Mr Chris Smithies

BEnvMgmt, BBusTech, MAppSci

Principal Environmental Scientist and Country Manager, Lao PDR


Chris has a varied professional background, having worked predominantly in project management roles in the horticultural and construction industries. He has also worked as a home sustainability assessor for the Australian Government. Chris is Earth Systems’ Country Manager for Lao PDR, where he has lived for many years. He has key experience in the social and environmental due diligence, corporate responsibility, and environmental and social impact assessment.

Education and Affiliations

  • Master of Applied Science (Environmental Management and Sustainable Water Management), Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Bachelor of Environmental Management and Bachelor of Business & Technology, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
  • Apprenticeship in Horticulture, Hobart, Australia
  • Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ), National Students and Early Careers Committee

Professional History

  • 2014 to present: Country Manager, Lao PDR, Earth Systems
  • 2012‚Äď2014: Environmental Scientist, Earth Systems
  • 2009-2013: Combat Engineer, Australian Army
  • 2009-2010: Home Sustainability Assessor, Australian Government
  • 2005-2009: Project Management, Construction industry
  • 1994-2005: Gardener/Landscaper (Horticulturalist)

Fields of Special Competence

Project management; business development; environmental monitoring, environmental and social research; renewable energy, sustainability assessment, horticulture and agriculture.

Representative Experience

Some examples of Chris’s recent roles and projects include:

  • Due Social / Environmental Due Diligence and Plantable Area Estimation Project, Lao PDR. Key tasks: Planning and project management
    for project implementation; design and conduct of district and village level surveys and village focus groups; data collection and analysis; stakeholder engagement.
  • Rapid assessment of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in six sectors of the Lao PDR. Key tasks: Desktop research, identification
    of, and engagement with, key stakeholders, assessment of options to further foster CSR in Lao PDR and a presentation of key study
    findings at Lao National CSR Conference.
  • Nam Ngiep 1 Transmission Line, Lao PDR. Key tasks: Client interface, biodiversity assessment, environmental impact monitoring,
    stakeholder engagement, report preparation.
  • Manufacture of Earth Systems second generation mobile pyrolysis technology, Victoria, Australia 2014. Key tasks included: All aspects
    of project management throughout the build.
  • Regional Renewable Energy Feasibility Study for the Grampians Region, Victoria, Australia. Key tasks: Social impact research, data
    analysis and report preparation.
  • 100% Renewable Communities: Renewable Energy Opportunity Assessment for Murchison and Kyabram, Victoria, Australia 2013.
    Key tasks: Regional renewable energy resource assessments, social impact research, Renewable energy technology review, report
  • NECMA Biochar Project, Victoria, Australia. Key tasks: Operational support during prototype construction, resource procurement,
    biochar production and testing, preparation of biochar MSDS.
  • Meredith Dairy Renewable Energy Project, Victoria, Australia. Key tasks: Design of biomass supply chain, report writing, preparation
    of grant application.
  • Phonsavanh Mining Project, Lao PDR. Key tasks: Data analysis of noise impacts in the proximity of the mine.
  • Auscott Cotton Biochar Project, Victoria, Australia. Key tasks: Operational support during construction of a small scale prototype
    gasification plant, resource procurement, testing and biochar production.

Recent News

Report for The International Network for Acid Prevention

26 May 2020

Earth Systems in collaboration with Okane Consultants, released a report providing new insight into ensuring low polluting mine operations, and more successful mine closure outcomes.

The report reviews conventional mine rock stockpile construction methods, and summarises improved construction technologies that are available to help improve water quality from mine wastes. Continued efforts to implement these technologies will help quantify their environmental and economic benefits.


Earth Systems Melbourne Office
4/290 Salmon Street                         Port Melbourne, VIC 3207                 Australia

Tel: +61 (0) 3 9810 7500
Fax: +61 (0) 3 9853 5030
[email protected]