In this issue

Issue 161


Assured sustainability reporting – navigating obligations
As the way in which organisations address environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues comes under increasing scrutiny, sustainability reporting is gathering importance and momentum. Yet reporting must be seen as a product of sustainable business practices, not the focus of it.
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No butts: a case for reducing cigarette litter
While the debate over branding on cigarette packaging hots up between the tobacco industry and federal government, John Byron reports that an interesting side issue regarding cigarette butt litter has been gaining interest behind the scenes, particularly in Canberra.
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Meeting challenges at the energy–water–carbon interface
The linkages between energy, water and carbon emissions run deep, and call for new ways of thinking about people and their environment. For example, desalination plants guzzle energy, and forests planted to sequester carbon reduce river flows. CSIRO climate expert, Dr Michael Raupach, shares some holistic, integrative approaches to humankind's use of energy, water and carbon.
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The National Business Leaders Forum: leading the sustainability business
Mr Kishor Chaukor, Managing Director of Tata Industries Limited, leads one of the most comprehensive and integrated efforts in corporate sustainability worldwide. In his first visit to Australia, Mr Chaukor addressed the National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development (NBLF) in Canberra, in June.
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Smartening up the grid
Experts are calling for an energy sector makeover – a ‘smart' upgrade of our ageing electricity grid to create a network that can better respond to changing supply and demand, and bring our electricity system securely into the future. It will require an integrated response involving researchers, industry, government and consumers.
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Green roofs and walls are growing up
Environmental roof and wall installations are in vogue across the country for their touted efficiencies and cosmetic attractiveness. Architects, engineers, landscape gardeners, horticulturalists and even ecologists are teaming up to advance the base technology in Australia.
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Assessing domestic electricity price rises
Australian household electricity prices have been rising at rates that outpace those in other advanced economies since at least 2007. The latest Climate Change Review report illuminates key drivers of rising domestic prices, and improves our understanding of the potential effects of carbonpricing.
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Climate change bulletin: South-trending warm current changes life in Tassie waters
Southern hemisphere ocean warming is already having a detrimental impact on the banded morwong (Cheilodactylus spectabilis), a long-lived south-east Australian and New Zealand fish species, according to a study recently published in Nature Climate Change.
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Ants and termites: our dryland farm heroes
Recent research on the role of ants and termites in dryland cropping environments suggests that they may be the unsung heroes of our marginal agricultural soils.
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The next chapter of Ecos reporting
This is the final print edition of Ecos as the magazine evolves to more regular online publication. We retrace some of the highlights of the magazine's long service as a national environment title, and cast forward to its online future.
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Science helps SA farm communities adapt to change
Agriculture is one of the industries most at risk from climate change in Australia. Much of our agriculture occurs on marginal country with increasingly unreliable rainfall and irrigation supplies. Add volatile commodity prices, increased global demand, rising energy costs, increased demands on land managers to protect the environment and biodiversity, new land uses such as biomass, and an emerging carbon market, and it's clear that Australian farming must change.
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Mapping the good earth
Soil is fundamental to crops. It provides the substrate that stores and provides water and nutrients, and the underground biology essential for plant growth. But as most farmers would attest, not all soils are equal. Scientists are collaborating to develop an online global soil mapping resource that will provide developing countries with more accurate information for managing land use, including food production.
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Good prospects for local wind-mapping company
Windlab is a renewable energy success story that began as a CSIRO spinoff in 2003. But, it hasn't all been plain sailing. Finding investors willing to plough money into a ‘risky' renewables venture proved a challenge; weathering the politics around renewable energy policy and carbon pricing has been another.
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Holding the thin green line
In 2003, Victorian park ranger Sean Willmore set off to record the untold stories behind the deadly work of fellow rangers across the world. The resulting documentary and foundation, The Thin Green Line, continues to help rangers who risk their lives guarding the world's protected wild areas.
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In Brief - Round-up of sustainability news

Synchrotron helping transform biosolids into fertiliser
Mining industry turns to saline water
Natural selection to improve wind farm design
Key nutrient to be sourced from plants, not fish
Biodegradable weed mats from farm waste
Super-strong, super-thin alternative to steel
Mapping to improve Kimberley fire management
‘Bio-derived' jet fuel industry achievable for Australia
Who should own oceans' IP?
Melbourne event an epicentre of seismic activity


Apps help argue the case for peer-reviewed climate science
The sky's the limit: first Australian green roof guide

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