In this issue:
Your sustainable transport guide 5 minutes with Dr Ruth Beilin Forests and farms in harmony in Wagga Wagga 54 opportunities to build a low-carbon economy Supporter news Tips to avoid and reduce emissions
Your sustainable transport guide Driving better transport decisions for your business Supporters always ask us for practical tips to help avoid and reduce their transport emissions, so we decided to write a practical “how to” guide showcasing the simple things you can do to reduce your transport footprint. Eighteen months, and a lot of hard work later, Greenfleet and the Net Balance Foundation launched a guide to help reduce businesses’ emissions associated with commuting to and from work, business meetings, freight and other transport. The guide offers practical insights from many of our business supporters who shared their experiences of implementing sustainable transport solutions in their own workplace. Feedback from people who have used it already is that the guide has some straightforward and great solutions that any workplace, big or small, could implement to reduce their transport footprint. Transport is often one of the biggest offenders a business has to face in evaluating their carbon emissions, with emissions from transport accounting for approximately 15% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. This guide outlines carbon reducing transport options and shows, from the experience of others, that it is achievable – so now every business can make conscious decisions to reduce their carbon footprint.
Here are some simple examples that could be implemented in your workplace: Install video, web or tele-conferencing Allow staff to work from home or offer flexible working hours Install shower and change room facilities Move the business to a location with good public transport access Start a car pooling program Alter freight delivery times and adjust freight loads Undertake a vehicle needs analysis and make sure vehicle maintenance is up-to-date ‘Green’ the fleet and teach staff about eco driving By taking up more sustainable transport options in your business you can help reduce Australia’s overall transport footprint, benefit your bottom line and make the workforce healthier. To help your organisation reduce its transport footprint, download the guide from greenfleet.com.au and start a conversation about what you can do.
Just remember - while you may not be able to do everything, you have to start somewhere. You can download the guide from the Researchers section of our website.
Sara Gipton CEO Greenfleet
5 minutes with Dr Ruth Beilin Dr Ruth Beilin is an Associate Professor in the Melbourne School of Land and Environment at the University of Melbourne. Dr Beilin is also Deputy Director of the Office for Environmental Programs at the University. She has more than 20 years experience within the amalgamated institution, with a teaching and research position within the Department of Resource Management and Geography as a Landscape Sociologist. The focus of her work to date is on everyday landscapes and ‘ordinary’ people - policy frameworks, planning institutions, resource use - in a landscape context centred on human interaction with ‘space’ and ‘place’. Dr Beilin has been a member of Greenfleet’s National Advisory Council for one year and prior to that she was a member of the Greenfleet Board for 4 years.
1. What attracted you to offer your support to Greenfleet? Initially I just wanted to offset my car use. Then I joined the Board of Directors because I wanted to be part of the discussion to talk about tree planting as part of a bigger landscape change.
2. Are more people studying the environment at the University of Melbourne? Undergraduate numbers have dramatically increased to just over 800 students a year, because we now have a new Bachelor of Environments undergraduate degree. Students choose from 11 different majors all incorporating
ideas about environmental change and shifting our way of engaging with the environment to interact in more sustainable ways. At a postgraduate level the Masters of Environments, which engages all the University’s faculties in its programs, has more than 270 mainly part-time students enrolled. The level of engagement and activity is intense, creating momentum both in their daytime work places and across the University.
rain tanks, we have no mains water. We have composting toilets upstairs and down and the compost that eventuates every couple of years goes into my terraced vegetable garden - which has amazingly productive outcomes. We also carpool to the train station to commute to and from work.
5. In the workplace?
I think these programs indicate a recognition within the University, and from students and society in general, that the way forward needs to be significantly different than what we have been doing. These are exciting times academically and bode well, I think, for the future.
We recycle our paper in all the offices. I turn out lights or don’t put them on if it is a sunny day. I never buy a plastic water bottle. I use a jug and glasses in my office to provide water to visitors and students. We have a new system in the Student Union where you can opt for real china plates to avoid plastic and then help with the cleanup.
3. Can education significantly reduce climate change?
6. What are your hopes for the future?
I absolutely think that environmental education assists with understanding what is meant by climate change. More importantly it helps us to be climate adaptive in the way we conceive of and build our houses, in the role we play as consumers of `products’ and in the changing of social norms, so that we live in more sustainable ways and consider our role in managing resources for future generations.
My hope is that we can rethink how we do things here - let’s start by conserving agricultural land races and understanding ourselves as part of nature and not separate to it. Greenfleet supporters are taking the first steps towards a self-conscious reappraisal of how they live and the resources they expend. We need to support that kind of thinking so that real change is understood to require individual commitment, as well as being linked to governmental determination to lead in this area.
4. What actions do you take at home to reduce emissions? We are very lucky we live on a 2 hectare block in the Dandenongs, giving us a lot more options about how to live. Our water is supplied from
For the full interview visit: www.greenfleet. com.au/Global/Researchers/Expert_opinion 3
Forests and farms in harmony in Wagga Wagga The Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) Research Centre, just outside the regional NSW town of Wagga Wagga, offers a hands-on approach to studying land-based industries and issues. The 200 ha research site hosts many forestry research projects - from biodiverse native forests for carbon capture and habitat creation, to native and pine plantations where growth rates are monitored for timber production. In August 2001, Greenfleet planted 14,320 native trees across 20 ha of the property. At the time, this region was experiencing extremely dry weather conditions and intensive site preparation was carried out to maximise survival of the trees. Rip lines were oriented to maximise soil moisture availability and minimise soil erosion on steep areas, and weed control was carried out pre and post-planting. Like all Greenfleet plantings, locally indigenous species were selected and planted at the optimum time. Plants included various native shrubs, Acacias, and Eucalypts. When we visited in May 2010, the forest was looking very healthy, with the trees now approximately 8-10m tall. Overall the planting is in excellent condition, even though the site has been exposed to many years of drought. In addition to monitoring the condition of the trees, Greenfleet forestry contractor, Greg Abel was lucky enough to observe one of the other benefits of this particular forest. Greg arrived just 20 minutes before this lamb (right) was born. This reinforces that native forests do more than just take carbon from the atmosphere to tackle climate change. They also protect livestock and native animals from the threat of cold and wind, providing windbreaks and shelter. This forest will help to secure a healthy and happy future for this new arrival.
The trees have also become invaluable for windbreaks and frost protection for our livestock. “We’ve been exceptionally happy with the survival and growth rate of the trees, because they were planted in one of the harshest droughts and cold weather periods this region has seen. Their survival is due to the excellent land preparation undertaken in partnership with Greenfleet and the grazing management in partnership with TAFE NSW to maintain groundcover but minimise competition from the understorey grasses,” said DECCW Senior Natural Resource Officer, Dr Greg Summerell. “The Greenfleet trees have created a corridor to connect existing isolated patches of native bush. We are seeing Superb Parrots (listed as a “vulnerable” species in NSW), using the trees as a resting place on their long flights inland for food. The Superb Parrot is confined to a relatively small area from the NSW/Victorian border through to the NSW/Queensland border. Previously their main travelling corridor around the research centre was limited to a set of forested hills over 1km away. We believe the corridor we have created has improved the local habitat for the Superb Parrot, hopefully supporting the population,” said Dr Summerell. “With the dry and cold climate, the trees have also become invaluable for windbreaks and frost protection for our livestock. “In addition, the trees were planted to address salinity recharge; our salt scald has completely dried up now, beyond levels which we would have expected from drought conditions alone.”
54 opportunities to build a low-carbon economy Earlier this year, ClimateWorks launched a Low Carbon Growth Plan for Australia. The plan is an economy-wide blueprint for Australia to achieve ambitious (25%) reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 - at low cost, while building a growing low-carbon economy. The Plan was developed by ClimateWorks Australia - a non-profit partnership between the Monash Sustainability Institute and the Myer Foundation - in conjunction with global business consultants McKinsey & Company. ClimateWorks have identified 54 separate opportunities - across all sectors - that together can achieve a reduction in emissions of 249 Mt CO2-e (million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent), or 25% below 2000 levels. While there are many challenges and barriers to reach a low-carbon economy, many of the opportunities can be made at low cost or with a net economic benefit to society. This includes energy efficiency improvements in buildings, industry and transport.
The plan urges that we act promptly against climate change, as delaying action will mean some low cost opportunities are lost, meaning greater cost to society and business in the long run. To help bring about change, ClimateWorks are working with policymakers, business leaders and the community to support this program of practical action. To read the Low Carbon Growth Plan for Australia go to ClimateWorks Australia website at www.climateworks.com.au.
Key findings: The 249 Mt target is achievable using technologies available today, at a cost of just $185 per household in 2020. Thatâ€™s around $4 per week, or the cost of just one take-away coffee! 22% of the reduction opportunities are already profitable from an investorâ€™s perspective - before a price on carbon. Once there is a price on carbon, more opportunities will become profitable.
Greenfleet lends a hand to support green awards At Greenfleet we think it’s important for people to be recognised for their “green” achievements. This year we have sponsored the ECO-Buy Awards for Excellence in Green Purchasing and the top 2009 student in the subject, Corporate Environmental Responsibility in the Department of Business Law & Taxation at Monash University.
ECO-Buy Awards for Excellence in Green Purchasing It’s not uncommon for business purchases to be based on price alone. However, many businesses and the government have begun to make green purchasing a priority in their pursuit to be better corporate citizens and make every dollar count on the triple-bottom line level. As a big supporter of green purchasing, Greenfleet was thrilled to be a sponsor of this year’s ECO-Buy Awards for Excellence in Green Purchasing. Greenfleet would like to congratulate all of the winners and especially the Darebin City Council who won the Local Government Energy Saving Award presented by Greenfleet. By recognising the achievements of leaders in this area it helps to reinforce their purchasing practices as good business practice and leads to adoption of these principles across the wider community reducing the creation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Monash student wins Corporate Environmental Responsibility award Education in environmental responsibility and sustainable business practices is integral to Greenfleet’s Avoid, Reduce and Offset program. Monash University’s Corporate Environmental Responsibility unit equips students with the knowledge and skills to be the ‘Green Lights’ in their future or current career paths. ‘Green Lights’ is a term our Business Offsets team has coined to name the environmental champions in companies. We see these people as the environmental movers and shakers. They help their organisation reduce GHG emissions, often saving money in the long term. Suraj Rajapakse was delighted to collect the prize for the top 2009 student in the Corporate Environmental Responsibility subject, at the Annual Student Awards Evening. During the semester, students have been inspired by presentations about the Greenfleet business strategy by our CEO Sara Gipton, giving them a real perspective about our program, carbon offsetting and some of the challenges and benefits.
Biodiversity and climate change We’ve also recently been congratulated for some of our work. Greenfleet, along with project partner Biolinking Australia, was recently recognised as a finalist for the DSE Biodiversity Award in the 2010 UNAA World Environment Awards. While we didn’t win the award, it was an honour to be named as a finalist - particularly during the UN International Year of Biodiversity - demonstrating that action on climate change can also bring about significant benefits for the Australian landscape. 7
Sept 12-18, 2010 It’s easy being green Enviroweek is on again in 2010 from 12-18 September, following a successful launch in 2009, raising more than $58,000 for Australian environmental organisations. This year Cool Australia has set a target of $200,000 and Greenfleet is pleased to be participating for the first time.
Here are some ideas of things you could pledge to do for Enviroweek: Give up the car for a week - walk, cycle or use public transport instead
While we know everyone is busy, Enviroweek is a week to really take stock and think about the simple things we can do as individuals to reduce our CO2-e footprint.
Pull your bike out of the shed, get it serviced and get cycling everywhere
So challenge yourself, change behaviours and help raise funds for Greenfleet.
Start a worm farm or compost bin
For more information and to register for Enviroweek go to: www.enviroweek.org
Plant a vegetable garden
Only use natural temperature controls - use clothing and windows to regulate temperature, no air-conditioning or heaters Change all the lightbulbs over to energy efficient ones
Looking for a good read this winter? The CSIRO Home Energy Saving Handbook aims to answer the question posed by an eight year old boy to a panel of Australian energy experts: “What can I do?” This is a book for ordinary people who want to tackle climate change in their everyday lives, rather than leaving it up to politicians, scientists and policy makers. It contains a guide for assessing your CO2-e, as well as information for garden designs, shopping choices, renewable power, transport options, carbon offsetting and much, much more. This book is a great practical guide for anyone who wants to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on climate change. It’s even printed on carbon neutral paper* - saving 1.2kg (or 12 garbage bags) of CO2-e per copy. Pick up a copy for just $29.99 (RRP) from Big W, Dymocks, Borders, Angus and Robertson and all good bookstores. Make sure you turn to page 194 to see one of Greenfleet’s planting sites. 8
The CSIRO Home Energy Saving Handbook. Written by John Wright, Peter Osman and Peta Ashworth Pan Macmillan Australia *Printed on ENVI Carbon Neutral Paper, an Australian Government certified Greenhouse FriendlyTM product.
Look at all that lush green carbon!
Planting trees – managing carbon You’ve probably noticed that Greenfleet talks more about carbon and less about trees these days, we thought we should tell you why. Greenfleet plants native trees to establish self-sustaining carbon forests. While we often refer to numbers of trees to describe what we do, ultimately it is the carbon that is important. Our commitment to offset greenhouse gas emissions is met by planting sufficient trees to establish a self-sustaining forest. As the forest grows it stores carbon from the atmosphere. The forest naturally ‘thins’ as it grows to maturity, meaning that not all trees survive, but we make allowances for the natural ‘thinning’ process at the time of initial planting. Further, as the trees mature they drop seed and some natural regeneration also occurs. We manage our carbon commitment to supporters across all of the native forests we create. Some sites and species grow faster and capture carbon faster, others slower - but the entire forest pool is forecast to meet the carbon commitments to our supporters. The graph below shows projected carbon yields for Greenfleet forests. The red line shows our carbon commitment to supporters (20 years after the trees are pledged) - while the coloured areas show the projected carbon store at any given time. Based on Australian Government’s National Carbon Accounting Toolbox default values for carbon capture by native forests, this model shows that our forests are expected to exceed our carbon commitments to supporters.
Europcar’s Green Campaign raises funds to plant 8,044 trees in 8 weeks Customer donations were combined with partner donations from Škoda, White Pages, emitch, Victoria Electricity, Kia Motors, Direct Connect, Hyundai, Subaru, PMA Solutions and 3AW.
‘Thanks to generous contributions from Europcar, its customers and partners, we will plant native forests in order to absorb 2,156 tonnes of CO2 - that’s like taking 539 vehicles off the road for a year’ Greenfleet CEO, Ms Sara Gipton
We’d like to thank Europcar Australia for their intensive 8 week Green Campaign, which raised enough funds to plant 8,044 trees - successfully meeting the campaign’s target of 8,000 trees. The Green Campaign aimed to boost donations to the Greenfleet program, which Europcar Australia has proudly supported since 2006. As part of the program, customers could choose to donate $3 to Greenfleet when booking their rental.
Europcar Australia Managing Director Mr Ron Santiago said, ‘The Green Campaign has re-established Europcar’s commitment to environmentally conscious processes and procedures within Australian operations. Our customers have yet another reason to choose Europcar and take the road to a more sustainable future.’ Read more about the Europcar Green Campaign at: www.europcar.com.au/carbon-footprint-reduction.aspx
Be a little bit green next time you travel Health insurance company nib also offer travel insurance to cover you while you’re away. And with every travel insurance policy sold, they’ll plant a tree through Greenfleet. nib chose Greenfleet due to their commitment to take local level action on climate change, the added benefits from planting biodiverse native forests and confidence in our methodology (as a former government accredited offset provider).
The idea for the campaign stemmed from the common link and strong contributing factor of travel to carbon emissions. When you book an air fare these days you have the option of offsetting. So why not take this further and build it into a travel insurance product. This provides nib with a point of differentiation and helps to demonstrate nib’s commitment to the environment. Call 13 14 63 or visit: www.nib.com.au for more information.
We'd like to thank the following organisations for supporting Greenfleet
Visit greenfleet.com.au for more supporters. 11
Tips to avoid and reduce emissions With Enviroweek coming up in September, we thought we’d give you some more tips to help you Avoid and Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take action on climate change.
Cut down on meat. Livestock accounted for 69.3% of all agriculture emissions in 2007, or more than 10% of Australia’s total emissions.
Don’t cook or buy more than you need. Throwing out excess food wastes money and creates greenhouse emissions.
All food contains embedded energy, which is the energy that has been consumed to grow, process, package, transport and store your food before it reaches you. Eat more fruit and vegetables. Reducing your consumption of highly processed foods reduces the demand for all the energy consumed along the food production chain, not to mention the health benefits. Think about buying a good vegetarian cookbook for recipe ideas.
Water While we try to use less water because of drought, have you ever thought about how using water from the kitchen tap or your long hot shower creates greenhouse gas emissions? Insulate the pipes between your water heater and the outlets (taps and showers), so you don’t lose energy (heat) from the water as it is moved around your house.
Install water efficient products - taps, showerheads, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers. Look out for the star rating systems for water and energy efficiency. This shows you at a glance how efficient each product is. Wash clothes in full loads. While washing machines may have adjustable water levels, they use almost as much electricity when washing a small load as a large one. While not strictly related to water use, only fill your kettle with enough water to make your current cuppa. Boiling a full kettle takes more energy than boiling just the water you need now – then the extra energy is lost as the excess water cools.
Contact Greenfleet Postal address: Greenfleet PO Box 16011 Collins Street West VIC 8007
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Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.greenfleet.com.au Individual supporters and enquiries: 1800 032 999 Business supporters and enquiries: 03 9642 0570
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