1. Introduction

Around 70% 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% 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’re doing

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'll get there


Partner with peak bodies

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


Research key issues and present for industry consideration

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


Engage with major stakeholders

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

3. Our team

Our infrastructure team has experience in engineering, science, sustainable development, analysis, journalism, economic modelling, policy, renewable energy, urban planning, transport and energy infrastructure and more.

4. Our partners