Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance
Austrade is committed to identifying areas of continuous improvement to support ecologically sustainable business practices across Austrade's global footprint. Austrade's performance with respect to the requirements of section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is summarised below. Austrade's results against its energy efficiency performance indicators are outlined in Appendix Table G1.
Effects of Austrade's activities on the environment
Austrade's Environmental Working Group, with representation from Austrade's onshore and offshore network, met twice during 2011–12. The working group reviewed Austrade's environmental policy and considered ecologically sustainable practices for implementation across the agency's network.
As a dispersed international organisation, Austrade has actively sought opportunities for reduction in travel throughout 2011–12, including through greater use of technology-enabled communication such as video and web conferencing. During 2011–12, a range of video and web conferencing enhancements were implemented. In September and October 2011, Austrade replaced 105 room-based videoconference endpoints and 296 desktop computer videoconference clients. During 2011–12, the videoconference network was used for 49,000 hours, a 9 per cent increase on the 44,743 hours recorded in 2010–11.
Austrade reported energy consumption in its Australian operations as required by the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations Policy. The report entitled Energy use in the Australian Government's operations 2007–08, released in December 2009, outlines the levels of energy usage and emissions for the Australian Government, at both a whole-of-government and an individual agency level. During 2010–11, Austrade's total electrical energy consumption as a tenant was 957,820 kilowatt hours, a reduction of 100,890 kilowatt hours on 2009–10.
Austrade continued with existing approaches to minimise its environmental impact, including purchasing 10 per cent green power for its computer centres in its Canberra office, duplex printing and copying as the default option, and establishing recycling systems for a range of office supplies and consumables.
Austrade also updated its plan to optimise energy efficiency in its data centres (see page 123).
Austrade coordinated the participation of 32 offices across Australia and overseas as part of Earth Hour 2012. This was the third year of global participation by Austrade, after having previously participated within Australia. Where practical, many of these offices switched off their lights, printers and photocopiers for the weekend of 31 March to 1 April 2012. Staff also received advice on how they could participate personally in Earth Hour as well as through their office activity.
Austrade's Canberra office has established approaches for minimising its environmental impact and reducing waste. These practices include setting duplex printing and copying as the default option and establishing recycling systems within both the workspace and staff kitchens.
Building managers throughout the Austrade network continue to work with building owners to identify mechanisms to reduce waste and implement better practice initiatives.
Water consumption is more difficult to measure on a broader scale for Austrade as most Austrade tenancies are not separately metered for water consumption. Where possible, Austrade facility and property managers have worked with building owners to install dual-flush toilets and flow restrictors on taps.
Austrade Head Office – Sydney
In December 2011, Austrade's head office in Sydney confirmed environmental sustainability activities related to carpet care and maintenance had saved 7,438 litres of water, 1,041 megajoules of energy and 0.37 tonnes of CO2 for the year. This equates to a total saving of 44,452 litres of water, 6,222 megajoules of energy and 2.18 tonnes of CO2 saved for the six years from 2006 to 2011.
Principles of ecologically sustainable development
Austrade operates under the Australian Trade Commission Act 1985 and administers the Export Market Development Grants scheme pursuant to the Export Market Development Grants Act 1997. While neither Act makes specific reference to ecologically sustainable development or sustainability principles, Austrade adheres to government policy and ministerial directives in accordance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development.
|Total consumption of energy—includes all energy consumed when undertaking the functions of the agency, such as energy consumed for office buildings and transportation||Amount of electricity consumed||2,493,829 kilowatt hours||2,293,430 kilowatt hours|
|Amount of gas consumed||Not available||Not available|
|Amount of other fuels consumed||Not recorded||15,048 litres of petrol(a)|
|Air travel distances||Not recorded||Not recorded|
|Total consumption of green energy—includes the purchase of energy from sustainable sources||Amount of green energy consumed||137,860 kilowatt hours||128,150 kilowatt hours|
|Relative energy uses—includes green energy use relative to non-renewable energy use and energy use per employee||Proportion of green energy in total energy consumption||Green energy purchased for 10 per cent of Canberra computer centre usage||Green energy purchased for 10 per cent of Canberra computer centre usage|
|Amount of total energy consumed per employee||Not available||Not available|
(a) Estimate based on calculating kilometres travelled multiplied by fuel consumption rating.
Note: Austrade is a tenant and, as such, some of the performance measures listed on the ecologically sustainable development website, www.environment.gov.au/esd, particularly in relation to waste and water, are not directly measured by Austrade so have not been included in the table. However, Austrade works closely with building managers, where possible, to ensure that environmental initiatives are in place. Austrade also recycles waste paper and encourages the use of recycled paper.