Australia’s landmark study of the benefits and effectiveness of product stewardship today released six new data reports to further understanding of how product stewardship can deliver environmental, social and economic benefits and provide businesses and government with a pathway to transition to a circular economy.
These reports provide an important and timely evidence base as governments, businesses and the community place greater emphasis on creating a sustainable future. The findings also confirm the importance of product stewardship being a major business-focused approach to design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials circulating in the economy, regenerate natural systems and decarbonise the economy.
The six reports are:
Evaluating Stewardship Benefits and Effectiveness, Summary Report which provides an overview of the research findings including extent of product stewardship activity, benefits, levels of engagement, challenges and future opportunities.
Product stewardship benefits assessment 2022: General population report based on a survey of 1,000 Australians to measure awareness and understanding of product stewardship. A key finding was that product durability and longevity are key purchase considerations for consumers.
Product stewardship benefits assessment 2022: Business report based on interviews with 600 Australian businesses which found businesses are most engaged with product stewardship activities that relate to the production stage of the lifecycle, especially consideration of improved material choices and responsible supply chain practices.
Product stewardship benefits assessment 2022: Local Government report based on a survey of 89 local government staff to assess awareness and understanding of product stewardship among staff and assess the nature of their engagement with product stewardship initiatives.
Effectiveness and Benefits of Product Stewardship: Themes from 60 Qualitative Interviews with Stewardship Actors and Experts. This report found the key environmental performance indicators reported ranged from diverting materials from landfill (e.g. material recovery, product repair and reuse, recycled content in products); preventing waste (e.g. making products more durable, dematerialising packaging); reducing greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. powering supply chains with renewable energy); and conserving natural resources (e.g. substituting virgin materials with recycled materials, using less water and energy).
Environmental, social and economic benefits of product stewardship initiatives in Australia: A survey of publicly reported environmental, social and economic performance data for 106 product stewardship collective schemes and individual business initiatives which provides insights into what makes product stewardship schemes successful. This data is made available on the Product Stewardship Gateway, a detailed database of existing and emerging product stewardship initiatives run by industry sectors and businesses in Australia.
All reports are now available on www.stewardshipexcellence.com.au.
The Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence and consortium partners will unpack the content in the six reports during three webinars in July and August.
• Product stewardship effectiveness – 13th July 1-2pm – Dr Nick Florin UTS ISF and Lina Goodman (Tyre Stewardship Australia)
• Business and consumer engagement – 20th July 1-2pm
• Performance metrics for product stewardship – 3 Aug 1-2pm
Register for the webinars via https://stewardshipexcellence.com.au/events/.
Study co-author Dr Nick Florin, Institute for Sustainable Futures, said the reports and webinars would be highly useful for policy makers, product stewards and business decision makers.
“This is the most comprehensive data set in Australia on product stewardship with insights around what stewardship has achieved and how it can be extended and made more effective,” Dr Florin said.
“There is an intense amount of policy work underway as Australia continues to search for answers to our environmental problems, including the impacts of production, consumption and waste generation. These reports can help inform the work of Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek’s Circular Economy Ministerial Advisory Group, the work of State Government environment agencies and for brands and industries looking for sustainable solutions,” Dr Florin said.
The studies were conducted by UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures in partnership with the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence. UTS was funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.
For more information:
Dr Nick Florin
Tim Powell 0411 725 595