Planet Ark Environmental Foundation is an Australian not-for-profit organisation with a vision of a world where people live in balance with nature.
Established in 1992, we are one of Australia’s leading environmental behaviour change organisations with a focus on working collaboratively and positively. We help people, governments and businesses reduce their impact on the environment in three key areas: sustainable resource use; low carbon lifestyles; and connecting people with nature.
We promote and create simple, positive environmental actions - for everyone. Our campaigns and programs build on our positive and action-based philosophy to work with a broad range of individuals, schools, councils and workplaces.
“Consumers and organisations can now see that we are a carbon neutral organisation and work with us and other similar certified bodies to know we are taking climate change seriously.”
Type of certification
How long have you been certified carbon neutral?
We are relatively recent in acquiring our Carbon Neutral certification with the calendar year of 2017 being our first year of measurement.
Why are you carbon neutral?
As an environmental organisation we are very conscious of the impacts that Climate Change is and will have on planet Earth. Our activities will have some kind of impact including the release of greenhouse gases. We have for a long time used green power and offset our flights, however, we felt that this wasn’t enough and needed to offset the rest of our activities. Further we need to lead by example and demonstrate to those that we communicate with the need to reduce their environmental impact and how they can do this through reducing emissions and offsetting what they can’t avoid.
What are the benefits of your carbon neutral certification?
The process of collating data for certification has identified the breadth of our impacts and emissions and potential routes for reduction.
What offset projects do you support?
A combination of solar and forestry emission reduction projects have been chosen.
Why did you choose these projects?
Planet Ark chose offsets that reflect our own beliefs and projects. We have a significant focus on renewable energy within Australia and commercial solar installations through Planet Ark Power. We have for many years worked on the need to increase environmental plantings and biodiversity enhancement through our campaign National Tree Day.
How can consumers support you?
Consumers need to be aware that all our activities have an impact on the environment in some way. Consumers and organisations can now see that we are a carbon neutral organisation and work with us and other similar certified bodies to know we are taking climate change seriously.
What else are you doing to reduce emissions?
The organisation runs a small footprint and has over recent years purchased offsets for air and used carbon neutral paper and electricity. Public transport is preferred where feasible and ride sharing options are used where feasible for car transport.
A video conferencing facility has been introduced to provide access to meetings for Planet Ark employees working from home or interstate. Also enabling effective meetings with external organisations.
Air travel remains a target for reduction with interstate meetings and conferences limited to where it is a requirement of the role and current activities. Where and when possible, the video conference facilities will be used. The use of technology permits working from home and reduces the need for travel.
Waste remains a business focus for the organisation but with organic waste being composted and a focus on recycling potential for improvement is limited.
Food and beverages for meetings is from a local social enterprise, the catering provided by asylum seekers and refugees, in partnership with local Australians.
What has been the impact of your action?
Planet Ark is undergoing a period of significant growth and recruitment. This has made reducing our absolute emissions hard, however the focus is very much on how we can continue to drive down our major sources of emissions and use technology to enable these changes.
What advice would you give to a business considering certification?
Certification is not a simple process, but it is worthwhile. The acquisition of data required the introduction of new systems to ensure that we have reliable data. The analysis has identified where we need to focus and provided a rigorous mechanism of certification to ensure the quality of the data. We would also recommend using a registered and experienced consultant, at least for the initial year. We used Pangolin Associates to help steer us through some of the trickier data questions.