Corder, G. D. and McLellan, B. C. and Bangerter, P. J. and van Beers, D. and Green, S. R. (2012) Engineering-in sustainability through the application of SUSOP®. Chemical Engineering Research and Design, 90 (1). pp. 98-109. ISSN 0263-8762
There are considerable challenges in developing new resource projects that meet the ideals of sustainability. The high-level principles of corporate sustainability policies cannot be easily integrated into project management systems or the everyday activities at operations. In addition, existing project management systems do not readily deliver the innovative solutions needed to address key sustainability issues, such as significantly reduced carbon emissions, minimal environmental impacts, and maintaining the societal licence to operate. SUSOP® (SUStainable OPerations) is an approach for the integration of sustainable development principles into the design and operation of industrial processes, which is being developed through the Co-operative Research Centre for Sustainable Resource Processing (CSRP). Somewhat analogous to HAZOP (Hazard and Operability Studies), the key aim of SUSOP® is to produce a holistic, systematic and rigorous set of processes for identifying, evaluating, and implementing Sustainable Development opportunities within the organising architecture of a sustainability framework.
This approach is currently being tested and enhanced through application to ‘live’ case studies in the minerals industry. The results of applying selected elements of SUSOP® to these case studies, both at the conceptual and pre-feasibility phases, have led to significant insights into the process of identifying and evaluating options for enhancing an operations contribution to sustainability and its long-term business case.
This paper discusses the need for an approach such as SUSOP®, presents the key outcomes from the development of SUSOP® to date with particular reference to the case study learnings, and highlights the practical ways for incorporating sustainability into project management systems.
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