Leadership in times of change by Vik Bansal

Industry Updates

May 7, 2019


Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director, Vik Bansal explains how changes in global markets are driving positive change for the waste and recycling industry and how every stakeholder is playing a role.

The waste industry has, of late, been the target of much (often understandable) scrutiny – both from the media and regulators. Whilst it may be uncomfortable, I believe it is a good thing for the industry, employees, investors – and of course for the community.

I am a firm believer that in times like this it’s more important than ever to understand why we do what we do. Our mission ‘to make a sustainable future possible’ remains at the core of who we are. It drives not only what we do – but more importantly, how we do it.

We know that global markets have shaken the recycling industry, creating a ‘crisis’ in local commodity markets, leading to much of this increased media scrutiny. It may create unrest within the industry but I absolutely believe that this unrelenting focus on our industry will force long term positive social change.

Not only does it increase pressure on less ethical operators, but it also brings to the fore the behaviour changes we need to see within the community, on how we all deal with the waste we create.

If harnessed properly, this ‘crisis’ could well set Australia on the path to a more sustainable future. It could energise the political will to create more markets for recycled goods, ensuring that the material Australia uses is collected, processed and then re-used to manufacture new products here in Australia.

Without the creation of an onshore circular economy, supported by an increased focus on the packaging we consume each day – placing more responsibility with the manufacturers to consider how and where their products end up – much of our effort to improve recycling will go to waste.

It is this dialogue – made possible through the increased scrutiny – that excites me. I know that we are in the right place, at the right time, with the right people to make a difference.
Along with a clear view of ‘why’ we exist – I am also confident in our corporate strategy, which will help us to navigate and indeed thrive in the current environment.

We know what we need to do and how we need to do it. We know that it is only as a strong, ethical business, that we will be able to help influence the change that Australia needs to make.
We developed a 10-year road map in 2015 – Footprint 2025 – to ensure we have the right infrastructure in the right places to deal sustainably with the waste Australia generates well into the future.

We are also ready and willing to input to the broader strategies and policies that Australia needs to drive real solutions for lasting change.

Martin Luther King, Jr said that “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” I believe this to be just as true for a business as for an individual. And I am proud to represent a business which stands at the precipice of a monumental social change, which could positively impact generations of Australians to come.