Appendix F Ecologically sustainable development
Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) requires Commonwealth agencies to report against the following two core criteria:
- how the activities of the agency accord with and contribute to ecologically sustainable development (ESD)
- the environmental performance of the agency, including the effect its activities have on the natural environment and measures taken to minimise the impact.
The following sections specifically address the requirements of section 516A(6) of the EPBC Act.
How FaHCSIA accords with and contributes to ESD
The Department advises the Australian Government on social policy and manages programs and services that support and improve the lives of Australians. Therefore, its activities are not relevant to the ESD principles identified in section 3A of the EPBC Act. FaHCSIA does not administer any legislation that has a direct impact on ESD.
FaHCSIA’s sustainability framework adopts the principles of ESD set out in section 3A of the EPBC Act. It includes an environmental management system (EMS), a register of aspects and impacts on the environment and an environmental action plan to address those impacts.
Environmental management system
FaHCSIA’s EMS is a structured management tool for identifying and minimising the impacts of the Department’s activities on the environment. At the core of the system is a corporate environmental policy that accords with the principles of ESD, as defined in section 3A of the EPBC Act. The environmental policy vision states:
FaHCSIA will integrate environmentally sustainable workplace practices in all our actions, in order to reduce our environmental footprint for future generations of all Australians. In doing so, the Department will uphold the Precautionary Principle, Environmentally Sustainable Development and Intergenerational Equity principles.
The EMS contains procedures and registers for identifying legal and other obligations; identifying potential and actual risks to the environment from FaHCSIA’s activities, products or services; an action plan to address those risks; communicating to staff and stakeholders; assessing compliance with what was set out to be achieved; and assessing compliance with the standard.
The EMS was redeveloped during 2010 and in March 2011 it was recertified to AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004 at Tuggeranong Office Park and Centraplaza, which are FaHCSIA’s two largest national office sites.
A rolling environmental action plan has been developed to ensure that any environmental impacts caused by the Department’s operations are mitigated.
Sustainability Steering Committee
The FaHCSIA Sustainability Steering Committee is chaired by the Group Manager, Corporate Support. It provides a governance role for the sustainability framework and ensures its continued effectiveness and relevance.
Environmentally Conscious Office Staff
The Department has established an Environmentally Conscious Office Staff network at our sites across Australia. At 30 June 2011, the network had 86 members. The network’s role is to encourage environmentally sustainable practices in the workplace.
Measures taken to minimise the effect of activities on the environment
Table F-1 outlines FaHCSIA’s environmental performance in improving energy efficiency, reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill, and reducing water consumption.
Table F-1 Energy, waste and water efficiency measures and monitoring mechanisms
|Theme||Measures taken||Mechanisms for monitoring and review|
|Energy||FaHCSIA’s tenant light and power energy consumption is below the whole-of-government target of 7,500 megajoules per person per year||Continue to monitor consumption and report annually through the Online System for Comprehensive Activity Reporting|
Energy audits were undertaken for the following FaHCSIA sites, all of which have Green Lease Schedules in place:
Conduct NABERS assessments to confirm the estimated ratings
Regularly monitor energy consumption to ensure it remains at acceptable levels
|The Tuggeranong Office Park tenancy achieved a 5-star NABERS rating in May 2011||
Regularly monitor energy consumption to ensure it remains at acceptable levels
Conduct NABERS assessments annually
|FaHCSIA participated in Earth Hour 2011||Continue participation in Earth Hour each year|
|Waste||FaHCSIA has signed up to the ACT Government ACTSmart Office Program. Participation in the program leads to accreditation as an ACTSmart Office, which recognises offices that actively recycle. Reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill will reduce our impact on the environment||
Regularly monitor the amount of waste removed from Canberra-based sites
Examine the feasibility of introducing additional recycling streams (batteries and polystyrene) to reduce the amount of waste to landfill
|Organic waste at most Canberra-based sites is separated and sent to a worm farm||Monitor the amount of organic waste removed from Canberra sites|
|An audit of recycling services has been undertaken in locations outside the ACT to ensure all available recycling services are maximised||Undertake regular audits to ensure all possible steps are taken to reduce the amount of waste to landfill|
|Water||Fifty-two rainwater tanks with a total capacity of 207,000 litres have been installed across the grounds of the Tuggeranong Office Park. The water will be used to offset the use of potable water for landscape irrigation||Monitor water consumption to determine the reduction in water use from the installation of the rainwater tanks|
Table F-2 outlines FaHCSIA’s progress against the targets set in the Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan 2010–2015.
Table F-2 Progress against targets set in Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan 2010–2015
|Target area||Progress against targets||Strategies|
|Paper (post-consumer recycled content)||FaHCSIA meets the whole-of-government target for general use office copy paper to have a minimum post-consumer recycled content of 50 per cent by July 2011||Develop action plan to meet the whole-of-government target of 100 per cent post-consumer recycled content for general use office paper by July 2015|
|Internal copy paper per end user||FaHCSIA paper use per person is under the government baseline of 18.6 reams per year. The default printer preferences for all staff have been set to automatically print double-sided||Monitor paper use to ensure we remain on track to achieve the whole-of-government target of 13 reams per person per year by July 2012|
|Desktop computers to printer ratio||FaHCSIA expects to meet the desktop computers to printer ratio targets set for 2012 (14:1) and 2015 (20:1)||Monitor ratio to ensure we remain on track to achieve the whole-of-government targets set for 2012 and 2015|
|Desktop devices (including laptops) per end user||FaHCSIA expects to meet the desktop devices per end user targets set for 2012 (1.4:1) and 2015 (1.2:1)||Monitor ratio to ensure we remain on track to achieve the whole-of-government targets set for 2012 and 2015|
|Desktop computers off after hours||FaHCSIA is above the 2010 government target of 90 per cent of desktop computers shut down after hours||Conduct regular reviews to ensure percentage is maintained or improved|
Environmental performance indicators
Table F-3 details FaHCSIA’s environmental performance data in respect of energy and waste production.
Table F-3 Environmental performance data
|Energy efficiency||Total consumption of energy in buildings||Central services (Tuggeranong Office Park)a|
|Electricity consumption (kWh)||3,352,109||3,312,035|
|Greenpower included (10%) (kWh)||335,211||331,203|
|Gas consumption (GJ)b||11,321||8,670|
|Tenant light and power|
|Electricity consumption (kWh)||9,049,137||–c|
|Greenpower included (kWh)||419,415||–c|
|Electricity consumption per person (MJ)||8,713||–c|
|Total consumption of energy in vehicles||Vehicle fuels consumed (L)|
|E10 (Biofuel) (L)||40,960||52,479|
|Unleaded petrol (L)||146,287||133,774|
|Motor vehicle distance travelled (km)||4,275,707||–c|
|Air travel distance (km)||45,670,650||–c|
|Total greenhouse gas emissions||Greenhouse gases produced (tonnes)||14,090||–c|
|Waste Data d||Office paper waste production (national)||Waste paper to recycling facilities (tonnes)||179.05||218.4|
|Comingled recycling (excluding office paper)(Tuggeranong Office Park)e||Comingled waste to recycling facilities (tonnes)||6.8||9.9|
| Organic waste
(4 Canberra sites)f
|Organic waste collection commenced at 4 Canberra sites in September 2010, with an average 260 kg collected from Tuggeranong Office Park each month. Although not weighed, it is estimated that a further 260 kg is collected from the other 3 sites each month (tonnes).||–||5.2|
a Central services relates to energy used to operate base building services such as air conditioning and lifts. The lease for Tuggeranong Office Park is the only arrangement where FaHCSIA as the tenant, is responsible for these costs.
b Note that previous gas bills had been based on estimates but actual readings are now provided by the supplier.
c Final total figures for 2010–11 are not yet available, but will be reported in late 2011 through the Whole-of-Government Online System for Comprehensive Activity Reporting and in next year’s annual report.
d There is no accurate data for waste to landfill for this reporting period. However, the new ACT cleaning contract includes the requirement to provide comprehensive data by waste stream for all Canberra sites, which will be included in next year’s annual report.
e Data is for Tuggeranong Office Park only. The new ACT cleaning contract includes the requirement to provide comprehensive data by waste stream for all Canberra sites, which will be included in next year’s annual report.
f Data is only available for Tuggeranong Office Park for the period 20 September 2010 to 30 June 2011 and this figure includes an estimate for the other sites. The new ACT cleaning contract includes the requirement to provide comprehensive data by waste stream for all Canberra sites, which will be included in next year’s annual report.