What Sustainability means to WesCEF
We aim to operate our businesses in accordance with our ten sustainability focus areas. Developed in accordance with Wesfarmers community and environmental impact principles our focus areas are meaningful to WesCEF and its businesses, and ultimately influence cultural and financial outcomes.
Meeting these commitments will ensure we create value now and into the future.
Each year, WesCEF outlines key achievements in each focus area as part of the Wesfarmers Annual Report.
Employee Safety and Wellbeing
Keeping our people safe and ensuring their physical and mental wellbeing
Mental health and employee wellbeing remains critically important for WesCEF, and COVID-19 management added another layer of complexity. Many employees were forced to quickly adapt to working from home, which was a source of stress for some. There was also the fear of the unknown with the pandemic and what it may mean to individuals and their loved ones.
With a rising number of employees accessing WesCEF’s Employee Assistance Program, the existing health and safety support services were expanded to develop a new online resource hub offering information, courses, and tips about staying connected with others when working remotely. WesCEF doubled the number of counselling sessions available free to its team members and their immediate family members.
WesCEF introduced a fully revised Working from Home Policy for those employees that adapted well to working from home and wanted greater flexible working arrangements.
Completion of WesCEF’s mental health training increased, from 50 per cent of supervisors in the financial year ended 2020 to [11: 73; 12: 78] per cent in the 2021 financial year, and from 74 per cent of employees in the financial year ended 2020 to [11: 86; 12: 86] per cent in the financial year ended 2021.
Keeping employees physically safe at all times remains a priority for WesCEF, with a particular focus on events that have the potential to cause serious harm. These are known as high potential (HiPo) hazards and incidents.
The reporting of HiPo hazards (i.e. events that didn’t result in any harm, but could have under different circumstances) remained a key focus for WesCEF during the year, with [12: 1507] HiPo hazards reported, which is an increase of [12: 40] per cent compared to the previous year. During the 2021 financial year, WesCEF recorded [11: 20; 12: 20] HiPo incidents, most of which related to dropped objects. This represents an increase of [12: 43] per cent compared to the 14 recorded last year. While an increase in HiPo incidents is disappointing, WesCEF commends the year-on-year growth of HiPo hazard reporting which should reduce the likelihood of HiPo incidents occurring over time.
The HiPo risk management program is continually reviewed and was further enhanced during the 2021 financial year to expand the offering for critical control checklists which identify and check controls that, if not in place or not effective, could lead to a HiPo.
To further mitigate risks, WesCEF is planning to develop a set of performance standards for each HiPo risk and introduce multi-level verification activities next year.
Making a positive contribution to the communities in which we operate
WesCEF continues to support the local communities in which it operates. This investment supports long-term sustainability of its businesses and helps build a reputation as a good corporate citizen and employer of choice.
The focus in the 2021 financial year was on the environment and youth education. Despite a delay due to COVID-19, two major community partnerships commenced.
The inaugural CSBP Coastal Connections Challenge was initiated in March 2021 which was a youth-led event focused on solutions to real environmental issues affecting the coastal environment that culminated in June. Kleenheat partnered with Scitech to support local primary school teachers to develop their understanding of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) curriculum and produce practical STEM lesson plans.
STEM education and environmental sustainability will remain key participation areas for WesCEF next year.
Kleenheat and CSBP Fertilisers stepped in to support Kalbarri residents and near-by communities that were devastated by Cyclone Seroja in April with the donation of gas cylinders to evacuation centre residents, as well as organising employee volunteers to help rebuild fences on farms.
CSBP Fertilisers continued its long-running community grants program in regional Western Australia awarding a total of [12: $173,400] in the 2021 financial year; and sponsored an innovative study guide to attract and inspire a new generation into the Agriculture industry. The Visible Farmer Study Guide is based on 15 episodes of the award-winning Visible Farmer film project.
Working to reduce our environmental impact
Protecting the natural environment remains one of WesCEF’s priorities and ensures the future sustainability of its operations. WesCEF recognises that its businesses have an important role to play in addressing legacy waste and climate change and that its actions may deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits over the long term.
A continuing focus area in the 2021 financial year was legacy waste contamination investigations and remediation activities, including at WesCEF sites in Albany, Bunbury, Esperance, and Kwinana. Site Management Plans have been developed for all sites, and an integrity strategy developed for the inspection and repair of bund, sump and drain assets to reduce the risk of future groundwater contamination. Further investigation is required at the Kwinana site to inform future actions. These investigations and strategies are not only important in mitigating future risks, but they also contribute to WesCEF’s considerable environmental knowledge and understanding of local areas and how the business can continue to protect them.
WesCEF introduced its first Climate Change Policy this year as part of its aspirational target of net zero emissions by 2050.
To ensure Climate Change is managed across WesCEF’s businesses, a Climate Opportunities team has been formed. This team will lead the organisation’s development of a roadmap to net-zero scope 1 and 2 emissions including interim targets and milestones.
Continuing from recent years, WesCEF’s scope 3 emissions reporting will be further expanded to help the business understand its complete carbon footprint.
WesCEF is committed to investing in research and technology, renewable energy opportunities and ongoing energy efficiency improvements. The value of partnerships with research institutions and industry is acknowledged, and WesCEF is a founding member of the Australian Energy Transition Initiative.
Continued investment occurs at CSBP Kwinana to optimise the abatement effectiveness of existing catalysts in its nitric acid plants. This technology reduces nitrous oxide emissions (which have a global warming potential 265 times higher than carbon dioxide) by up to 85%. Nitric acid is used in the production of ammonium nitrate (AN), and WesCEF’s commitment to maintaining optimal performance of this technology reduces the carbon intensity per tonne of AN produced. This focus on emissions intensity reduction demonstrates alignment with targets established as part of the Wesfarmers Sustainability-Linked Loan and Wesfarmers Sustainability-Linked Bonds. These sustainability-linked financial instruments, effective from 2020 and 2021 respectively, are the first in Australia to be underpinned by environmental, social, and governance targets.
Development, Diversity and Culture
Cultivating an inclusive culture that values our people and their contribution
Building the diversity of WesCEF’s workforce, in particular gender balance and Aboriginal employee representation, contributes to the inclusiveness of the business’s culture and its success.
Compared to last financial year, gender balance overall has increased through the continuation of initiatives such as gender-balanced shortlisting during recruitment, a focus on developing an inclusive culture including the implementation of a working from home policy, and a focus on pipeline development roles.
The focus continues on building the number of women in core pipelines such as engineering, technology, and operations, with gender balance achieved (minimum 40 per cent) in development roles such as vacation students, cadets, graduates, and apprentices.
Inclusive Behaviours workshops were facilitated in the CSBP Sodium Cyanide operations to further explore inclusion in relation to LGBTQI+, Aboriginality, gender, and age.
As of June 2021 the total ATSI representation was 3.2 per cent of the workforce.
WesCEF was proud to hold its first Aboriginal Employee Network event across its numerous greater Perth based businesses. This bi-annual event offers the opportunity for Aboriginal employees to get to know each other, develop friendships, and support each other when needed. WesCEF also developed an Aboriginal Expressions of Interest candidate pool, from which managers can draw upon when a job opportunity arises. As of June 2021, there were 58 candidates.
Focus areas for next year include developing new partnerships with Indigenous organisations and the development of an employee onboarding video.
Ethical Sourcing and Human Rights
Take actions to minimise the risk of modern slavery occurring in WesCEF businesses and supply chains.
WesCEF is committed to take actions that seek to contribute to the primary objectives of the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018, to minimise the risk of modern slavery occurring in the division’s businesses and its supply chains. Unethical sourcing and modern slavery has severe consequences for victims, distorts global markets, undercuts responsible business, and can pose significant legal and reputational risks.
WesCEF’s focus on ethical sourcing and human rights in the 2021 financial year has led to the further development of its knowledge base and a clear operating framework. WesCEF takes a risk-based approach to this by reviewing its suppliers and the type of goods and services purchased.
This year, WesCEF established an ongoing relationship with a reputable external ethical sourcing and modern slavery consultancy. The consultant has assisted and guided WesCEF in terms of best practice in this area to establish a fit for purpose risk assessment questionnaire and tiered auditing program. This has involved the review and update of WesCEF’s Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) and the creation of desktop and physical audit templates to better assess ethical sourcing and modern slavery risks. The revised SAQ was sent to [15 June: 20] key suppliers to facilitate the first tier of the audit program. All the completed SAQ’s were reviewed by the consultant utilising standard methodology to evaluate the risk, with a full evaluation of findings and recommendations for improvements, including next steps, through the SAQ review letter. WesCEF, concurrently with its audit program, completed two physical audits with its Security and Cleaning suppliers.
The initial results of the first tier of the audit program has highlighted the immaturity of key suppliers understanding of the Modern Slavery legislation and WesCEF’s audit requirements. Addressing this will be a focus area for next year, to drive improvement, increase transparency, and ultimately eradicate modern slavery.
WesCEF’s education of its senior management team regarding ethical sourcing and human rights continues, with a further [15 June: 91], compared to 47 last year, having completed the training in the 2021 financial year.
Shipping, explicitly crew welfare, was highlighted as a high risk by Wesfarmers and Industry advocates in the 2021 financial year due to COVID-19 restrictions, and a working group was formed to work with regulators to determine how we can influence the human rights of crews.
Product Quality and Safety
Ensuring we meet regulatory requirements and operate in a manner that meets stakeholder expectations
By nature of its business, many of WesCEF’s products are hazardous. Products are transported in bulk volumes to numerous locations both domestically and internationally.
While WesCEF retains a high level of control around its products and transportation practices within its sites, the level of control is diminished once the product leaves the gate due to the introduction of other road users and environmental factors.
As a result, WesCEF uses specialised chemical transport contractors with approved licenses to carry dangerous goods. For its sodium cyanide products, transport management plans are established for all Australian routes and deliveries to 90 per cent of overseas sites.
WesCEF also uses custom-built containers, tankers, isotainers, and cylinders for its products. For example, solid sodium cyanide is triple packaged inside a sea container for transport via a bulk bag, inside a plastic bag inside a wooden box.
Technology continues to drive improvement in this area over time, and long-haul LPG and LNG prime movers are being fitted with head position monitoring technology to assist with the detection of driver fatigue.
WesCEF intends to further mitigate risks by continuing with ongoing driver competency assessments, as well as contractor audits focusing on compliance with chain of responsibility obligations.
Workplace Relations and Labour Management
Fostering positive workplace relations and maintaining employee engagement
The fostering of positive workplace relations leads to a strengthening of the employee/employer relationship, which maintains employee engagement. Engaged employees are healthier, safer, and deliver better business outcomes. WesCEF continually monitors its compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009 to safeguard its positive relationship with its employees and minimise risks.
Throughout the 2021 financial year, WesCEF focused on greater transparency and governance over the recording of hours by relevant parts of its workforce.
A new Hours of Work Policy was developed which sets out WesCEF’s expectations around how hours of work can be managed and recorded to ensure legal requirements are met.
Protecting the workforce during challenging times like COVID-19 is also part WesCEF’s efforts to maintain a trusted relationship with its team members.
Key COVID-19 safety measures were introduced including restricting non-operational employees on production sites, the segregation of shifts, the provision of additional crib facilities for contractors, and additional supply and usage of face masks.
A COVID-19 related employee survey showed employee confidence in the company’s response was 93 per cent favourable, and the business received a 99 per cent favourable response from participants who felt they knew what they needed to do to keep themselves safe and healthy.
The business makes flu injections available to all employees annually and will look to expand this service to include COVID-19 vaccinations if and when possible.
Chemical Safety and Hazardous Waste
Handling, managing and storing hazardous chemicals
Handling, managing and storing hazardous chemicals and the challenging waste streams associated with these operations are day-to-day tasks for WesCEF. Accordingly, the business is acutely aware of the health, safety, environmental and regulatory consequences if an incident occurs. WesCEF is committed to maintaining its licences to operate and responsibly reduce, reuse and recycle waste where possible, to continue operating sustainably.
Ongoing detailed monitoring, reporting and testing to meet safety and environmental regulations were undertaken in the 2021 financial year; and licence and legislation awareness training continued to be made available to relevant team members.
WesCEF generated a total of [11: 9,893; 12: 12,720] tonnes of waste in the 2021 financial year, [11: 72; 12: 71] per cent which was recovered. [11: 75; 12: 72] per cent of this total recovered volume includes nutrient-rich wastewater generated by the ammonium nitrate business, which is sent to a facility for use in composting.
The ammonia business has commenced a campaign focused on the disposal of spent catalyst from its production process. Some of the catalyst material is pyrophoric in nature, meaning it is unstable and may ignite at certain temperatures. The recommended treatment method for pyrophoric catalyst is via oxidation through either carefully managed exposure to air or submersion in water. The business is investigating a number of disposal options, including recycling.
As part of WesCEF’s continuous improvement mindset, a review will be undertaken next year of the internal and external audit programs which help support WesCEF’s compliance with its regulatory obligations, in order to increase management system functionality and effectiveness.
This continuous improvement approach also applies to ongoing review of its process safety performance. For example, following the ammonium nitrate (AN) explosion that occurred in Beirut this year, WesCEF took the initiative to complete an internal audit of its existing safety controls which confirmed that all legal and other international standards relating to the storage, handling and distribution of AN were being met.
Rethinking patterns of consumption, by eliminating waste and creating value for resources
WesCEF has adopted circular economy principles, to rethink patterns of consumption, by eliminating waste and creating value for resources including by-products of its processes.
The business has initiated a circular economy assessment to explore project opportunities including identifying the ability to reuse by-products, and supply by-products and waste to other industries.
Carbon reuse and sequestration opportunities also exist and there is also the possibility for innovative fertiliser products resulting from the treatment of wastewater generated by the business.
WesCEF hopes to implement viable circular economy projects next year including a pilot trial to test proposed waste reuse methods.
Ensuring sustainable water use and the management of wastewater, including reuse and recycling
Water security is critical to CSBP’s operations at Kwinana and the business’s long term water strategy aims to ensure sustainable water use, as well as the management of wastewater, including reuse and recycling.
During the year WesCEF secured additional volumes of industrial quality recycled wastewater from the Water Corporation’s Kwinana Water Recycling Plant, offsetting demand for scheme water and other less sustainable resources.
A review of groundwater abstraction bores has also commenced ensuring a reliable and secure supply of groundwater can be maintained. However, the water strategy also recognises that groundwater is becoming an increasingly scarce resource and alternative water supply options are actively being considered.
WesCEF manufactured a similar quantity of its water-intensive products in the 2021 financial year compared to last year, and accordingly, the volume of water consumed was relatively unchanged; [12: 4,412] megalitres in the 2021 financial year compared to 4,740 megalitres last year.
Read about some of our sustainability initiatives
Reducing WesCEF’s carbon footprint – Carbon & Energy
WesCEF’s recognises that in the manufacture of its essential products relied upon by society, it has a role to play in addressing climate change and reducing its carbon footprint for current and future generations.Read more
CSBP uses unsung technology hero to reduce emissions
CSBP has been utilising a traditional yet modern ‘unsung technology hero’ in its bid to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.Read more
WesCEF’s first Aboriginal Employee Network Kicks Off
WesCEF was proud to hold its first Aboriginal Employee Network event for employees from its numerous greater Perth based businesses in November 2020.Read more
CSBP’s wetlands rejuvenation improves wastewater management
The wetlands at CSBP Kwinana are being revitalised as part of a strategy to improve the business' wastewater management.Read more
Using the LoRa Network to monitor groundwater
CSBP is improving the way it monitors groundwater quality with the installation of smart remote sensorsRead more
CSBP Partnership Cares for Coastal Environment
Young people were empowered to take action to preserve their coastal environment in the Kwinana and Rockingham areas thanks to CSBP’s newest community partnership, the CSBP Coastal Connection Challenge (CCCC).Read more