E123 – The Paris Agreement and the Building Industry – Sustainable Homes and Living Season E13

In this episode Frances is joined by Richard Earp, a passionate supporter of the environment and all things sustainability. Richard has been leading his company, Earp Bros, for years in meeting strict sustainability criteria. Frances and Richard discuss the Paris Agreement and the NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) and their impact on Australians and the materials they choose for their homes.


Guest: Richard Earp – Managing Director or Earp Bros 

Earp Bros is an Australian family-owned tile business. At age 13 Richard began working at Earp Bros during the school holidays. and has since worked in most areas of the company includingsampling, packing, merchandising and sales.  

During a 1998 visit to manufacturing plants in China, Richard realised the vast differences in manufacturing between countries and even within each country. This experience was the catalyst for the company’s focus on quality and environmentally responsible manufacturing. Aligning with the leading producers globally, Earp Bros was the first tile company to join the Green Building Council and the first to certifytiles with David Baggs’ Global Greentag certification system. (To learn more about Green Tag certification see our previous podcast episode with David Bagg – Episode 115- What is GreenTag and Why You Should Know About It). 

The practical experience gained through Earp Bros and his passion for tiles, has enabled Richard to add value to the industry. Particularly in the education of design professionals and with his active involvement in ceramic tile testing and certification systems to improve the built and natural environments far into the future.  

NDC – Nationally Determined Contribution 

The NDCs are an international credit system holding countries accountable for climate change mitigation. The NDCs are at the heart of the Paris agreement and the achievement of its long-term goals, forming the basis of how International Governments can communicate international targets.  

Each country prepares their NDCs and submits them every 5 years. The next round of submissions is 2025 and must be more ambitious than the previous..  

Australia submitted its first NDC in 2015 with an updated version submitted in 2022. The update commits Australia to reducing its emissions to 43% below 2005 levels by 2030. We’re currently at 22% reduction since 2005. 

Impact of the current NDC pledge on Australia and consumers 

Australia is 23% of the way towards our 2025 target. With the due date looming, we’re looking ahead to billions of dollars of government expenditure to reach our 2025 target to become a lower carbon emitting nation.  

Australia does very little manufacturing within the country, importing the majority of manufactured goods from overseas. The manufacturing countries will of course still create carbon emissions, essentially making it more difficult to reach carbon reduction targets of their own. In the future, governments may charge tax to unload carbon-emission expenditure recognised by the ITMO (Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes). 

Meaning that the consumers of imported products that have not been made in a sustainable environment will be paying for the carbon emissions created. 

Earp Bros have been involved in the Green Building Council since 2003 but the understanding of the general consumer is almost negligible. Earp Bros have actually seen government buildings remove green- certified materials and put non-certified green materials assumably to save on initial costs.  

Useful links:  

Earp Bros – https://earp.com.au/ 

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