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Appendix V: Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 requires that government organisations report annually on their environmental performance and contribution to ecologically sustainable development (ESD).

Comcare’s activities, including the administration of federal law, help promote and facilitate the health of individuals—contributing to ESD by maintaining and developing social and economic capital.

Comcare’s awareness of and response to environmental issues is increasing and a number of activities have further built capability and performance in this area.

Externally, Comcare provides the ability to download publications from its website. This allows documents to be sent and stored electronically, reducing the impact of printing and distribution of hard copy material.

Comcare recognises, however, that day-to-day activities consume resources and create waste. We have established the Thinking Green Program to reduce our environmental impact. This program established Comcare’s Environmental Management Committee, which has focused its efforts on the key areas of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and building operations as the major consumers of energy and other resources.

Comcare is taking many steps to minimise the impact of our activities on the environment, including:

  • ensuring Green Lease Schedules are established in relevant building leases
  • participating in whole-of-government purchasing arrangements for electricity
  • recycling 100 per cent of toner cartridges
  • using server virtualisation to reduce both power consumption and computer hardware requirements
  • contributing to the Online System for Comprehensive Reporting (OSCAR) of electricity consumption
  • providing bicycle facilities and showers to encourage employees to cycle to work. In addition, in 2010–11 Comcare:
  • installed new lighting control systems in our Canberra Office to reduce power consumption
  • purchased new computers with key energy saving features
  • re-engineered internal procedures to reduce transport and printing of materials
  • collected aluminium cans for donation to a local Scout group which recycles them and uses the proceeds to fund its activities
  • purchased 50 per cent recycled A4 paper, 100 per cent recycled secure paper waste, and recycled other stationery items
  • facilitated and participated in a new program for recycling used toner cartridges with a supplier
  • progressed the consolidation of its printing fleet and consumables by introducing a multi-function device solution to printing.

Performance in focus—Results

As a result of its environmental performance activities the following outcomes were achieved in 2010–11:

  • Energy consumption per person increased from 8154 MJ/person/annum in 2009–10 to 8705 MJ/person/annum in 2010–11 representing an increase of 6 per cent. Comcare is still aiming to meet the 2011–12 Energy Efficiency in Government Operations Policy (EEGO) target of 7500 MJ/person/annum. Achieving this target will be assisted by energy efficient IT and printing equipment installed during the middle of 2011. The implementation of lighting and other building upgrades in 2011 should also produce energy savings during 2011–12.
  • Paper consumption for A4 printer paper in the 2010–11 financial year was 11 370 reams of paper, compared to 11 310 reams of paper in the 2009–10 financial year. This represents a less than 1 per cent increase. However, due to a 12 per cent growth within the organisation this financial year, our paper consumption has been reduced by 11 per cent.
  • Seventy-seven per cent (10 of 13) of Comcare’s vehicle fleet has a Green Vehicle Guide (GVG) rating of 10.5 or higher, which significantly exceeds the Australian Government target of 28 per cent of agency vehicles having a GVG rating of 10.5 or higher.
  • In 2010–11 Comcare developed a program to participate in the ACT Government ACTSmart Office Recycling program. This program is intended to be implemented in early 2011–12, with audits of waste type and quantity being completed in May 2011.
  • Comcare’s Canberra Office has recycled approximately 96kg of aluminium cans.
  • Comcare also participated in a base building bathroom and common area lighting upgrade program that included upgrade to energy efficient T5 lighting. In addition, a sensor lighting system with new motion sensor LED lighting was installed in the lift foyer area.
  • In 2010–11 Comcare’s Canberra office participated in the building owner’s Strategic Improvement Plan to improve sustainability performance with a target of 4.5 stars for NABERS Energy. The project involves upgrading mechanical services to deliver greater efficiency and improved tenant comfort.