Annual Report
2012–13

Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

The following summary of the Department’s environmental management activities and performance is provided in accordance with section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act), which requires Australian Government departments to report on:

  • how their activities accord with, and their outcomes contribute to, the principles of ecologically sustainable development (subsection (6)(a) and (b))
  • the environmental impacts of their operations during the year and measures taken to minimise those impacts (subsection (6)(c), (d) and (e)).

Ecologically sustainable development

As outlined in our Environmental Policy Statement we are committed to each of the five principles of sustainable development (integration, precaution, intergeneration, biodiversity and valuation) identified in the EPBC Act, where they apply to our operations. In 2012–13 we continued to mitigate the effects of our impact on the environment by:

  • conserving energy, water, paper and other natural resources while still providing a comfortable working environment
  • minimising waste through recycling and using recycled products and materials wherever practical
  • preventing and minimising pollution from our activities
  • providing an environmentally sound workplace and progressively implementing a range of environmentally sound work practices
  • including environmental impacts in our purchasing policies where appropriate
  • complying with all relevant Australian Government, State and Territory environmental legislation, regulations, policies and initiatives
  • fostering an environmentally responsible culture throughout the Department and encouraging staff to develop new ideas and initiatives
  • using TelePresence facilities for many of our meetings with the State and Territory Governments
  • encouraging the use of double-sided printing
  • providing facilities to support staff to ride and walk to work
  • supporting the use of recycled paper and recycling systems
  • communicating our environmental commitments to staff and the public.

Environmental Performance

During 2012–13 we continued to demonstrate environmental responsibility by minimising the negative effects we have on the environment in the areas of energy efficiency, waste and water (refer to Figure 3.7). This includes:

  • implementing our Environmental Management System (EMS), based on the Australian Standard AS/NZS ISO 14001, and conducting regular reviews of the EMS
  • maintaining a National Australian Built Environment Rating System rating of 4.5 stars for whole building energy and achieving a five star rating for base building energy and water
  • holding monthly Building Management Committee meetings in line with our Green Lease obligations and quarterly Environmental Committee meetings to review energy usage and analyse consumption
  • continuing to provide staff with environmental awareness material through the Go Green @ One National campaign
  • engaging UGL Services to complete a carbon footprint report for 2012–13
  • introducing timed lighting in the car park at One National Circuit
  • changing to LED lighting in external lights and in the foyer of One National Circuit
  • regularly monitoring levels of waste recycling
  • supporting the use of electronic solutions (i.e. iPads) to reduce paper usage
  • commencing desk side recycling bins to replace waste baskets
  • continuing to use a 70,000 litre rainwater tank to flush toilets and water gardens
  • introducing new recycling and waste bins in the café
  • introducing new drought tolerant plants to the One National Circuit gardens.

Figure 3.7 Impact of Department’s operations on the environment

Performance measure Indicator(s) 2011–12 2012–13 % change
Energy efficiency
Total consumption of energy Energy usage at One National Circuit – tenant light and power (kWh) 1,868,312 1,801,529 3.57 % reduction
Base building electricity (kWh) 731,113 751,794 2.82 % increase
Natural gas consumption (GJ) 2,056 2,418 17.61 % increase
Total consumption of green energy Green energy usage at One National Circuit (kWh) 186,831 180,152 3.57 % reduction
Carbon dioxide emissions Amount of CO2 produced (tonnes) 4,601 4,302 6.5 % reduction
Relative energy uses Percentage of green energy in total usage (%) 10 10 unchanged
Amount of total energy purchased/consumed (kWh per employee) 3000.206 2220.791 25.98 % reduction
Waste
Total waste production Amount of waste produced (tonnes) 96.26 100.12 4.0 % increase
Un-recyclable waste production Amount of waste going to landfills (tonnes) 5.05 6.57 30.1 % increase
Recyclable waste production (excluding office paper) Amount of waste going to recycling facilities (tonnes) 91.21 93.55 2.57% increase
Paper waste production Amount of waste paper going to recycling facilities (tonnes) 71.2 78.6 10.39 % increase
Relative waste production Amount of the total waste (tonnes per employee) 0.14 0.13 7.14 % reduction
Water
Consumption of water2 Amount of water purchased/consumed (kL) 4721 9196 94.8 % increase

Notes:

1 A colder winter period in 2012–13 resulted in increased boiler operation.

2 Mains water consumption is supplemented by a 70 kL rain water tank which services the toilets and irrigation systems at One National Circuit.