.4    Energy All Stars                                                    4
    3.5    Energy Efficient Computers                                          4
    3.6    Restrictions of Hazardous Substances                                4
    3.7    Managing TV End-of-Life                                             5
    3.8    Recycle IT!                                                         5
    3.9    Computer Technology For Schools                                     5

4. ICT INDUSTRY INITIATIVES                                                    6
    4.1    International Environmental Standards Handbook for Small Enterprises 6
    4.2    Eco Labelling                                                       6
    4.3    Initiatives of Individual ICT Firms                                 6
    4.4    Industry Association Initiatives                                    7
    4.5    Mobile Phone Recycling                                              7

5. MOVING FORWARD – OPTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION                                  8
    5.1    Australian Government                                               8
    5.2    AGIMO                                                               8
    5.3    ICT Industry                                                        9
    5.4    Broader Industry                                                    10

6. PROVIDING COMMENT ON THIS DISCUSSION PAPER                                  12

The Australian government is a world leader in the use of Information and Communications
Technology (ICT) to support government service delivery and administration1. Results of the
government’s achievements in this area include better environmental outcomes, where ICT
has provided opportunities to reduce the use of resources such as energy and materials. Focus
on these environmental outcomes has been improved by greater attention to the issues of
recycling, product stewardship and conservation. However, the government recognises that in
many cases there is an environmental cost to its use of ICT.

The Australian Government works on a number of fronts to strengthen and improve the
positive outcomes of its use of ICT, and minimise and better manage environmental costs.
Initiatives include the Australian Greenhouse Office’s (AGO) Government Energy Use Policy
and Reporting under Greening Government, the Department of the Environment and
Heritage’s (DEH) Green Office Guide2, and promotion of the use of Environmental
Management Systems by agencies.

Importantly, the government also works in partnership with industry to improve outcomes.
Initiatives such as Product Stewardship arrangements, the National Packaging Covenant and
Eco Efficiency Agreements3 are key examples.

Industry has also recognised the benefits of addressing the environmental impacts of its
products. A number of industry-wide initiatives are underway and forward-looking firms
have programs in place to reduce or better manage the environmental impacts of their

It is important that all parties continue to build on the positive work done thus far. To achieve
significant long term benefits, there is a continuing requirement to address the environmental
impacts of ICT usage over the lifecycle of the products involved. Action is required by
industry, by individual firms which manufacture or supply a wide range of ICT products4 and
services to government, and by Australian government users of ICT products and services.
This action must be cost effective, achieving its objectives within the scope of government
procurement policy and without eroding the efficiency of the public sector.

This paper summarises a number of existing government and industry initiatives and
identifies other areas where government could contribute to positive environmental outcomes.
Importantly, the paper also offers a challenge to industry and individual firms to identify areas
where they can bolster their efforts in this area in order to better meet the expectations of
government and the community.

  The Accenture Government Leadership Report (2004) ranked Australia in the top four and noted Australia’s high level of
service breadth. Other favourable assessments came from UN World Public Sector Report E-Government at the Crossroads
(2003) and Taylor Nelson Sofres Government Online Study (November 2003). Canada and the US stand out in both the
rankings produced by the UN and Accenture followed by Sweden and Australia.
  The Green Office Guide is available from DEH at http://www.deh.gov.au/industry/agency-performance/purchasing/green-
  Further information about Eco Efficiency Agreements is available from DEH at
  For example, computers, monitors, printers, facsimile machines, routers, modems, mobile telephones, data projectors and


The following government initiatives have been implemented to improve the environmental
outcomes from the use of ICT.

2.1 Greening Government – Australian Government Energy Use Reporting

Since 2001 Australian government departments and agencies have reported their annual
energy use to the AGO. These reports show that energy consumption continues to decrease,
including energy used for ICT. The Prime Minister announced further energy targets in June
2004 in Securing Australia’s Energy Future5.

2.2 Triple Bottom Line Reporting

Triple Bottom Line reporting is being used by some agencies, including the Department of
Family and Community Services6 and DEH, to better reflect the full impact of their
operational activities, including environmental impacts. Triple Bottom Line reporting
involves measuring and reporting on an organisation’s performance against economic, social
and environmental indicators.

2.3 Annual Reports

Australian government departments and agencies report on ecological sustainable
development and environmental performance in their annual reports, as provided for in
section 516A of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 19997.

2.4 Environmental Management Systems
At the end of December 2003, 28 Australian government departments and agencies had
implemented an Environmental Management System (EMS) to improve environmental
outcomes, through compliance with regulations and international standards, and manage
environmental risk. Another 19 agencies were developing an EMS. Five have a certified
EMS under International Standards and a further 14 plan to seek this certification8.

  Further information is available from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet at
  The Triple Bottom Line report of the Department of Family and Community Services from 2003 is available at
  Further information regarding mandatory reporting on environmental performance is available from DEH at
http://www.deh.gov.au/industry/agency-performance/reporting.html. In addition, guidance on annual reports is provided by
the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet at http://www.pmc.gov.au/docs/govt_index.cfm#Requirements
  Further information about EMS is available from DEH at http://www.deh.gov.au/industry/agency-performance/index.html


The following initiatives have been developed or are being examined jointly by government
and industry.

3.1 Product Stewardship

Approximately one million computers are sent to landfill each year. This is expected to
increase to 1.6 million by 2006. Electronic products contain potentially hazardous materials.
Monitors and computers contain heavy metals, including lead, and brominated plastics. DEH
is working closely with other Australian governments and the ICT industry through Product
Stewardship arrangements to better manage environmental impacts of ICT products over their
lifecycle, including disposal9.

Governments are investigating the potential for strengthened regulatory arrangements, which
if agreed, could provide a safety net to support voluntary industry initiatives in specific
product sectors. If agreed, a regulatory safety net for Product Stewardship could apply to
televisions from 2006, and other electrical products thereafter.

Product Stewardship has been identified as a priority area for national action by the
Environmental Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC). The impetus for introducing
Product Stewardship schemes in the ICT industry increased when the NSW Government
identified computers and televisions as key products for industry attention in its Extended
Producer Responsibility Statement released in March 200410.

3.2 National Packaging Covenant

In January 2004, 560 companies had signed the National Packaging Covenant, including a
number of ICT companies11. The Covenant is a co-regulatory agreement between industries
in the packaging chain and all spheres of government. It aims to reduce the environmental
impacts of packaging.

The Covenant, originally to expire in August 2004, has been extended to April 2005 to allow
DEH to consult government and industry on possible ways to strengthen the compliance and
reporting components. Following consultation, EPHC Ministers are expected to consider a
proposal for a revised Covenant in October 2004.

  Information about product stewardship is available from DEH at http://www.deh.gov.au/industry/waste/index.html
   Further information is available from NSW Government at http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/waste/epr/eprps04.htm
   Further information about the National Packaging Covenant is available from DEH at

3.3 National Energy Star Program

The National Energy Star Program12 is based on International Standards for energy efficient
office equipment such as computers, printers and photocopiers. The program has been
adopted from the US program for ICT products. It sets high energy-efficiency performance
criteria that must be met in order for a product to qualify for the Energy Star Label.

All Australian government “departments and agencies are required to purchase only office
equipment that complies with the US Environment Protection Agency Energy Star standard,
where it is available and fit for purpose”13.

3.4 Energy All Stars

Energy All Stars is managed by the AGO to stimulate the market for energy efficient
electronic products and provide incentives for ICT companies to participate in a voluntary
energy efficiency program. From mid 2005 the Energy All Stars web site will provide
information about product energy performance.

3.5 Energy Efficient Computers

Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for personal computers and monitors are
being developed by the AGO in consultation with other governments, in particular the US,
China and the European Union. Working with other countries is important to ensure that
Australia is not disadvantaged as these are globally traded and rapidly developing products.

The MEPS will harmonise Australian standards with international partners. Under the
proposal, computer products will be labelled to identify efficient products and the worst
performing products will be banned. This work is being carried out through the Standards
Australia Committee TE-001 (Safety of Electronic Equipment) in consultation with
stakeholders, including ICT industry bodies14.

3.6 Restrictions of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Products

Australian government agencies are investigating the feasibility of harmonising Australia with
the European Directive on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and
Electronic Products or other relevant international standards that may emerge. This initiative
could prevent the sale of products containing certain hazardous materials in Australia.

   Further information is available from DEH at http://www.energystar.gov.au/
   Measures for improving energy efficiency in Commonwealth operations (2000),
   Membership of the Standards Australia Committee TE-001 on Safety of Electronic Equipment is: Australian Chamber of
Commerce and Industry: Australian Communications Authority; Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers
Association; Australian Greenhouse Office; Australian Information Industry Association; Certification Interests (New
Zealand); Consumer Electronics Association of New Zealand; Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association; Department of
Defence (Australia); Electrical Compliance Testing Association; Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council; Energy
Efficiency & Conservation Authority of New Zealand; Energy Supply Association of Australia; Free TV Australia; Ministry
of Economic Development (New Zealand); SingTel Optus Pty Limited; and Telstra Corporation Limited.

3.7 Managing TV End-of-Life

TVs and computer monitors comprise similar technology; they contain potentially hazardous
materials and managing their end-of-life is a high priority. Following a successful pilot
project, the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA) - administered by the
Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers Association (AEEMA) - has recently
established a Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) to manage end-of-life disposal of
TVs in an environmentally responsible manner. This program may be expanded to other
products such as computer monitors.

3.8 Recycle IT!

The Recycle IT! project was developed in partnership by the Australian Information Industry
Association (AIIA), the then Resource NSW and Clean Up Australia under the Australian
Government’s Product Stewardship arrangements. It was piloted in 2003 to determine the
cost per unit of recycling computer waste. Three local councils in western Sydney provided
bins at waste transfer stations and promoted the recycling of computers to the local
community. There are plans to use the lessons of this pilot to develop a national scheme for
computer waste.

3.9 Computer Technology For Schools
The Computer Technology For Schools (CTFS) project is an outcome of the Prime Minister’s
Investing for Growth industry policy statement. It is administered by the Department of
Education, Science and Training (DEST). CTFS provides surplus Australian government and
private sector computers and other ICT equipment to Australian schools in greatest need15.

CTFS is planning to align itself more closely with recycling centres that provide equipment to
schools. The project is revising its environmental policy to incorporate ‘leading practice’ for
end-of-life disposal, promoting these practices to potential donors. CTFS is also working on
developing school-specific guidelines for the disposal of ICT equipment.

  Further information is available from DEST at http://www.ctfs.edna.edu.au


The following initiatives have been or are being developed by the ICT industry.

4.1 International Environmental Standards Handbook for Small Enterprises

International Standards Organisation (ISO) series 14000 covers various aspects of
environmental management relevant to the ICT industry, including Environmental
Management Systems (EMS), environmental auditing and eco-labelling.

Implementation of ISO standards by firms is expected to result in a return on investment,
however, there are costs from this process. These costs are more easily managed by large
firms, and smaller firms can be disadvantaged. To help address this, the AIIA is developing a
handbook on ISO 14001 on EMSs to assist small ICT enterprises achieve basic compliance.

4.2 Eco Labelling

Using ISO 14020 the Australian Environmental Labelling Association Inc (AELA)16 audits
products for their environmental impacts over the product lifecycle. Complying products are
provided with an internationally recognised eco label, an environmental product declaration
and verification report that can be used in tendering.

AELA is in discussion with Australian ICT manufacturers regarding eco labelling. Some ICT
firms are already participating. For example, Fuji Xerox has been granted an eco label and
verification report for two entire printer product ranges17.

Ricoh has recently achieved the Environmental Choice label for New Zealand for
photocopiers and printers. Several ITC manufacturers, including Hewlett Packard, General
Electric, Samsung, Ricoh, Fuji Xerox, NEC and Cannon participate in equivalent overseas
programs. These 28 overseas programs collaborate internationally through the Global Eco
labelling Network.18

4.3 Initiatives of individual ICT firms

A number of ICT firms have implemented initiatives to reduce or better manage the
environmental impact of their products, either through better product design, known as eco-
design, or product take back and recycling programs. Examples include Lexmark Australia’s
participation in Cartridges 4 Planet Ark printer and toner cartridge recycling scheme19, Fuji
Xerox’s Environmental Management System, eco labelling and ISO certification for some
product ranges, Hewlett Packard Australia’s Design for the Environment activity and Ricoh’s
environment report.

   Further information about AELA is available at http://www.aela.org.au/aela/home.htm
   Information about eco-labelled Fuji Xerox products is at
http://www.aela.org.au/pdatabase/products/FujiXerox/printers.htm and http://www.aela.org.au/productsregister.htm
   Information about the Global Eco-labelling network is available at www.gen.gr.jp
   Information about Cartridges 4 Planet Ark is available at http://www.planetark.org/generalpage.cfm/newsid/21/story.htm

4.4 Industry Association Initiatives

‘Cleaner, greener and smarter’ manufacturing underpins AEEMA policies and strategies, with
a focus on encouraging members to develop energy efficient products. End users, particularly
in the commercial building sector, are encouraged to use products and services that meet
energy efficiency measures.

Through its membership of the World Electronics Forum (WEF), AEEMA is committed to
programs of ongoing improvement in product design and manufacturing for the environment.
AEEMA’s board recently approved a whole-of-association policy for extended producer
responsibility. This will require all relevant industry forums, including ICT, to consider
various measures to embrace extended producer responsibility for recycling products.

4.5 Mobile Phone Recycling

In 2000 the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) initiated a
voluntary Mobile Phone Industry Recycling Program (MPIRP) which is funded by industry.
There are currently 1600 collection points across the country, with 1.5 million batteries and
handsets collected for recycling to date.


While much has been accomplished by government and industry, achieving better
environmental outcomes requires continuous attention. There is scope to build on these
achievements. The challenge for industry is to support this work while putting in place
further initiatives to benefit the environment. Listed below are options for government and
industry to consider.

5.1    Options for Consideration: Australian Government
5.1.1 Increased implementation of EMS

This would involve more government departments and agencies implementing an EMS to
reduce the environmental impacts of a range of operational practices.

5.1.2 Augment Australian Government reporting on ICT Environmental Impacts

Measures for using ICT as an alternative to existing government business processes could be
developed and reported upon annually. Areas such as travel, government-to-government
policy consultation and electronic document recognition and authentication could be
considered. Measures could include: trips avoided through video conferencing; policy
consultation using shared technology; reporting on paper consumption; and other savings.

5.1.3 Encouragement of Triple Bottom Line Reporting

Greater use of Triple Bottom Line Reporting by larger government agencies could further
improve environmental, social and economic operational performance as regards ICT.

Options for Consideration: AGIMO
5.1.4 Implementation of an Australian Government Internet-based Register of
ICT Industry Eco-Design, Recycling and Reuse Initiatives

Setting up an Internet-based register, in collaboration with ICT industry associations and
suppliers, would increase the visibility of the ICT industry’s environmentally-friendly or eco-
design, recycling and reuse initiatives.

5.1.5 Development of an Australian Government Better Practice Checklist

A Better Practice Checklist would provide government agencies with information on how to
improve environmental outcomes through the effective use of ICT products and services.
This checklist would be cross-referenced to relevant government guidance.

5.1.6 Provision of additional information in the Guide to ICT Sourcing for
Australian Government Agencies

Greater emphasis on environmental outcomes could be made by amending the Guide to ICT
Sourcing Guide for Australian Government Agencies produced by AGIMO to include issues
such as product energy efficiency, recycling and reuse policies and practices of the hardware
or service supplier.

5.2    Options for Consideration: ICT Industry
A key challenge is addressing the environmental impact of ICT use in an economically
sustainable manner. This requires action by government, between government and industry,
and by industry. Industry has a critical role in addressing environmental issues at the source
and over the product lifecycle – in the manufacture and supply of ICT to government.

To this end, the challenge for industry would seem to be to identify and implement stronger
and more effective measures to make it a more environmentally friendly supplier of ICT to

Can the ICT industry:

5.2.1 Promote more visibility of ICT industry eco-design, recycling and reuse
ICT industry initiatives, including the initiatives of individual firms, can be showcased and
further promoted to government. Existing industry awards can be more widely promoted and
additional awards could be initiated. Industry associations are well placed to assist members
make information about ICT environment initiatives more widely available. .

5.2.2 Deliver greater participation in industry schemes and government
sponsored arrangements?

Many firms have active corporate responsibility programs. Through increasing participation
in industry and government schemes, firms can highlight how they are achieving better
environmental outcomes.

5.2.3 Develop ICT applications to assist in Product Stewardship initiatives?

Through using ICT software and devices, such as Radio Frequency Identification Devices
(RFID), there is an opportunity to track products through the supply chain and assist with
better managing Product Stewardship and cost effectively sharing responsibility for safe
disposal of ICT products at end-of-life.

5.2.4 Implement and report on arrangements for EMSs?
Through implementing and reporting on their EMS arrangements, firms can demonstrate their
operational environmental performance to customers. Some ICT firms have implemented an

5.2.5 Further coordinate activity across the ICT industry sector?

More innovative approaches can be developed by harnessing current ICT industry association
initiatives and those of individual firms, and coordinating these across the sector, resulting in
better outcomes.

5.2.6 Improve arrangements for sharing environmental responsibility over the
product lifecycle?

ICT industry associations are working with government in this area through Product
Stewardship arrangements. If existing ICT industry initiatives for sharing environmental
responsibility over the product lifecycle are bolstered and expanded then improvements in
environmental outcomes would be fast-tracked.

5.2.7 Provide further information about their products and services which are
claimed to be environmentally friendly?

More coordinated information about existing ICT products and services that meet relevant
International Standards or other credible environmental measures would help inform

5.2.8 Build on strategies to assist small retailers and enterprises that may not
be involved in large scale government procurement processes?

Compliance with credible environmental standards requires an investment by ICT firms. ICT
industry associations are in a position to inform and assist smaller enterprises to improve the
environmental outcomes of ICT products and services by knowledge sharing.

5.3    Options for Consideration: Broader Industry
ICT usage is increasing across all industry sectors. Beyond the ICT industry, there is
potential for other industry sectors to improve environmental outcomes arising from the use
of ICT.

Can industry:

5.3.1 Implement and report on arrangements for EMSs?
By implementing and reporting on EMS arrangements, firms would be demonstrating their
operational environmental performance to customers.

5.3.2 Report on the level of participation in ICT recycling schemes?

Industry participation in ICT recycling schemes would reduce the environmental impacts
from the unsafe disposal of potentially hazardous materials contained in ICT products.
Reporting on the level of participation in ICT recycling schemes would demonstrate the
commitment of industry to environmental outcomes from the use of ICT to consumers.

5.3.3 Step up and report on use of environmentally friendly ICT products and

Through using ICT products and services that are acknowledged to meet environmental
standards, industry can demonstrate leadership in achieving better environmental outcomes.
By reporting on the use of environmentally friendly ICT products and services industry would
show leadership in achieving better environmental outcomes from the use of the ICT.

5.3.4 Promote more visibility of its participation in initiatives to improve the
environmental outcomes from its use of ICT?

By promoting the visibility of its involvement in environmentally responsible use of ICT
products and services, including using ICT as an alternative to existing business processes,
the broader industry sector can lead by example and demonstrate corporate responsibility to
its customers.

5.3.5 Utilise ICT more effectively to reduce the use of other resources, such as
energy and materials?

Reductions in the use of resources required for travel and other business operations can be
achieved by implementing arrangements such as video conferencing, electronic
documentation and messaging, and online transactions.

5.3.6 Implement Triple Bottom Line reporting?
By reporting on environmental, social and economic operational performance, industry would
be well placed to build on the environmental outcomes it achieves through the use of ICT.

5.3.7 Develop industry-wide guidance for improving environmental outcomes
from the use of ICT?

Industry sectors could develop and promote guidance on specific strategies for improving
environmental results, including information on environmentally friendly ICT products and
services as well as ICT alternatives to existing business processes. The guidance could be
industry-specific, focusing for example on sectors, such as banking, travel or finance.

This discussion paper is available from AGIMO at:


The government welcomes comments and additional suggestions on improving
environmentally friendly ICT, and initiatives that will have a broader impact.

The government would prefer to receive comments in an electronic format.

Please provide comments by 22 October 2004

Email:        environmental.ict@agimo.gov.au

Post:         Mr James Shaw
              A/g Chief General Manager
              Australian Government Information Management Office
              GPO Box 390
              Canberra ACT 2601

For further information, contact:

Either:       Ms Deborah Hamilton
              Better Practice, Communications and IMSC Secretariat
              Australian Government Information Management Office

Phone:        +61 02 6271 1611

Or:           Ms Paula Williams
              Manager, Better Practice, Communications and IMSC Secretariat
              Australian Government Information Management Office

Phone:        +61 02 6271 1514

Follow-up Action

AGIMO will compile a report, based on comments received, with options for the
consideration of the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.


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