Environmentally Sustainable Work Practices

Environmentally Sustainable Work Practices

  1. Which statement about WHS is true? ü
WHS legislation is important for businesses to know, but it is not directly linked with implementing and monitoring environmental sustainability.
PCBUs have a duty of care to ensure, where reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of workers and others is not put at risk when carrying out work duties. ü
WHS is only the responsibility of management as managers implement and monitor WHS standards and practices.
WHS laws are set at a federal level. There are no state or territory WHS laws.


  1. Which of the following is an appropriate method for an organisation to use to help it comply with relevant environmental legislation. ü
Make staff responsible for writing organisational policies and procedures.
Issue all staff with environmental information, pamphlets or posters that describe the devastating state of the globe.
Implement a quality management system including undertaking a benchmarking process to achieve best practice. ü
Hire only employees who have an excellent knowledge of sustainable practices and legislation.


  1. Before you can improve work practices to become more sustainable and help meet compliance obligations, what do you need to do? X
Set SMART goals and targets for resource usage.
Apply continuous improvement strategies to key business activities.
Collect and analyse data on the organisation’s current resource usage.
Undertake research to obtain ideas for improvement, including liaising with stakeholders. ü


  1. Which statement is true? X
External benchmarks are useful tools for an organisation to use to analyse and assess their performance against best practice.
Codes of practice are mandatory and ensure organisations achieve best practice. ü
Internal tools such as SOPs and KPI tracker sheets are all an organisation needs to monitor progress and assess for improvements.
Sustainability is defined purely in terms of the natural environment.


  1. Which is most useful in analysing your organisation’s current level of waste? ü
Install CCTV cameras to monitor where waste is occurring.
Review SOPs to ensure efficiency.
Conduct a waste audit. ü
All these options are correct.


  1. Which can help provide structure and clarity to the process of data collection and monitoring? ü
An environmental impact report.
An environmental audit.
A data collection plan. ü


  1. Collecting and documenting information on current purchasing strategies involves which steps? X
Examining supplier bills, selecting the cheapest supplier and setting KPIs.
Identifying the business need, conducting a risk assessment, seeking and evaluating alternative solutions, awarding the contract, managing the contract and disposal of goods.
Defining the problem, generating alternatives, evaluating and selecting alternatives, implementing solutions and following up results.
Setting benchmarks, obtaining standards accreditation, displaying accreditation and seeking suppliers who belong to the same standards scheme. ü



  1. After collecting and monitoring data on current resource usage, what do you need to establish to have something to measure your improvements against? ü
Codes of practice.
Baseline data. ü
QA systems.


  1. Which statement about stakeholders is true? ü
Stakeholders can be internal or external and can be broken into primary and secondary stakeholder groups. ü
Seeking input from stakeholders complicates the decision-making process.
Stakeholders are external groups or people.
Stakeholders are people who have financial investment in your organisation.


  1. If you’re having difficulty in measuring, monitoring and evaluating your current resource usage, what would be your best course of action? X
Conduct a sustainability audit.
Apply the problem-solving steps again and involve stakeholders in the process. ü
Conduct a team meeting to discuss options.


Source tools, techniques and advice from a range of sources such as government websites, standards accreditation organisations and environment agencies.


  1. Before implementing solutions to workplace environmental problems, what problem-solving steps should you undertake? ü
Define the problem, evaluate alternatives, implement ideas, and then monitor them.
Define the problem, generate alternatives, and then evaluate and select alternatives. ü
Establish a baseline, seek alternatives, and then implement them.
Generate alternatives, evaluate and select the best ones, then seek advice from external stakeholders.


  1. Goals and targets for efficiency improvements should be SMART. What does the acronym SMART stand for? ü
Strategy, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Targets.
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Right, Time-based.
Strategy, Monitoring, Achievable, Right, Targets.
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based. ü


  1. The ongoing effort to improve products, services and processes in all areas of business is known as what? ü
Best practice.
Continuous improvement. ü
Quality assurance.


  1. To help give your environmental resource efficiency plan or sustainability plan structure and relevance to your organisation, what could you do? ü
Use data from energy management and tracking software.
Ensure that every employee receives a printed copy of the plan and conduct relevant training.
Have an external standards or accreditation framework organisation write your environmental plan.
Use a sustainability framework such as the GRI, CERES, or The Natural Step and clearly link the plan to the organisation’s vision and strategic plan. ü


  1. Which would be the best approach to support your office to ‘go green’? X
Regularly conduct waste audits and reprimand staff who are not making improvements.
Implement strategies suggested in the Green Office Guide available from the Australian Government’s environment website.
Closely monitor and assess the daily activities of employees to find areas of wastage.
Use only recycled paper. ü



  1. Your team has come up with the following suggestions to improve waste. According to the waste hierarchy, which is the best option? X
Reduce waste by using refillable containers and dispensers for cleaning chemicals.
Recycle the containers the cleaning chemicals come in.
Train staff to use fewer chemicals and to dispose of the empty containers in the recycle bin.
Reuse the cleaning containers in other ways, such as making pot plant holders out of them. ü


  1. Your organisation wants to run an environment improvement event in the local area. Which option do you think is most important to secure local support? ü
Put an advertisement in the local newspaper inviting local people to attend the event.
Start a blog and post information and updates on what your organisation is doing with the event, and then invite stakeholders to read the blog and provide ideas and suggestions.
Form an environment team to plan and organise the event.
Create an environment committee and invite key stakeholders to participate in the committee so you can seek suggestions, ideas and support from stakeholders. ü


  1. To calculate the costs and savings of resource improvement strategies, an organisation can work out the payback period of the sustainability initiative. What does this calculation involve? X
Adding the investment costs and then dividing this total by the total net annual savings the sustainability initiative generates.
Dividing the initial purchase price by the total net annual savings the sustainability initiative generates. ü
Calculating the total savings the sustainability initiative generates over its period of use.
Calculating the direct and indirect costs of the sustainability initiative and guessing how long the initiative will last for in years and months.


  1. Which is a monitoring tool or method? ü
KPI target tracker spreadsheets. ü
Capital expenditure procedure.
A vision and mission statement.
Version control register.
  1. You need to provide feedback to stakeholders and employees on sustainability initiatives. Which could be considered a form of feedback? X
Providing the team with access to reports.
Environment team and department meetings.
The annual business report.
Asking employees to keep a record of their observations. ü


  1. If you want to measure how well environmental initiatives have been adopted by staff and understand their attitudes and potential barriers to sustainability, what could you do? ü
Use quantitative measures, such as KPI trackers, to assess improvements.
Conduct qualitative research in the form of an attitude survey.


Conduct a staff meeting and ask them.
Review targets set for your environment action plan.


  1. Which statement is true? X
Monitoring is the sole responsibility of management.
The monitoring process includes evaluating strategies, applying continuous improvement processes and setting new efficiency targets.
Establishing specific monitoring methods is the first step in the monitoring process.
Feedback should focus on providing information to management only, as they are the ones who make decisions on what to improve. ü


  1. Your team has been successful in meeting KPIs for sustainability improvements. What’s important to do to keep the passion for sustainability alive? ü
Set new KPI targets that will really stretch the team to achieve, as this will help motivate them.
Post updates on the intranet of the success of strategies and highlight the terrible outcomes the environment will suffer if people don’t adopt sustainable practices.
Celebrate and promote awareness of successful strategies and reward people involved in achieving the targets. ü
Run regular meetings where you discuss the importance of sustainability.

TASK B – Short answer


·         You are to answer all questions.

·         Read each question carefully.

·         Ensure you have provided all required information.



SECTION 1: Investigate current practices in relation to resource usage

Q1:         Outline the role of federal, state and territory legislation in environmental sustainability.

The role of federal, state and territory legislation in environmental sustainability is to implement the environmental protection and biodiversity conservation act 1999 which major piece of environmental legislation which focuses on the protection of matters of national environmental significance such as heritage protection and biodiversity conservation. State and territory governments are responsible for matters of state and local significance an often involve the issuing of environmental licenses and permits.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q2:         What role does the local council play in environmental sustainability? Discuss.

Councils regulate the local by laws that individuals and business must comply with. Sometimes they are specific to an area and other times they are regulated on behalf of the state government. These are who engage with the stakeholders.

Satisfactory ☐    Unsatisfactory ☐

Q3:         What is the benefit of having codes of practice?

  • Improvements in the health and wellbeing of service users.
  • Improvements in commissioning and provision of services.
  • Competent and highly trained workforce.
  • Compliance with current policy and strategy.
  • Achieve value for money and efficiency savings

Satisfactory ☐    Unsatisfactory ☐



Q4:         Discuss the relevance of WHS legislation to environmental sustainability.

We are committed to complying with all relevant WHS legislation and our management system will aim for the elimination of work related injury and illness. The policy aims to: Achieve an accident free workplace. Provide safe plant and systems of work. WHS requirements could impact on the way you implement and monitor environmentally sustainable work practices. WHS requirements include: Identifying hazardous substance and dangerous goods codes, safe operating procedures and SDS.

Satisfactory ☐    Unsatisfactory ☐


Q5:         Quality assurance is one of the principles of quality management. What does quality assurance mean and                 how can it help an organisation comply with environmental regulations?

To implement systematic analytical tools and techniques that allow for the control and monitoring of quality service or products standards. These systems helps business prevent error and assure that its possible and services are of a consistently high standard.

Compliance involves ensuring that your organization meets all requirements of legislation regulations. Codes of practices and that SOPs designed to achieve compliance are complete and effective. Compliance requirements can vary depending on the industry, type of industry and the size and structure of the organization. All relevant environmental sustainability legislation such as environmental protection or biodiversity conversation act. Environmental protection regulations. Codes of practices, including resources hazards and risks associated with a work area, job descriptions and duties specifications and SOPs.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q6:         What is benchmarking and how can it help an organisation comply with environmental regulations?

Benchmarking is the continuous search for and adaptation of significantly better practices tat leads of superior performance by investigating the performance and practices of other organizations. In additions, it can create a culture to facilitate the change process. Benchmarking involves researching competitor processes to examine practices. In use with the aim of adapting modifying and applying the best of these practices to your own organization. It’s searching for and developing what’s considered best practices in any company in any industry anywhere in the world so you ca use it within your industry.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐


Q7:  Compliance auditing involves reviewing and checking the organisation’s systems, processes and SOPs and how                 they adhere to regulatory guidelines. List three (3) aims of compliance auditing.

1.       Determine the effectiveness of monitoring and controls in place
2.       Identify the areas of non-compliance or potential exposure to risk
3.       Review the work environment to see how policies, practices and SOPs comply with relevant legislation.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q8:         What sort of information should be assessed when looking at an organisation’s resource efficiency systems                 and procedures?

Resource efficiency is all about doing more with less. It means streamlining processes to limit the consumption of energy, water and materials, as well as reducing waste.

1)      A plant nursery invests in water saving devices and composts food scarps from local cafes, reducing landfill.

2)      A paint manufacturer switches to more environmentally friendly chemicals and improves their wastes disposal processes.

3)      A commercial kitchen switches to using a sanitizing agent for washing produce and substantially reduces their waste bill.

Satisfactory ☐    Unsatisfactory ☒

Q9:         Where can you go for help, information and assistance in collecting, monitoring and evaluating resource                 usage?

1)      Resource usage reports.

2)      Government departments: – www.australia.gov.au website for links to state and territory services and a range of environmental sites.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q10:       What is life-cycle mapping used for?

Life-cycle mapping can be used by any type of business to understand the environmental impact of their operations from raw materials to end of life.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q11:       What does life-cycle mapping involve? List the steps.

Step1: -Map out all the activities that go on in your business

Step2: -Working on one activity at a time from step1, break down all the processes that go into that activity.

Step3: – Map out the potential environmental impact of each of these activities. This is often presented on a spreadsheet or table.

Step4: -Develop strategies to minimize potential environmental impacts identified.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q12:       A waste audit is a common method used to measure and document waste produced by a department                 and/or organisation as a whole. Briefly outline the steps involved in a waste audit.

1)      Plan your audit: -Define the scope and objective of the waste audit, including the timeframe, locations to be audited and the people who will take part.

2)      Collect background information, including the number, types and location of bins and who empties the bins.

3)      Collect the waste. Label bags showing waste location and date collected.

4)      Transport the waste to a designated sorting area. The sorting area should have scales , a first kit, cleaning products and plastic coverings over tables.

5)      Sort the waste: – Weigh each bag fist, then sort into different materials. Count and weigh materials recording the data.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q13:       Discuss two (2) methods that could be used to collect and monitor energy consumption in a workplace.

Measure your Carbons Emission: – There are many online calculators designed to help you calculate and reduce your carbon footprint. Simply type carbon footprint calculator into your internet search engine browsers and gain access to the many online tools and software options available.

Monitor Equipment Usage: – Keep a log of equipment usage. Monitor frequency of use, thermostat temperatures and maintenance logs.  Consider purchasing electrical meters. You can purchase these for business or the home. They are relatively inexpensive means of monitoring power usage. They are simple as using a double adaptor. Plug it into the power point and the appliance into the meter. Record data on your collection plan to compare over period of time.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q14:       What are the six (6) steps in analysing and documenting current purchasing strategies?

1.       Identify the business needs
2.       Conduct a risk assessment
3.       Seek alternative solutions
4.       Award the contract
5.       Manage ongoing contract
6.       Determine goods disposal

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q15:       Steps in the data collection and analysis process for resource usage involve collecting data, analysing data,                 identifying key business activities and estimating resource usage and waste generation. What step is                 missing? Explain this step.

The missing step is “Establish a Baseline”

1)      Create a baseline data. This is the data you will use to measure your improvements against

2)      Data should be current i.e. no more than 2 years old.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q16:       What is the benefit of using a data collection plan?

  • Provides for quantification of process performance from which data-driven decisions can be made
  • Provides structure and consistency around data to be collected
  • Data can be variable (continuous) or discrete (attribute)
  • Provides a common language that enables learning


Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q17:       When you review current work practices, systems and SOPs to identify areas for improvement, what questions can you ask? List two (2).

1.       Where can resource use be reduced or streamlined?
2.       Can waste generation be reduced?

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

SECTION 2: Set targets for improvements


Q18:       Why is involving stakeholders in issues of environmental sustainability important to your business?

It is important to involve stakeholders because it helps to make the final decision. They have good business sense and demonstrate ethical and social responsibility. It also demonstrates transparency. The creation of an open, honest company culture.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q19:       Imagine you are on an environment team and chair a stakeholder committee as part of your role. Why is it important to be familiar with your organisation’s structure and decision-making processes?

It is important to be familiar with your organization structure and decision making processes because it helps to know where decision making authority exists within the committee and where the reporting line go outside the committee. Clearly defined decision making process structure and processes are essential to effective work operations.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q20:       When evaluating solutions to workplace environmental issues, what factors should you consider? List four                 (4) questions you could ask.

1.       How will it affect customers and staff?
2.       What re positives and negatives of each option?
3.       How well will this solution meet the objectives
4.       What resource will ne needed?

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q21:       Write an example of a SMART target for resource efficiency, such as reducing energy consumption or landfill.

Reduce CO2 emissions progressively to meet the requirements of the Carbon Management Plan

(Specific – published in CMP; Measurable – in EMS returns; Attainable – realistic targets set in CMP; Relevant – base for future savings and investment; Time-bound – publishing date)

• Provide a metering strategy by 2010 across the College which allows monitoring of energy consumption to the required detail and accuracy

(Specific – specified to minimum of TM39 standard; Measurable – Checked against TM39; Attainable – complete; Relevant – required for efficient energy monitoring; Time-bound – programmed completion)

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐



 SECTION 3: Implement performance improvement strategies

Q22:       Outline four (4) tools or techniques an organisation could use to achieve a ‘green office’.

1.       Purchase equipment with energy star logo on it. This equipment has many energy saving features such as the ability to power down or sleep when not in use.
2.       Use recycled paper
3.       Have recycle bins placed near the photocopier and printers
4.       Use energy management software to switch off equipment and lights when not in use.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q23:       Explain how an organisation can use carbon offsets to help achieve its efficiency targets.

This is achieved by purchasing carbon offsets to counter balance the level of greens house gases their business emits. One carbon offset represents the reduction of one metric tons of carbon dioxide r its equivalent in other greenhouse gases. Reductions can be achieved by reducing or removing greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. The Australian government introduced the National carbon offset standard on 1 July 2010 to provide guidance on what is a genuine voluntary carbon emissions offset and to set the minimum requirement for calculating and auditing your carbon footprint to become carbon neutral.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐


Q24:       The concept of continuous improvement involves an organisation-wide commitment to making incremental                 improvements in processes, products and services. List five (5) strategies or components of continuous                 improvement.

1.       PDCA Cycle
2.       Kanban System
3.       Six Sigma
4.       Total Quality Management

Satisfactory ☐    Unsatisfactory ☐

Q25:      Outline what should go into a resource efficiency or sustainability plan.

Determine your vision and direction by organizing your plan in terms of a sustainability framework. There are several framework your business can use:

1) Triple bottom line Reporting

2) Global reporting initiative

3) The natural step framework


Satisfactory ☐    Unsatisfactory ☐

Q26:       Getting employees committed to the sustainability plan can require a change in attitudes and work                 processes. Outline how you could use Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change to building commitment to                 the sustainability plan.

Kotter’s defined 8 step processes are as follows:

1. Establish a sense of urgency

– Examine market and competitive realities.

– Identify and discuss crises, potential crises or opportunities.

– Create the catalyst for change.

2. Form a powerful coalition

– Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort.

– Develop strategies for achieving that vision.

3. Create a Vision

– Create a vision to help direct the change effort.

– Develop strategies for achieving that vision.

4. Communicating the Vision

– Using every channel and vehicle of communication possible to communicate the new vision and strategies.

– The guiding coalition teaching new behaviors and leading by example.

5. Empowering others to act on the vision

– Removing obstacles to change.

– Changing systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision.

– Encouraging risk taking and non-traditional ideas, activities and actions.

6. Planning for and creating short term wins

– Planning for visible performance improvement

Recognizing and rewarding employees involved in these improvements.

7. Consolidating improvements and producing still more change

– Using increased credibility to change systems, structures and policies that don’t fit the vision.

– Hiring, promoting, and developing employees who can implement the vision.

– Reinvigorating the processes with new projects, themes and change agents.

8. Institutionalizing new approaches

– Creating the connections between new behaviors and corporate successes. – Developing channels to ensure Leadership development and succession.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐


Q27:       Calculate the payback period of energy and ink-saving printers your organisation wants to install.

First, calculate the total costs.

Initial investment $
Six printers 5,400
Disposal of old printers 200
Total costs 5200
Net savings ($ per annum)
Energy cost reduction 1,000
Reduced ink usage costs 1,500
Less annual maintenance (200)
Total net savings 2,300


Next, use the total costs to calculate the payback period.

Next, use the total costs to calculate the payback period.

5200/2300=2.2 Years

Satisfactory ☐    Unsatisfactory ☐


SECTION 4: monitor performance

Q28:       List the steps involved in the monitoring process.

1)      Establish what needs monitoring

2)      Establish specific monitoring methods

3)      Compare what is happening to what should be happening and reduce variations

4)      Evaluate strategies and improvements plans.

5)      Provide Feedback

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐


Q29:       What tools and techniques can you use to help monitor performance?

Information used to measure KPI target achievement such as supplier invoices for water and energy consumption, surveys and checklists

Energy management tracking and reporting software and equipment

Waste audits


KPI tracker spreadsheet.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐


Q30:       Is there a place for qualitative research in assessing the performance of sustainability initiatives? Explain.

Yes, to understand the employee attitudes and behaviors is paramount to addressing potential barriers to sustainable practices. This is where some qualitative research can be beneficial. Gathering data through an attitude survey can help pinpoint areas t address. Share results with staff and display in graphs and tables.

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q31:       Briefly describe three (3) ways an organisation can communicate and review progress on its sustainability                 initiatives and improvement plans to stakeholders, including employees.

1.       Progress of strategy implementation to be reviewed at monthly environment team meetings
2.       Environment team to generate a quarterly environment progress report for management
3.       Strategy an targets to be reviewed and updated every year

Satisfactory ü     Unsatisfactory ☐

Q32:       Discuss four (4) ways you can reward staff for successful progress towards sustainability initiatives.

1.       Provide tickets or reimburse public transport costs
2.       Arrange for employees to have lunch or light refreshments included at the next meeting
3.       Hand out company certificates and letters of acknowledgement
4.       Reward teams achievements with small gift such as movie tickets or chocolates.
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