Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
At Shoal we understand delivering capability in complex environments can bring risk within projects, to our clients and our team. We strive to reduce risk in our delivery and have a positive impact on the community in which we operate.
Led by our company values, Shoal believes that ESG goes beyond sustainability and corporate social responsibility. It addresses the challenges we face as a company and how we engage with our staff, clients, suppliers and the community.
Our environment and sustainability
In 2021, Shoal became the first systems engineering firm to be certified Carbon Neutral by Climate Active, joining 180 Australian organisations that have proven that they are measuring, reducing and offsetting their emissions, with a net result of zero emissions.
Our journey towards certification began in 2019, inspired by our team’s discussion at an Ideas Club session. By 2020, we had measured our carbon footprint and were well on our way to gain certification through Climate Active. Today, our journey continues, with ideas and accountabilities to ensure that we incorporate consideration of our impact on the environment into our decision making.
We have made choices and changes in the way we do business to reduce our carbon emissions as much as possible. We then purchase carbon offsets to take responsibility for our unavoidable emissions and become carbon neutral. We drew from our company values to select our offset projects; self-awareness and sociability.
At Shoal, self-awareness means developing ourselves and each other. Sociability involves connection, building relationships and engaging with the community.
Shoal has a climate-conscious workforce, who are personally motivated to take action on environmental issues and enabled in the workplace to do the same. Carbon neutral certification is an important driver of workplace satisfaction and engagement, as well as another differentiator for new recruits. Some of the markets we operate in require evidence of environmental credentials, so accreditation has commercial benefits too.
Read more in our Public Disclosure Summary FY2020-21
As we also operate across Australia and New Zealand, we chose an offset project that involves climate action in both countries.
Shoal invest in offset projects where benefits extend beyond offset of carbon emissions, to reflect our values:
1. CECIC HKC Gansu Changma Wind Power project, Greenfleet
This 201 MW wind farm is located in the southwest of Yumen County, Gansu Province. This project adds 134 wind turbines with capacity 1,500 kW to the farm, which is expected to generate up to 431,949 MWh of clean electricity, annually, throughout its lifetime. This partially displaces electricity historically generated from grid connected conventional fossil fuel based thermal power plants, reducing emissions by 430,588 tCO2-e annually.
Greenfleet is an organisation that protect the environment and climate through reforestation activities in Australia and New Zealand. While Greenfleet is focused on environmental outcomes, they also have additional community benefits including job creation, community engagement and biodiversity and endangered species protection.
2. Tiwi Islands, NT, Aboriginal Savanna Burning Project, The Aboriginal Carbon Foundation
Savanna burning is a fire management method that reduces the frequency and extent of dry late season bushfires (prevalent in tropical savannas of northern Australia) by reducing the fuel load in a controlled manner and therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By practicing traditional patchwork burning in the early dry season when fires are cooler and by burning less country, fewer emissions are released and more carbon is sequestered in dead organic matter, soil, and plants, keeping the land healthy for the Tiwi people.
The Aboriginal Carbon Foundation is a not for profit that connects Aboriginal communities with organisations seeking offsets. They provide training for Indigenous rangers and support traditional land management. They deliver many core benefits including social, cultural, environmental, political, economic and community health. This savanna burning project provides local employment opportunities and enables the protection of local native flora and fauna, and importantly sacred sites.
One of our Values at Shoal is ‘sociability’. To us, sociability means supporting each other, seeking connections, starting conversations, building relationships and engaging with our community. As a team, we like to support causes (like the Cancer Council and Australia’s biggest morning tea, Movember, Foodbank drives and Rail RU OK? Day). One of the contributions we are most proud of is a project we call ‘Tackling Poverty Holistically’.
Tackling poverty holistically
In Australia, more than 116,000 people are homeless, more than 17,000 Australian children have no permanent home, 1 in 3 women experience domestic violence and 17% of children are living below the poverty line. To put our expertise towards supporting the community and make a real difference to many lives, Shoal’s team designed a project which aims to define the issues of poverty and hunger in Adelaide, using systems thinking methodologies; Tackling Poverty Holistically.
As a multidisciplinary Systems Engineering firm, our experts worked across a spectrum of technical disciplines to assist in capturing the problem space and understanding the needs of a social support system, current social systems and people’s interactions. We took steps towards determining opportunities and inefficiencies to design solutions beyond what is currently offered, meeting regularly, volunteering our time to progress our research and project aims. The team worked with Vinnies SA to redefine the provision of emergency assistance with a focus on targeted hand-up support, enabling people to take control of their own destiny.
Indigenous Action Plan Working Group
At Shoal we recognised that our Indigenous Action Plan needed to consist of relevant and tangible action items that would have real impact. We took inspiration from Reconciliation Australia’s dimensions of national reconciliation and have built an Indigenous Action Plan that focuses on two key objectives ‘Enhancing race relations through historical awareness’ and ‘Equality’. We will continue to evolve our action plan as we develop greater cultural awareness and understand the steps we can take as individuals and as an organization.
So far, we have embarked on a group knowledge sharing exercise to better understand the local Traditional Owners or Custodians of the lands where Shoal staff reside and work, so that our Acknowledgement of Country held real context and meaning and we be pay our respects by adding an Acknowledgment of Country to our meetings and events.
As a company that values education and ongoing learning, particularly in the field of STEM, our Indigenous Action Working Group members are undertaking cultural awareness training to help build towards a plan to provide meaningful educational opportunities to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
At Shoal we believe there is real value in even the smallest steps and hope to make a meaningful difference by driving positive change within our sphere of influence. We look forward to building on our action plan year after year as we go on the journey to collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures, and futures.
Shoal’s systems and processes allow us to manage operational quality and risk management.
Quality Management System
Our ISO 9001:2015-certified Quality Management System, encompasses industry best practice. This ensures that we will meet and sustain consistent quality outcomes across personnel, services, and deliverables to clients.
It is maintained through our corporate continuous improvement processes and is regularly audited internally, as well as externally to ensure continued compliance with ISO standards.
The Essential 8 is a list of essential cyber security mitigation strategies published by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). The ACSC recommends the implementation of these essential eight strategies as a baseline to make it harder for adversaries to compromise systems.
Shoal has committed to implementing the Essential 8 strategies and is working to ensure compliance. Through this commitment the company recognises the importance of ensuring the safety of our systems and protection from cyber threats for the benefit of our clients, the company, and our staff.