EMS Association Newsletter Winter 2008

1. EMSA News

Successful National EMS Forum

The 2nd National EMS Forum held in Newcastle in May was well received, with many positive comments from delegates:

  • “Very inspiring networking. Small groups made getting to know people easy, discussions and valuable contact. Better than most conferences/seminars we go to”.
  • “The Forum exceeded my expectations. It had enough punters which allowed for networking/communication/information moving. Not too big and not too small”.
  • “Seeing the application of EMS from individual through to business perspectives. It was thought provoking, informative and inspiring”
  • “Belonging to a group of people who’s professional knowledge and skills was gathered around the specific matter of EMS”.
  • “The knowledge, conversation and experience of speakers and participants”

All states were represented, with a strong showing from Victoria, where EMS is gaining traction.  Support from NSW DPI enabled the EMS Association to bring two international speakers, Matthias Gelber, Director International Network of Environmental Management, Malaysia and Susan Sakaki, to the forum and support attendance of a South African delegate.

For more feedback and details on the forum go the website: http://www.ems.asn.au/events/2008_forum/

2. EMSA Members recognised for their EMS work

At the National Forum in May, four businesses were recognised for their work on EMS in a range of industry sectors. The inaugural awards were supported by CGU and the EMS Association, and have been developed to provide both recognition and information about the possibilities of EMS.

The Premier winners were Frank and Dianne Sciacca (Pacific Coast Eco bananas – farm category) and Sheila Howat (Tortoiseshell Farm – small business category). The Sicacca’s have over the years developed a production protocol for growing bananas in a very sensitive area – the Great Barrier Reef Catchment. They have supported the innovation with training of other farmers and a unique marketing tool – the red-tipped banana. Tortoiseshell Farm is an eco-tourism venture that also rehabilitates wildlife and provides education to pet owners about responsible pet management and their potential impacts on wildlife. Merit awards were presented to Moreton Bay Seafood Industry Association (small business category) and to the Organic Fine Food Company (farm category).  Read more about these winners at: http://www.ems.asn.au/news/mr0805_award.htm

Medicare (a corporate member of EMSA) took out the LearnX Asia Pacific 2008 ‘Green Training Award – Learning with the Environment in Mind’, in recognition for its great work in providing training for staff as part of their EMS development and implementation. Medicare uses an e-learning training package developed in-house to promote environmental awareness amongst its 5000 staff. See www.governmentnews.com.au/2008/04/29/article/TMOSPSKEWS.html for more information.

The Australian Landcare Management Group won the SA FarmBis Training Award for the Natural Resource Management category from amongst 15 or so other professional training providers. This is great recognition for a group that has been working hard to increase EMS adoption and implementation across Australia. The ALMS group approach to EMS has also been recognised by a major Japanese apparel company, who noted the use of ISO 14001 as a key feature of ALMS.

BestFarms, operated by the Blackwood Basin Group, has been also working with a range of producers on both sides of the country to develop and implement EMSs on-farm. This work has seen the project short listed as a finalist for the Australian Museum Eureka Award for Environmental Sustainability Education. For further information, see the BestFarms website www.bestfarms.com.au

Jean Cannon (EnviroAction) was awarded the 2008 FarmBis Distance Learning/elearning Award, and also won the 2007 South Australian Seafood Industry Training Award. Jean has worked with many fishery and marina based businesses over the years and has developed innovative training delivery programs for EMS. 

3. Membership News

Membership renewals are now due. It is likely that membership of EMSA will rise in the next 12 months, so now is a good time to renew. We now have more than 220 registered users for the website – good growth and still growing!

EMSA has seven corporate and three not-for profit members - Baiada Poultry, the Victorian Departments of Justice, and Sustainability and the Environment, Medicare, Centrelink, the Blackwood Basin Group, North East Catchment Management Authority, North East Down Landcare group, Coomes Consulting and Moreton Bay Seafood Industry Association. We look forward to bringing you their profiles over the coming months.

Members will continue to receive discounted registration fees for EMSA events and we are looking to implement an EMS Directory on the website which would include EMS consultancies, services and tools - accessible to members only. Feedback on the value of this would be appreciated. 

4. Future Directions, New Tools

Coles supermarkets are opening new store in Ropers Crossing this September that will use a natural refrigerant system to eliminate up to 700 tones of the store’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.  The new store is the fifth Environmental Concept Store owned by Coles. The stores are used to test environmental initiatives, including reduction of energy use by using motion sensors to turn off lights in aisles when shoppers are not present, low-energy LED lighting, and blinds on freezer cases.  Coles states that they have saved significant amounts of energy, with store lights and refrigeration now using 40% and 30% less power respectively compared to 1985 levels. For further information, contact Tara Oldfield of Porter Novelli – 03 9289 9555 or toldfield@porternovelli.com.au.

Ever wondered what 1000 tonnes of CO2 is equivalent to in terms of cars and trees? Thanks to the Australian Greenhouse Office website, you can now find out.  The AGO has a Green Vehicle Guide where you can see the greenhouse emissions of all new Australian vehicles. Go to http://www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au/GVGPublicUI/ApplicationFirstStartTaskWebForm.aspx and then select the vehicle you are interested in. As for trees take-up of carbon, Greening Australia is offering a carbon sequestration product (http://www.breatheeasynow.com.au/html/) that allows the user to estimate carbon take up of plants in different areas. For example, the Gondwanalink project in WA reports that they are sequestering 150T/ha over 20 years in a project designed to restore one of the biodiversity jewels of the world. Over 20 years their sites will capture 1000 T CO2 on 6.7 ha, which will have around 6000 trees in total.

If you are running an event in South Australia, there’s now a guide to help you minimise the environmental impact of the event. Released by the SA Government, the guide includes consideration of venues, travel, energy efficiency and water conservation, helping to calculate the carbon footprint of the event. The ‘Greening Your Event’ guide aims to ensure that the state meets its target of reducing carbon emissions by 30 % by 2050. You can download the guide at: http://www.dwlbc.sa.gov.au/nrm/ Please let EMSA your thoughts on this guide.

NSW courts and tribunals have doubled their funding to reduce their carbon footprints. They are installing water tanks, energy efficient lighting and native vegetation at both metropolitan and regional courts in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create more energy efficient workplaces. The Department’s Justice Precinct Offices have received a ‘five green star’ rating for office design and were a finalist in the 2008 Property Council of Australia/Rider Levett Bucknall awards.

The Green Building Council of Australia reports that commercial buildings in Australia produce just under 9% of the national greenhouse emissions. Two rating schemes have been developed to assist with determining the environmental friendliness of buildings. These are the Australian Building Greenhouse Rating (AGBR) scheme (recently re-branded as NABERS energy for offices) and Green Star, run by the Green Building Council of Australia. For both schemes, assessment of the built environment considers a range of factors and various levels of recognition can be applied. For more information see www.nabers.com.au/office.aspx (site contains calculators, listings of users and assessor details) or www.gbcaus.org. 

And now for something really scary…a survey conducted on behalf of Carbon Planet has suggested that despite all the media attention on carbon emission trading, approximately half of the chief financial officers of Australian businesses are unaware of the requirements and timeframes with which they need to comply. More than three quarters of the CFO’s rated their understanding of carbon emission reporting as either fair or poor.  And just under half lacked confidence that their budgets were sufficient to effectively reduce emission in their organisation over the next five years. Staff education, real outcomes in energy reduction, communication and proactive behaviour are all needed to change this situation. There is a clear role for a tool such as EMS to assist in making these changes, and embedding them into business culture. Do you have a good case study of how your business is making a real change to behaviour and outcomes? If so, let us know so that we can feature it on the website for others to learn from.

5. Coming up

The Carbon Market Expo Australasia 2008 will be held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in October (30-31).  The event offers delegates the opportunity to offset carbon emissions accrued through attendance, and will provide details of the methods applied to calculate the event’s greenhouse footprint. For further information on the event go to www.carbonexpo.com.au

‘Drought – Past and Future (The DPF project)’ will hold a conference and workshops on November 13th – 15th, at the Australian National University.  On the 13th, a workshop titled “Water and Environmental Change in Australia and the Asia Pacific: Perspectives from History’ will be held. The conference on the 14th will examine the themes of knowledge of drought, Australia’s drought policy, risks, case studies and management of drought from an international perspective. Following the conference, on the 15th there will be a half-day workshop to bring together international researchers to plan a proposed international collaborative project and alliance of researchers. 

6. Share your Story

We want to share as many EMS stories as possible, so if you, your EMS partners or clients have a story to tell, we are happy to post it on the website. Please contact the Association at contact@ems.asn.au to discuss such postings. Remember, pictures tell a thousand words so provide us with good clear photographs or diagrams so that we can include these with your case studies or examples.

To advertise EMS events, jobs or opportunities, remember to use the website. Members can advertise at a discounted rate. Please contact Claire Braund on 02 4369 6006 if you wish to take up this opportunity.

Yours in EMS
The Committee