The benchmark for sustainability has shifted

The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) has been working closely with the infrastructure industry in the development of the latest version of the IS rating scheme, IS Version 2.0 (ISv2.0).

This has been a collaborative labour of love for ISCA and the infrastructure industry, with the tool having been developed for the industry, by the industry.

ISv2.0 has been financially supported by public and private organisations including: Rail Projects Victoria, Level Crossing Removal Authority, Transport for NSW, The Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development and Cities, Queensland Government, The Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business, NSW Government Office of Environment and Heritage, CPB Contractors, Lendlease, and Liberty OneSteel.

The collaborative effort for the development of the tool wasn’t limited to financial contributions. 100 industry organisations invested more than 1,300 collective hours reviewing and updating the current version of the IS technical manual (v1.2), and fine-tuning the specifications related to the development of new themes, categories and credits.

“I’m not sure we’ve witnessed collaboration of this scale in the infrastructure industry before, we’ve had all players of the supply chain come together to develop a tool that delivers better outcomes. From top tier contractors through to material suppliers and delivery agencies of government,” ISCA Development Manager of ISv2.0, Nicole Boyd, said.

Alignment with United Nation’s sustainable development goals
ISCA takes a holistic approach to sustainability to ensure the planning, design, construction and operations of an infrastructure asset helps to deliver positive outcomes for society.

Infrastructure plays an important role in society and the IS rating scheme helps infrastructure projects and assets embed practical sustainability actions that contribute to achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The new version aims to challenge the infrastructure value chain to go even further in planning, designing, building and maintaining efficient and resilient assets,” ISCA CEO, Ainsley Simpson, said.

“The tremendous investment from industry has ensured that the tool is flexible, accommodating of the complex nature of infrastructure, and importantly, remains a credible third-party verified approach to demonstrating value for money.”

The benchmark has shifted
Since the Infrastructure Sustainability Rating Tool was first piloted in 2011 it has been widely adopted. Infrastructure projects and assets worth more than $80 billion in capital value have used the IS Rating Tool, resulting in over 120 rating registrations.

Almost all transport delivery agencies have mandated an IS rating on critical infrastructure.

“What was once considered an innovative approach to implementing sustainability initiatives is now becoming a business as usual practice. Over time we’ve seen infrastructure project rating scores increase and the level of sustainability performance lift,” Ms Boyd said.

“At ISCA’s core is a fundamental drive to push performance beyond business as usual, and with the benchmark shifting industry-wide so too is our rating tool with version 2.0.”

Major changes to the IS rating scheme include the addition of an ‘Economic’ theme, which consists of ‘Business Case and Options Assessment’ and ‘Benefits Realisation’ categories.

A ‘Resilience’ credit has been added to the ‘Governance’ theme, ‘Green Infrastructure’ is a new credit within the ‘Environment’ theme, and ‘Workforce Sustainability’ has been introduced to the ‘Social’ Theme (see Figure 1).

ISv2.0 represents a more holistic approach to sustainability and as such will be a step change for the industry. It will be difficult, but nothing great is easy.

ISv2.0 will be launched through a series of ISCA events across Australia and New Zealand throughout June and July, please contact ISCA for more details.

In-depth webinar trainings are already taking place, and if you would like more information, please contact ISCA at www.isca.org.au.

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