We ensure the resilience of our operations while minimising our impacts on the environment.
We responsibly and proactively manage all environmental aspects of our business through strategy, planning, and rigorous systems and processes. We commit significant resources to ensure that we can meet the expectations of our customers and other stakeholders.
We have several key environmental focus areas:
- Energy and Emissions (greenhouse gases, air quality and noise)
- Air Quality
Information about our management approach for each focus area can be found in the Management Approaches section.
NCIG is an energy-intensive business, and our Energy Management Strategy focuses on reducing operational energy consumption at the critical points of demand. We regularly review and identify energy savings opportunities/initiatives across our operation. We also support the development of renewable energy generation in Australia and a minimum of 10% of our annual electricity consumption is comprised by renewable energy supplied via GreenPower’s Large Generation Certificates (LGCs). GreenPower is the most highly regarded standard for offsite renewables in Australia.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
As part of NCIG’s commitment to optimising sustainable operations, we have identified and have a thorough understanding of the sources of emissions within our direct control. We report on our GHG emissions each year in accordance with the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGER’s). By focusing on reducing our directly controlled operational emissions (scope 1 and 2), we believe we have a feasible pathway to reach our target of net-zero operational emissions by 2030.
Reducing Our Emissions
NCIG is focused on reducing it carbon footprint by reducing its scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. Part of setting our ambition is developing a feasible pathway and an achievable target to reach net zero operational emissions by 2030, which is consistent with scientific evidence, our business strategy and our key drivers. We acknowledge the growing societal focus on the management and disclosure of scope 3 emissions and are working to fully understand our own scope 3 emissions footprint. We are committed to reducing associated emissions where feasible, affordable and within our control.
As a logistics service provider, we believe that our scope 3 emissions are not associated with the products that we transport, store or load on behalf of our customers. More specifically, since the coal we handle is not owned nor sold by NCIG, the emissions related to the product’s end use is beyond the boundaries of our scope 3 emissions. We recognise the steps that are being taken across the coal value chain to increase efficiency and reduce emissions associated with the use of coal. While our ability to influence is limited, we look forward to leveraging our position within the industry to continue to be an active voice and play our part in improving the sustainability of the wider coal value chain.
We understand that our operations have the potential to create dust and impact on local air quality. This could occur from our coal handling activities, use of unsealed surfaces, vehicle emissions or spontaneous combustion events. Our award-winning Integrated Dust Management System (IDMS) ensures our terminal’s dust emissions remain as low as possible. The system helps us to calculate stockpile moisture levels and uses weather forecasting and real-time weather data to activate our stockpile sprays before strong winds arrive. We monitor dust emissions and air quality at and around our site and publish our monitoring data monthly. The NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also regularly monitors dust management on Kooragang Island.
We recognise that our plant and the heavy machinery we operate have the potential to create noise at different times. Managing noise is therefore an important part of our daily activities. We regularly monitor our infrastructure assets noise levels and maintain our machinery to keep noise impacts to a minimum. We implement a noise monitoring program which includes noise readings in the residential communities of Mayfield, Stockton and Fern Bay, which are located 2km from our facilities on Kooragang Island to check that our operational noise emissions are within approved limits.
Water is an important focus area for NCIG. We are committed to sustainable and responsible water management practices and reducing water usage where possible. Stormwater captured onsite is recycled and reused for operational purposes such as dust suppression and cleaning of machinery and conveyors. We also carefully manage our activities to avoid adversely impacting the water quality within Newcastle Harbour. This is achieved through the operation of our site water management system, which includes purpose-built stormwater holding sumps and ponds that are used to improve stormwater quality following rainfall prior to reuse on-site.
NCIG is committed to protecting and enhancing the local ecology within our facilities and within the adjacent Hunter Estuary Wetlands. Listed under the Ramsar Convention, this area includes the Kooragang Nature Reserve, and is home to several threatened species and communities, including two critically endangered migratory shorebirds (the Eastern Curlew and Curlew Sandpiper), and a threatened species of ground-dwelling tree frog native to Eastern Australia (the Green and Golden Bell Frog).
Our ecological enhancement activities focus on increasing the habitat value of existing biodiversity through active management and collaborative partnerships. Our biodiversity monitoring and maintenance program features a 78-hectare landscaped wetland precinct, which provides a core aquatic breeding habitat for the endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog. Our Compensatory Habitat and Ecological Monitoring Program (CHEMP) has been developed to offset impacts to local ecology, including to the endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog. Our long-standing partnership program with the University of Newcastle supports an Amphibian Research Group, post-doctoral studies, and provides a refuge for migratory shorebirds. Our CHEMP is highly successful with regular recordings of breeding events of the vulnerable frogs, and the return of the critically endangered shorebird, the Eastern Curlew. We have also won several local and national awards in recognition of our biodiversity programs that deliver enhanced ecological outcomes.
NCIG sustainably manages waste and the resourcing of materials. We have a strong tradition of limiting waste to landfills and our strategy applies the principles of Avoid, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We also prioritise achieving the best end-of-life use for the products and materials used at our terminal. NCIG manages 20 different waste recycling streams, including soft plastics, metal, paper and cardboard, e-waste, and machine waste such as conveyor idlers and belts. We also strive to close the loop through our purchasing practices, for example by buying products that have been made from recycled products, when available. An example is our purchase of recycled plastic dunnage, (durable padding material used to protect goods during shipping), which replaces timber and steel.