The focus of this unit is on the consumption of resources. It looks at the amount used, the amount wasted and how to reduce waste. It requires a detailed knowledge of processes and resources across an organisation. It can also be applied across some or all of the value chain beyond the organisation.
The unit does not go beyond making recommendations for reducing waste. Other units apply to the next steps in making changes (see related units below).
In this unit of competency, as in many businesses, the term ‘resources’ has a broad scope. It includes electricity, fuel, water, raw materials and human capacity. Some of these clearly fit with the unit, for example, consumption of electricity and fuel. Others, including human resources, are less obvious. In this unit wasted human resources would be included where they impact on the consumption of more tangible resources, such as energy.
There is a ‘strategic’ aspect to this unit. This is about selecting the steps where there are high emissions and recommending options that will deliver improvements.
Mass and energy balancing may be required within this unit. These are techniques for calculating resource (materials or energy) use when it is hard to make useful direct measurements. It is included here simply as a tool to get at the required data. Other tools could be used or existing data could be used, if available.
As part of an AQF 5 qualification it is assumed that the learner will ‘… apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, judgement and defined responsibility in known or changing contexts and within broad but established parameters’. Read more about AQF qualification levels...
Contextualising the unit needs to take this into account. For example:
- ‘significant resources used’ will vary from organisation to organisation and maybe even department to department – for one organisation it may be electricity consumption and another wastewater
- there are different approaches to mass and energy balancing, with different levels of complexity; the technique to be applied will depend on the types of resources being used, the changes generated within the process being evaluated and the available data.
‘Emissions’ in this unit means any loss during the process – anything which enters the value chain and does not leave as part of the product; the difference between material entering a process and product leaving the process.
Many losses can be converted to CO2-e but it is not a requirement of the unit. However, CO2-e is a useful standard for comparing the impact of many different resources and options for improvement. Most waste in an organisation can be linked to wasted energy and/or materials, and therefore to emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). And all GHG emissions can be converted to CO2-e.
Other units can capture sustainability improvements that are not measured in loss/emissions, for example, MSS015008A Develop strategic sustainability plans.
1 Quantify resource consumption
This is about working out what is going to be analysed, then determining the consumption of each resource within that boundary. Consumption does not have to be quantified for every step in a process, but could be done that way. Or it could be done by grouping some steps together. So it is also about working out the ‘chunks’ to be measured. The unit assumes several chunks are worked on, because comparisons need to be made.
‘Determining’ means finding out. Often a direct measurement, such as reading a meter, is not feasible. So determining might mean doing calculations or looking up data that someone else has developed. Reasonable estimates are acceptable – estimates that are based on some valid and relevant data.
A number is the required outcome.
2 Quantify resource loss
Again a number is required for theoretical consumption, and this can be tricky. The range statement says ‘The theoretical consumption of resources is the amount of resources per product as defined by the customer multiplied by the rate of production’.
So, to take a couple of examples, if a garment weighs 5.3kg, and the customer wants 1000 of them, the theoretical consumption is 5500kg (or 5.3t) with any consumption in excess of this being waste.
The latent heat of fusion of iron is approximately 120kJ.kg-1, depending on the grade of iron. So, if the product requires 100kg of iron to be melted, the theoretical consumption of heat would be 120 x 100 = 12000kJ = 12MJ. Any heat supplied in excess of this is waste.
In a non-production environment this could mean the amount of time it should take to do a job, the number of pages in the report times the number of reports, and so on.
Obviously some estimates will be required as we probably won’t know all the required data precisely. The assumptions used for the estimates should be noted as they may become subjects of later projects.
Once the actual consumption and theoretical consumption are determined it is a simple calculation. Actual minus theoretical equals loss or emissions (waste).
3 Recommend strategies for reducing waste
Now the wastes need to be analysed. Which are most wasteful so their reduction might deliver greater benefit? What is causing them? What can be fixed and how?
Understanding the various types of waste (muda) can play a part here. Wastes such as rework and reject product, waiting and down time, can all result in resource loss and excess emissions.
This is partly strategic, and forms the basis for recommending improvements. There is no point spending time and money on something that is not very wasteful and ignoring the more wasteful, or focusing on a significant waste that can’t be addressed within the current budget, technology or other constraints.
Strategies for reducing waste will depend in part on knowledge of the process. But they can also include improved practices and changes to technology which will use resources more efficiently.
So, strategies might range from turning out the lights to having motion sensors which automatically turn them off to having more efficient light sources to having more natural light. A similar hierarchy can be applied to other resources.
4 Prepare resources use audit report
This is about reporting the data, implications and recommendations so it is a technical report and needs to be documented (not just presented verbally). The main concern here is to clearly convey the data and provide a logical description of the implications in order to support the recommendations. Many businesses will have a standard format for reports, so this should be used so long as it covers these requirements.
As an RTO your assessment must cover all of the requirements of the unit of competency, including Elements, Performance Criteria, Range Conditions and the new Assessment Requirements. While the Assessment Requirements can be downloaded (training.gov.au) as a separate document they are part of the complete unit of competency.
The Assessment Requirements comprise Performance Evidence, Knowledge Evidence and Assessment Conditions. The Performance Evidence and Knowledge Evidence sections are self-explanatory and go some way to defining the evidence that you need collect.
However, the unit does not specify the format or structure that evidence should take. In order to be applied in a range of businesses and sectors, it does not specify things, such as:
- which processes or portion/s of the value chain
- which resources to consider
- the sources of data, types of measurements and units of measurement to use.
This enables you to identify what is most relevant within a sector or business and use these within your assessment processes and evidence collection. For example, depending on the context part of the evidence for this unit could include:
- identifying chemical changes and/or electricity use within a process, quantifying emissions and converting these to CO2-e, if appropriate
- comparing measured amounts of known substances going into and coming out of a process (e.g. weights of chemicals or materials, volumes of water).
The Assessment Conditions define the conditions that must apply to the assessment process, for example:
- The collection of performance evidence is best done from a report and/or folio of evidence drawn from:
- a single project which provides sufficient evidence of the requirements of all the elements and performance criteria
- multiple smaller projects which together provide sufficient evidence of the requirements of all the elements and performance criteria.
- A third party report, or similar, may be needed to testify to the work done by the individual, particularly when the project has been done as part of a project team.
- Assessment should use a real project where the determination of the carbon footprint along a value chain or portion of a value chain occurs for an operational workplace.
Most units of competency require some skills that are ’embedded’ or assumed. These are required within the unit but are not spelled out in the elements or performance criteria or range statement.
In this unit they include:
- science (e.g. chemistry and physics)
- process mapping.
You need to take these into consideration in planning your resources and delivery. You will need to determine whether your participants already have these skills or whether you need to cover them in your training and skills development activities and your resource materials.
Assessment of the embedded skills is a given; they must be assessed because they form part of the unit. In other words, if the unit is assessed correctly it will automatically include an assessment of these embedded skills.
If the embedded skills can not be demonstrated additional training, mentoring or other skills development activities might be required. In some cases these might align to other units of competency.
In developing a training and assessment strategy you will need to customise the program and decide which units to package into your program and whether to group any units for delivery and assessment. You might want to cluster units, or integrate the content into modules or learning objects.
How (and whether) to group the units will vary depending on the needs of the participant, the needs and goals of the business and how it operates.
MSS015002 Develop strategies for more sustainable use of resources does not go beyond making recommendations. Further progress on the recommendations might be covered by other units, which might form part of the same job role. In this case the following units might be relevant:
- MSS015007 Develop a business case for sustainability improvements
- MSS015008 Develop strategic sustainability plans
- MSS015009 Implement sustainability plans
Where additional technical skills in measuring and calculating specific resource use and/or mass or energy balancing are required the following units might be relevant:
- MSS015001 Measure and report carbon footprint
- MSS015010 Conduct a sustainable water use audit
- MSS015011 Conduct a sustainability energy audit
- MSS015012 Conduct an emissions audit
- MSS015013 Conduct a sustainability related transport audit
- PMAOPS511 Determine energy transfer loads
- PMAOPS512 Determine mass transfer loads