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Environment
Sustainability Performance Report 2012 79
Environmental Risk
Introduction to environmental risk
The understanding and management of risk is crucial to
the ongoing success of any business. The management
of environmental risk is particularly important to AGL’s
businesses that regularly construct new plant and
operations, hold long-term leases on land used by third
parties for other purposes, and operate in sensitive
environments such as National Parks.
Approach
AGL’s approach to the identification of environmental risks is
consistent with the approach taken in the ISO 14001 Environmental
Management Systems standard. More broadly, AGL’s approach
to risk management, as outlined in the AGL Risk Management
and Assessment Framework, is modelled on the ISO 31000 Risk
Management standard. Risks identified via the ISO 14001 ‘aspects
and impacts’ approach are assessed from the perspectives of
‘inherent risks’, and ‘treated risks’ (which take into consideration
existing control measures). This approach enables AGL to identify
critical controls. It also helps identify where the highest residual
risks remain so resources can be targeted appropriately, or informed
decisions can be made about accepting certain risks.
AGL’s health, safety and environmental management system, Life
Guard, contains standards relating to Environmental Aspects and
Impacts and Risk Management. These standards provide high-level
guidance on the process for identification of environmental risks.
Vision for environmental risk:
AGL’s long-term vision is to
maintain an environmental risk profile that is ‘As Low As Reasonably
Practicable’ (ALARP). This requires continual improvement that is
driven by an understanding of risks, and a commitment and targeted
work program to reduce the highest risk items where practicable.
Drivers:
Issues associated with the use and management of water
resources are outlined on pages 86
to 90. The key environmental
issues of atmospheric emissions, noise, biodiversity and cultural
heritage and waste are discussed on pages 81 to 85.
Climate change risks are addressed in the Climate Change chapter
of this report.
Performance
AGL’s key environmental risks are systematically identified and
reviewed in workshops run in the Upstream Gas and Merchant
Energy business units. The workshops involve a diverse range of
operations personnel and environmental specialists. Given that
internal and external factors result in continuous changes to AGL’s
environmental risks, risk registers and actions to reduce risks are
regularly reviewed and, where appropriate, updated.
During FY2012, AGL’s significant environmental risks included
risks related to surface water, groundwater, biodiversity and the
management of historic land contamination. Work programs have
been developed to address these risks, and targeted actions have
been approved by senior leaders for implementation.
Some examples of activities completed in FY2012 to reduce
environmental risk towards ALARP include:
>> independent audits of performance against the environment-
specific standards and compliance guides of AGL’s HSE
Management System. Audits were undertaken at Torrens Island
Power Station, AGL’s Hydro assets, Somerton Power Station,
AGL Hydrocarbon Extractions LPG plant, Camden Gas Project
and Silver Springs, as well as corporate and retail sites. The sites
were audited against more than twelve standards and compliance
guides, including environmental impacts, ecosystem protection,
and waste management and minimisation;
>> development of environmental management plans for a number
of licensed sites within the Merchant Energy business;
>> a review of the adequacy of bunding (liquid containment facilities)
at select Merchant Energy sites;
>> training for key operational staff and leaders in environmental
incident management, in light of legislative changes impacting on
the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority reporting
requirements; and
>> the establishment of an AGL-wide environmental network, which
provides a forum for facilitating a consistent, risk-based approach
to environmental management across AGL.