1. Introduction

Around 70 per cent of Australia’s emissions can be influenced by infrastructure projects. 

The large scale and scope of infrastructure’s influence means a small number of innovative projects can be transformative in enabling Australia’s path to net zero emissions. Construction and operation of infrastructure is responsible for 15 per cent of Australia’s emissions. However, infrastructure can be linked to a much higher percentage of national emissions, because of the activities it enables. For example, emissions from the construction of roads and public transport are included in infrastructure direct emissions count, but they influence the emissions of cars, trains, buses and trams. The same applies for energy distribution. The construction of infrastructure generates a relatively small amount of emissions, but the transmission networks we have in place influence what type of energy is being supplied to other areas.

What we did

The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) partnered with Climateworks and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) to explore and define the role infrastructure plays in achieving a net zero emissions future. Embedding net zero emissions principles into the planning, designing, building and operating of infrastructure is a significant challenge, but doing so will mitigate risks and present new opportunities for reducing emissions.

Infrastructure can lay the foundations for Australia reaching net zero

Infrastructure assets built today will still be operating in 2050, when Australia and other countries are expected to reach net zero emissions under the Paris Agreement. Despite this, there is currently no consistent, formalised process in Australia for incorporating net zero emissions principles into infrastructure. Infrastructure bodies, government, investors, designers, builders and operators all have a role to play in embedding net zero emissions across all phases of an infrastructure project. We seek to engage all of these diverse groups to develop tangible solutions.

2. How we did it


Partnered with peak bodies

Our infrastructure team collaborated with ISCA and ASBEC to leverage industry experience


Researched key issues and present for industry consideration

Using extensive research and industry knowledge, an issues paper was developed to start conversations and gain input from key stakeholders


Engaged with major stakeholders

Stakeholders from government and industry across Australia were engaged for input and review at key project milestones

3. Our partners