Sustainability is a moving continuum. It is about changing the way we use products and services to reduce the long term impact on living ecosystems and the demands on limited natural resources. Given that virtually all existing processes of production and consumption have some degree of environmental impact, sustainability is essentially a process of continual improvement. Within this framework, it is vital to identify and promote products and services that lead the way. This may take the form of independent accreditation, recognition within an industry sector as best practice, or a demonstrable point of technical differentiation or business management. This indicator is designed to help identify market leaders (offering environmental benefits) at a given time and within any given sector. Sustainable Choice supports and promotes independent environmental certification programs and encourages suppliers and customers to utilise these tools to help differentiate products.
The precise nature of any sustainability benefits (in addition to any claimed by selecting other indicators).
Independent environmental certification or accreditation (such as AAA rating, energy star rating, Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) etc.).
Recognised best practice within your sector against comparable products, as demonstrated by industry awards etc, awarded by independent bodies.
Demonstrated environmental leadership within your community and sector through policy and practice.
Emphasising the social pillar of the quadruple bottom line, ethical leadership is highlighting businesses or products which are of a charity nature, support return to work programs, disabled workers initiatives, companies against discrimination and those who support fair trade and working conditions for their employees and throughout the supply chain. Sustainable Choice supports and promotes independent fair trade certification programs and encourages suppliers and customers to utilise these tools to help differentiate products.
The nature of the ethical leadership (i.e. Fair Trade certified products, or charity etc)
Provide evidence of Fair Trade or ethical certification
Recognised best practice within your sector agains comparable products as demonstrated by industry awards and formal recognition
Supporting our local economy is key to making the Sustainable Choice, buying locally may be within your council area, regional organisation of councils, state or country. Depending on the product, it may not always be possible to purchase wholly as Australian manufactured and processed as some items or a proportion of the product may be imported due to availability constraints. Australian made is defined as manufactured or supplied locally and takes into account transportation impacts and whether local community is being supported.
Provide certification evidence of being Australian made
Provide documentary evidence as proof of manufacture and transport distances to clients as compared with competitors.
Provide evidence of locally manufactured or supplied as compared with industry.
Contains Recycled Content
Choosing products with recycled content helps reduce the demand for limited virgin resources. Recycling many products such as glass, iron and aluminium requires less energy and water than manufacture from virgin sources. Recycling also diverts waste from landfill. Some materials such as metals and glass can be recycled indefinitely while others such as paper and plastics deteriorate with each cycle and can only be recycled a limited number of times. Partly for this reason, some recycled products contain a percentage of recycled content and a percentage of virgin material. While in some instances this may be necessary to achieve performance requirements, as a general rule the higher the percentage of recycled content the higher the sustainability value.
The nature of the recycled material (i.e. glass, plastic) and if relevant the component containing recycled material (i.e. the aluminium frame, or the plastic seat).
The percentage of recycled content i.e. 50% recycled 50% virgin material.
Any other relevant information that may support your claims of sustainability such as details of the source material, whether the recycled content was post consumer waste, etc.
Information regarding the virgin content of the product, if available, i.e. from sustainably managed sources.
Approximately 60% of greenhouse gas emissions in NSW come from the generation, distribution and use of electricity. When energy associated with fuels and transport is added, this figure grows to almost 80%. Choosing products that use electricity and fossil fuels more efficiently helps reduce energy demand and cut greenhouse gas pollution. Switching to bio fuels and renewable energy generating technologies (such as solar and wind) can help even further. Energy saving products are those that consume or use less energy to achieve the same results using standard comparable products or services. This may include products that avoid energy use. Included are low energy end-use appliances (such as CFL light bulbs, energy star rated white goods and IT equipment, etc) building products used to improve energy efficiency in construction (i.e. insulation, electrical fittings, etc.), renewable energy technologies (such as solar and wind) or any product able to demonstrate clear and significant energy savings in the manufacturing process. (See below)
The nature of the product along with details of how it saves energy.
The approximate percentage of energy saved compared to standard comparable products.
Any relevant energy saving rating such as Energy Allstars.
If you are claiming energy saving benefit as part of the manufacturing process, you must provide clear and compelling evidence detailing the energy savings.
The use of water for cities and irrigation has depleted many of our waterways and water restrictions are now a common part of life in many parts of NSW. Using water as efficiently as possible is essential. Water saving products are those that consume or use less water to achieve the same results as standard comparable products or services. These include end-use appliances (such as AAA rated taps, showers, dishwashers, etc), products used to recycle water, storm water or reticulation systems and water distribution and irrigation product. Other products that may qualify are those able to demonstrate clear and significant water savings in the manufacturing process. (See below)
The nature of the product along with details of how it saves water.
The approximate percentage of water (and/or volume of water) saved compared to standard comparable products.
Any relevant water saving rating such as AAA.
If you are claiming a water saving benefit as part of the manufacturing process, you must provide clear and compelling evidence detailing the water savings compared to comparable manufacturing processes.
Choosing products with minimal carbon impacts or reduced carbon within the industry by way of manufacturing and / or transport impacts.
Demonstrate how your product is low carbon or carbon neutral comparable to other products.
List which areas of carbon impact your product or service avoids when compared with other comparable products or services.
Include any supporting documentation to support your claims of low carbon or carbon neutrality.
Toxic substances such as some chemicals, asbestos and radioactive material are those that disrupt the processes of living organisms. They can be extremely harmful to human health and the environment, contaminate soils, air and waterways and cause injury, illness or death. Some substances are toxic at virtually any level, while others are only toxic above certain concentrations. Toxics may exist in solid, liquid or gas form and should be avoided wherever possible. Any reference to nontoxicity includes both substances embodied in a product such as lead in computers monitors and/or substances produced as a result of the product being used i.e. off gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Demonstrate how your product is less toxic than comparable products (i.e. you cannot select this indicator if most comparable products are also non toxic).
List which toxic substance your product avoids when compared with other comparable products.
Include any supporting documentation to support your claims of less/non toxic.
Minimal Environmental Impact
The production and use of some products has a direct impact on specific habitats and species. Some products attempt to reduce this impact. Examples include organic food production, sustainably managed forest products, sustainably harvested wild foods, chemical free cleaning processes and products specifically designed to coexist with, and have minimal long term impact on living ecosystems. This indicator is designed to capture these products and sustainability benefits.
The precise nature of the product and demonstrated sustainability benefit or feature.
A clear indication of how and where the benefits manifest themselves. (i.e. where in the product's lifecycle and/or in which ecological footprint/habitat).
Sustainable Choice Champion
This indicator is designed to showcase best practice, continual improvement, innovation and overall sustainability ambassadors of an individual business. It is an indicator provided to overall Sustainable Choice Champion businesses and promotes a step further from offering individual sustainable products to total business management in a Sustainable manner.
A clear description of the features and the benefits being claimed including how and where they are achieved and monitored throughout your organisation.
The precise nature of the business operations and management of demonstrated sustainability benefit.
Evidence of total sustainability throughout all aspects of business operations (i.e; how this is monitored, evaluated and improved on an annual basis).
A clear indication of how and where the benefits manifest themselves (i.e. quadruple bottom line and lifecycle analysis).