It has been more than a decade since Transurban published its first Sustainability Report. Since then, while the business has been shaped by opportunities and challenges in Australia and internationally, we have reported on the progress of our sustainability goals.
In our first sustainability report, we highlighted our commitment to understanding our impacts on the community, customers, employees, other stakeholders and the environment and ‘doing something about them’. This commitment has not changed and to this day remains the foundation of our sustainability strategy.
For the last several years, we have progressed our sustainability goals by delivering projects aligned with three strategic pillars: be good neighbours; use less; and think long term.
To us, being good neighbours means listening to the community, our customers, government and business partners and investors and working to create shared value. Over the past financial year (FY17) we put this focus into action across all of these stakeholder groups.
We focused on enhancing our customers’ experience of our service on and off the road by introducing new apps and disrupting ourselves by trialling a new mobile tolling product, LinktGo, that removes the need for an account or a tag. We have also focused on our customer service approach, including assisting customers who are in hardship situations and waiving fees for new customers who are not familiar with the tolling system through our first time forgiveness and account opening programs.
Across the business, we continued to progress our gender and cultural diversity efforts and were pleased to receive international recognition by Equileap, as one of six companies globally that reported no significant gender pay gap. We also released our second Reconciliation Action Plan, which sets the way forward for our business to deepen cultural awareness and education, create employment opportunities and career pathways for Indigenous Australians.
Over the year, we continued to engage widely with communities as part of the major network development projects we are progressing with our government partners, including the CityLink Tulla Widening and West Gate Tunnel Project in Melbourne, the Logan Enhancement Project and Inner-City Bypass Upgrade in Brisbane, NorthConnex in Sydney and the 395 Express Lanes project in the Greater Washington Area.
This last project provides a ready example of how we work with our government partners to help achieve broader transport policy outcomes. In line with our support for transport networks that integrate road and public transport services, the 395 Express Lanes Project, which we are progressing with the Virginia Department of Transportation, will provide the first sustainable funding source for public transport in the area. A historic $15 million has been committed annually which will be used to enhance public transport options along the I-95 and I-395 corridors, such as new bus and rail services, park-and-ride lots and transportation demand management programs.
Across our business, our highest priority is ensuring our people and customers get home safely. We are focused on providing a healthy and safe environment for our employees, contractors, customers and the community while minimising impacts to the environment. In May, we were deeply saddened by the fatality of one of our contractor’s employees on the NorthConnex project. Transurban has worked closely with the Contractor, Lendlease Bouygues Joint Venture to support the family, and with Roads and Maritime Services and our NorthConnex Project team. We continue to work closely with all of our contractor partners across our road assets and projects to ensure that the highest levels of safety are achieved.
Under the use less pillar, we are proud to announce a major greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction commitment to halve our GHG emissions by 2030. This ambitious target is driven by our desire to tangibly contribute to the globally-agreed target of limiting global warming to two degrees. Work to implement a comprehensive range of energy efficiency measures is underway with a focus on ventilation and lighting systems.
Thinking long term is our final sustainability pillar and underpins our approach to the design and delivery of new road and enhancement projects. In FY17, the CityLink Tulla Widening and Gateway Upgrade North projects achieved ‘Excellent’ Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) ratings from the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia, for their sustainability performance at the design phase. The NorthConnex project was awarded a ‘Leading’ design rating and is the highest IS rated road project to date.
Through our Motorscapes program, we completed two projects that regenerated disused sites near CityLink in Melbourne and the Hills M2 Motorway in Sydney. This program demonstrates how we are rethinking the role motorway corridors can play in the community and delivering carefully planned projects that enhance local ecology and urban design through the installation of public art.
As technology continues to reshape urban mobility, we continue to work with a range of organisations to prepare for the eventual arrival of connected and automated vehicles. In FY17, we partnered with the Victorian Government in a series of trials to understand how these vehicles will interact with motorway infrastructure and the social issues associated with their safe adoption.
This year we were pleased to maintain a ‘World Leadership’ position in Dow Jones Sustainability Index and to be recognised as the leading transport infrastructure company in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark. Sustainability is a global opportunity. Through our commitment to road safety, diversity, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and road projects, and our focus on climate change risk, we are now helping to address seven of the United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. We will continue to track and report on our progress towards these over the years to come.
Chief Executive Officer