Australia's Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association said greater consumer awareness of environmental issues prompted it to launch a sustainability framework for use by member firms.
A spokeswoman for Melbourne-based PACIA said the new Sustainability Leadership Framework for Industry document covers areas like water and energy use, transport efficiency and other elements of the supply chain.
``It's an easy-to-use guide for members to incorporate into their business strategies,'' she said. They can keep the guide on their desks, and it will be updated as required, she added.
The voluntary framework was developed in response to growing market demands for sustainable business operations. At the guide's June 16 launch, 29 of PACIA'S 240 member organizations had signed up for it, including Basell Australia Pty. Ltd., a subsidiary of plastics and petrochemicals maker LyondellBasell Industries AF SCA of Rotterdam. PACIA will encourage other members to adopt it, and a training program will be launched before year's end, according to the spokeswoman.
She said the framework was supported by partner organizations such as the Australian federal government's Department of Climate Change, the Victorian state government's Environmental Protection Authority and the New South Wales state government's Department of Environment and Climate Change.
Basell Australia, based in Melbourne, produces polypropylene resin at plants in Geelong and Sydney.
Geelong site manager David Stannard said the firm spent A$150 million (US$143) upgrading that operation, with the lion's share devoted to establishing an energy-efficient, in-house propane/propylene splitter. The separation process previously was done at a feedstock supplier's site, but the Geelong facility uses 85 percent less energy than the old splitter, he said.
Stannard said the five-year plant upgrade, completed in 2006, also delivered a lift in total annual production from 170 million pounds to 315 million pounds.
He said the company is committed to sustainability and continual improvement.
In April, Basell Australia became the first plastics manufacturer in Australia to sign a covenant with the Victorian EPA.
Under the agreement, both parties, plus PACIA, will investigate how to incorporate sustainable business principles into company operations through product innovation and greater resource efficiency.