Appendix—Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

Under section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), government organisations must  report annually on their ecologically sustainable development (ESD) and  environmental performance. Comcare is committed to advancing the principles of ESD and practicing these principles in its everyday activities and long-term  projects.

We recognise that day to day activities  consume resources and create waste. This year we have continued several  activities to reduce our environmental impact with a focus on information and  communication technology (ICT) and building operations as the major consumers  of energy and other resources.

In February 2017, Comcare achieved a 5 star  National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy Tenancy  rating for levels 3 to 5, 121 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra in the ACT.

NABERS is a national rating system that  measures the environmental performance of Australian buildings, tenancies and  homes. NABERS measures the energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and  indoor environment quality of a building or tenancy and its impact on the  environment.

Comcare continues to  undertake activities to reduce our environmental impact including:

  • using electronic workflows aimed to reduce the use of paper and the need  to retain paper copies
  • using the energy saving features of the Windows Operating System
  • using server virtualisation to reduce both power consumption and  computer hardware requirements
  • using the power saving features of computer monitors and televisions
  • participating in whole-of-government purchasing arrangements for  electricity
  • installing sensor lighting systems in all office fit outs
  • participating in and promoting Earth Hour 2017
  • providing end of trip facilities to encourage employees to cycle to work
  • purchasing 50 per cent recycled A4 paper, 100 per cent recycling of  paper waste and recycling of other stationery items.

Technology equipment upgrade

In 2016–17 Comcare increased the number of  video conferencing units in its offices. Comcare encourages staff to use the  video conferencing equipment to reduce domestic travel. The video conferencing  units have been configured to be in sleep mode to save energy when not in use.

Comcare also rationalised its suite of MFDs  (multi-function devices) reducing the number of MFDs in our offices which will  help to reduce energy and paper consumption.

The MFDs have default duplex, black and white  printing and standby times when not in use.

Waste and recycling

Comcare continues to participate in the ACT  Government ACTSmart Office Recycling Program in its Canberra office. The  Canberra office at 121 Marcus Clarke Street renewed its accreditation in  February 2017 and currently sends 85 per cent of its waste to a recycling centre.  Comcare provides recycling streams (including co-mingled, cardboard and paper  recycling) in all of offices have waste and recycling systems in place.

Comcare recycles 100 per cent of toner  cartridges and florescent light tubes and maintains a battery recycling  facility in the Canberra office.

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.

Performance in focus—results

Energy consumption

Power consumption per person remained steady  in 2016–17. Table 33 shows Comcare’s power consumption over the past four  financial years.

Comcare measures paper consumption by  purchases made during the financial year. In 2016–17, Comcare’s paper  consumption decreased by 20 per cent from the previous year. Overall, Comcare’s  paper consumption is trending down in accordance with our commitment to reduce  our environmental impact.

Comcare vehicles

Comcare only leases vehicles with 10.5 GVG rating in accordance with the Green Vehicle Guide

Table  33: Comcare’s environmental performance 2016–17

Environmental performance 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17
Average power consumption per full-time equivalent employee (Mega joules/person/annum) 6526 5963 5636 5671
Paper consumption11 (reams of paper) 11,580 6538 8324 6577

11 Amount purchased during the financial year