Drinks industry puts environmental sustainability at centre of ambitious post-Coronavirus recovery blueprint

Posted by Media Release Agency on 14th September 2020

The Australian non-alcoholic drinks industry has launched an ambitious post-Coronavirus recovery agenda to complement the Australian Government’s pro-growth and pro-jobs policies, identifying nine key areas for positive change, to help business and the wider economy get back on their feet quickly.

Underpinned by a commitment to support widespread economic rebuilding and recovery, the report compiled by KPMG Australia details a number of proposals that have broad appeal beyond the drinks industry, including harmonisation of Container Deposit Schemes [CDS], incentivising key groups to meet sustainability goals, increasing recycling infrastructure, reforming the tax system, simplifying the industrial relations system and improving energy policy.

‘As the drinks manufacturing and supply industry continues to adapt to the challenges caused by the Coronavirus, the industry will continue to be focussed on more efficient use of resources through more sustainable practices and by minimising its environmental footprint,’ said Mr Geoff Parker, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council.

‘This will be achieved in partnership with governments through targeted action. As a priority, governments must ramp up the harmonisation of CDS and fast-track the development of reprocessing and remanufacturing infrastructure to handle post-consumer beverage containers and other waste here in Australia to close the domestic loop,’ added Mr Parker.

The KPMG policy report identifies the potential in extending CDS to all sectors that use and generate recyclable waste that would lead not only to higher job creation, but contribute to a more efficient and well-functioning national recycling industry in Australia.

‘Where possible, steps should be taken to increase the efficiency of existing and planned infrastructure, including CDS that is found in, or planned, for every State and Territory,’ said Mr Parker.

‘The drinks industry supports the Australian Government’s focus on creating incentives and infrastructure at every step of the waste supply chain,’ added Mr Parker.

The KPMG report also highlights high and volatile energy costs borne by businesses across the country, which negatively affects the manufacturing sector, reduces the competitiveness of Australian industry and makes sectors particularly vulnerable during times of crisis.

‘There is broad recognition by the industry of the government’s efforts to transition towards renewable energy, but there is also a need for increased incentives to adopt sustainable energy and co-generation schemes that focus on reliability and efficiency of energy supply as highlighted in the KPMG report,’ said Mr Parker.

The Australian Government supports the non-alcoholic drinks industry’s initiative in proposing key reforms and commitment to minimise its environmental footprint even further while investing in infrastructure that provides economic, environmental and social benefits to communities across the nation.

‘This report is very welcome and timely, and more industries should be thinking about the many opportunities that exist to capitalise on the Morrison Government’s strong commitment to supporting the circular economy,’ said the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, the Hon. Trevor Evans MP.

‘The partnership between industry and the Morrison Government is a clear sign that collaborative solutions are available to support economic recovery while meeting sustainability objectives,’ added the Assistant Minister.

The Australian Beverages Council will continue to consult widely with a range of industry and government stakeholders to increase understanding of the proposed reforms.

‘The non-alcoholic drinks industry welcomes other sectors to join the Australian Beverages Council in supporting long-term reform and commitment to the economic recovery of Australia following the pandemic,’ said Mr Parker.

The full policy report can be found here.

Mr Geoff Parker is available for interview about the industry’s policy reform blueprint and the response to the COVID-19 crisis.