In October 2021, Coates launched its first sustainability strategy. This milestone acknowledges sustainability as a driving force behind Coates’ current and future business success, and supports its vision to be the market leader in safe, smart and sustainable equipment solutions.
Coates’ strategy is based on five pillars – Our People, Our Communities, Resilience, Eco-efficiency and Greener Choices – centred on meeting its people, planet and profit responsibilities. Setting clear greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets is a critical first step in delivering on this approach.
“Together with Seven Group Holdings (SGH), Coates is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040,” says Sheridan Jones, GM Corporate Communications and Sustainability at Coates. “This target aligns with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius. To set Coates up for success, interim Group targets have also been agreed.”
The launch of the strategy, titled ‘Towards sustainability, the smart way’, follows an extensive period of internal engagement, external research and benchmarking against industry peers. As part of this collaborative process, Coates was fortunate to partner with Dr Leeora Black, a leading authority on sustainability and CSR in Australia.
“Dr Black worked closely with Coates to guide the development of this strategy,” Sheridan explains. “Dr Black’s involvement provided assurance that our strategy would be best practice, and that it would help to achieve our broader aims for business growth, customer enhancement and positive society-wide benefits.”
Coates’ business model and many existing sustainability initiatives are already underpinned by circularity principles. The sustainability strategy provides an opportunity for Coates to continue to build on this approach.
“Like many of our top-tier customers, circularity is now at the heart of everything that we do,” says Sheridan. “Coates is a natural participant in the circular economy, and this strategy allows us to grow this focus and leverage some of the things that we already do quite well.”
As well as being a natural fit for Coates and highly relevant to its customers and stakeholders, circularity is also central to where many other economies are headed. “This approach is fundamental to the European Circular Economy Action Plan. It’s also used by many governments around the world, and many of our European equipment manufacturers are moving in this direction too.”
Offering greener choices is an important sustainability focus for Coates. “This theme speaks directly to our customers and addresses the many challenges they face in working sustainably and achieving their sustainability goals,” says Sheridan. “It’s also an area that we continue to prioritise and invest significantly in.”
As part of the strategy, Coates will continue to grow its fleet of sustainable equipment solutions and help empower customers to make greener choices. Coates will also establish circular system plans for all major products and leverage IoT-enabled telemetry to reduce the carbon footprint of its fleet and customer operations.
Another strong theme that emerges in this strategy is Coates’ desire to build resilience and to help people and communities prepare for, and recover from, unexpected challenges.
“In researching this strategy, we discovered an overwhelming sense of pride internally around the way Coates supports the response to bushfires and other natural disasters, and how we continue to work with and support customers throughout the pandemic.
“Our sustainability strategy builds on the compassion of our people, fosters our focus on giving back and directs how we support our customers and communities when and where they need us the most,” says Sheridan.
To coincide with the strategy launch, Coates also recently announced the formation of the Coates Foundation. This initiative creates a framework around the company’s charities of choice and allows Coates to measure its social impact. As a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), Coates can also provide disaster relief training Australia-wide.
Alongside the development of this strategy, Coates established the necessary reporting and governance structures to ensure its integrity.
“We’ve aligned our sustainability strategy with global climate charters, key customers and stakeholders and with industry best practice,” says Sheridan. “In conjunction with Seven Group Holdings (SGH), we’ve developed the reporting and governance framework and identified how we contribute to, and report against, GRI standards.”
Coates’ sustainability strategy is a proactive response to the many global and industry trends and challenges that impact its business and stakeholders today. And while Coates’ hire and solutions business model and approach are already inherently sustainable, this strategy stretches Coates into new areas of focus to meet growing customer and stakeholder expectations.
“Something that I love about this strategy is the way that it builds on what Coates is already doing, and what we value as an organisation,” says Sheridan. “The title of our plan points to the important journey that Coates and its customers are embarking on – it’s about focusing on things that are bigger than us as an organisation, by not just doing well but also doing good.”
Reach out to find out more, or download a copy of ‘Towards sustainability, the smart way’
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