Uniting Communities is an inclusive not-for-profit organisation working alongside more than 30,000 South Australians each year as they strive for bright futures and great lives. We operate more than 100 community programs, travel over three million kilometres per year and have a team of over 1,500 staff and volunteers.
The desire to become carbon neutral originated from Uniting Communities’ strong moral compass. Research shows it will be the elderly, socially disadvantaged and low-income people who will be most affected by climate change—Uniting Communities’ clients.
Carbon neutrality also made sense from several other perspectives including operating cost savings, meeting funding commitments, enhanced reputation, employee attraction and satisfaction, and the ability to quantify the organisation’s environmental impact. Uniting Communities is now recognised as a leader in its sector for its commitment and achievements in reducing carbon emissions:
- 30% reduction in overall CO2 emissions since 2015
- 25% reduction in electricity usage
- 16% reduction in fuel used by company fleet
- Annual savings of around $330,000 – amounting to more than $1.65 million to date.
In 2015, Uniting Communities became the first registered charity in Australia to become certified carbon neutral and the very first organisation in South Australia.
Organisation and Building
Founding member since 2015
Our emissions reductions were achieved through building upgrades, policy & procurement initiatives, installing solar power on owned buildings, and behaviour change.
“We are proud of our leadership position and of the additional benefits that we have attained by being carbon neutral, including financial savings, enhanced reputation, employee satisfaction and delivering on contractual requirements for grant funding.”
Emissions reduction activities have largely fallen into the following areas:
- Building upgrades: two aged care facilities and the head office have received lighting upgrades, temperature controls, enhanced insulation and solar panels.
- Policies, procedures and procurement: where possible we work with suppliers that offer lower carbon or carbon neutral products. A gradual conversion of fleet to hybrid-electric vehicles is now at 98%.
- Behaviour change: switching off, driving green, reducing waste, paper and printing. Our representatives facilitate emissions reduction education and initiatives.
Measurement and monitoring has been a key aspect of our carbon neutral program. We have invested in carbon data software, this enables automated data capture and regular reporting to managers on their area’s carbon emissions thereby creating greater interest and accountability.
Uniting Communities is also the proud owner of U City, a vertically integrated community in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD. U City is a Climate Active carbon neutral certified building.