CPB Contractors: Influencing and Accelerating Positive Change

CPB Contractors: Influencing and Accelerating Positive Change

We caught up with David Fox, Group Manager Sustainability at CPB Contractors. CPB Contractors are one of the gold partners for the 2018 IS Annual Conference, and David is the moderator of the Materials, Resources and the Circular Economy Panel. CPB Contractors's Julian Sharp will also be talking about the innovative use of recycled plastic in rail infrastructure at the Innovations and Impact Workshop.

What are some of the  ways CPB Contractors is demonstrating sustainability leadership?

Through leadership and collaboration, CPB Contractors is seeking to influence and accelerate positive change to protect and preserve the world around us. CPB Contractors has commenced a national Sustainability Awareness and Training Program to increase the knowledge and capabilities of our staff and promote the benefits of sustainability. Although open to everyone, the training specifically targets senior leadership, project managers, tendering teams and sustainability professionals.

In partnership with CIMIC Group’s engineering and technical services business, EIC Activities, we also recently organised two industry breakfast events in Brisbane and Sydney with independent think tank Beyond Zero Emissions advocating the need for the construction industry to initiate and adopt lower carbon concrete solutions.


CPB Contractors is one of the largest contractors in Australia there’s a huge opportunity to have a positive impact for people and planet. What are some of the ways you’re achieving this?

We understand that sustainability is about ensuring the long-term success of our projects, people, communities and ecosystems by integrating environmental, social, economic and governance factors into our decision making.

In the people space, CPB Contractors was the first corporate organisation to sign a 10-year commitment with CareerTrackers, providing internships to Indigenous university students. Since 2011, more than 100 Indigenous students have completed internships at our projects and in our offices, with many being accepted into the CIMIC Group Graduate Program or into employment with our company.

At project level, CPB Contractors is committed to reducing our impact during construction activities as demonstrated by recent Australian first initiatives including:

  • The first large scale use of EME2 Asphalt pavement
  • Use of hybrid solar powered generators
  • Implementing soft plastic recycling schemes
  • Reuse of crushed glass in road pavements and earthworks

What role do you see infrastructure playing in how we respond to climate change?

Infrastructure helps to shape our world, the way we move and interact, and the way we live our lives. Many of our projects are critical to the day-to-day operation of our cities and communities. But our climate is changing and the way we design and build has become critically important. For example, as climate change is forecast to cause an increase in the number and severity of extreme weather events, the infrastructure we deliver must not only mitigate these expected impacts, but provide adaptive solutions, such as carbon  sequestration, flood detention and consideration of emergency response scenarios to extreme events.


What does the industry in Australia need to do to realise the SDGs by 2030?

As a member of the CIMIC Group, CPB Contractors recognises the global commitment of governments and businesses to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Our commitment is reflected in CIMIC’s Sustainability Policy which notes that ‘the Group will abide by the principles of the UN Global Compact and acknowledges its role in contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.’

The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. They include ‘Global Goals’ and identified targets. Our industry can make a significant contribution to Goal #11 – ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’ by delivering sustainable infrastructure projects, and our industry can provide leadership to influence Goal #8 – ‘Decent work and Economic Growth’ through the procurement of sustainable products and mitigating against Modern Slavery in the supply chain. This will be a heightened area of focus with the implementation of Modern Slavery Legislation in 2019.

How are you currently deploying the IS tool on your projects and what have been the challenges. What learnings and successes have you had?

To date, we have deployed the IS tool on 21 projects, and achieved six ‘Leading’ and six ‘Excellent’ ratings.

Initially, awareness of ISCA was limited in some regions, however, with more than 100 staff trained as IS accredited professionals to date, ISCA has provided a common sustainability language and catalyst for sustainable decision making, which has resulted in stronger engagement and awareness across our project teams.

Senior Leadership promotion of sustainability, early integration on projects and engagement with suppliers and stakeholders, have been critical to the successful delivery of sustainable outcomes.


What project are you particularly proud of and why?

The Furlong Main Blackburn Heatherdale Level Crossing Removal Project in Melbourne achieved a Leading ISCA score of 80 which exceeded the contractual requirement of 65 and validated the many individual sustainable outcomes achieved on the project including:

Verified Australian First Innovations:

  • TRINET - the use of a polymer based drainage blanket
  • Biodiesel LED light towers
  • Remote area power supply – solar hybrid generator

Verified reductions:

  • 47% energy reduction
  • 65.5% water reduction
  • 21% materials reduction

The project delivered significant social sustainability outcomes including the social enterprise engagement of Yarra View Nursery Enterprise. 


How has using the ISCA framework helped to drive more sustainable outcomes for CPB Contractors?

The ISCA framework provides a common language to communicate sustainability targets, benchmarks and outcomes across our projects.

CPB Contractors has utilised the ISCA framework as a catalyst for sustainable decision making by mandating ISCA management methodologies within our Sustainability Management System.

To date, sustainability-focused decision making and benchmarking have assisted CPB Contractors to identify and implement more than 17 unique innovations, including nine Australian firsts and five state firsts.

What’s next for CPB Contractors in sustainability?

We look forward to further collaborating with our clients and suppliers to identify innovative and sustainable ways to deliver projects and further accelerate positive change within our environments and communities.

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