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Appendix G: Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

The following summary of DVA’s environmental management activities and performance is provided in accordance with section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Environmental commitment statement

DVA is committed to integrating environmental sustainability into our business. Our key commitments are to:

  • comply with relevant legislation and policies
  • minimise our carbon footprint
  • utilise resources effectively
  • continue to look at ways to minimise waste, and reduce energy and resources consumption
  • create a culture where environmental considerations are integrated into business activities
  • consider environmental aspects in the purchase of products and services
  • report on our environmental performance and our progress towards environmental sustainability
  • promote the use of our environmental policies, practices and initiatives to staff and our business partners
  • strive for continual improvement in environmental performance.

Outcomes for ecologically sustainable development

DVA’s outcomes contribute to the principles of ecologically sustainable development as set out in section 3A of the EPBC Act. Our contribution is in the effective delivery of Australian Government services with as little environmental impact as possible.

During 2012–13, we continued to demonstrate environmental responsibility by minimising the negative impacts on the environment through efficient use of resources, effective waste management and pollution prevention.

Environmental impact of operations

DVA has taken measures to minimise the impact of our operations on the environment as set out in the EPBC Act.

Energy consumption

Agencies were required to meet Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO) energy consumption targets of 7500 megajoules per person per annum for office tenant light and power by 2011–12.

Table G1 shows data from the 2009–10 to 2011–12 financial years. Due to energy consumption reporting requirements, information relating to energy performance for 2012–13 will not be available until the end of October 2013.

Table G1: Tenant light and power
  2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 EEGO 1 target
Electricity (kilowatt hours) 4 418 830 4158 594 4154 946 N/A
Megajoules per occupied work point per annum 5991 5504 5188 7500

1 Energy Efficiency in Government Organisations.

Fleet and fuel usage

DVA commenced the 2012–13 year with 56 leased vehicles. This included 17 vehicles used by the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG) in maintaining commemorative sites. Of the 38 vehicles used by DVA, 34 (89 per cent) had a Green Vehicle Guide (GVG) rating above 10.5. This exceeds the government’s Green Car Challenge of 50 per cent of passenger vehicles being environmentally friendly cars. Due to the specific nature of the work, and the type of commercial vehicle required, only four of the 17 OAWG vehicles (23 per cent) had a GVG rating above 10.5.

During the year, eight vehicles were either replaced or relinquished, six for DVA and two for OAWG. At the end of the 2012–13 financial year, the total number of leased vehicles was 55. Where available, DVA encourages the use of E10 fuel in fleet vehicles. Fuel usage data for 2012–13 will be reported under EEGO reporting requirements in October 2013.

Travel

DVA reduces the requirement for air and other types of travel by using video and teleconference facilities in each main office location.

Waste and recycling

DVA collects data on the amount of waste and recycled material generated. In the Canberra location, 1988 kilograms of organic waste were collected in 2012–13 (equivalent to 24 cubic metres).

Environmentally friendly purchasing

Contracts

DVA promotes environmental measures that lead to the reduction of waste and emissions and the better use of resources through its procurement processes. All procurement requests include consideration of environmental issues.

Chief Executive Instructions

Our Chief Executive Instructions (CEIs) detail and encourage the procurement of environmentally friendly products and services under ‘Procurement of Property and Services’. The CEIs detail environmental purchasing guidelines ‘to purchase property or services that have less impact on the environment and human health than otherwise comparable property or services’.

Office supplies

DVA promotes the procurement of a large variety of quality products made from recycled material and manufactured with environmental consideration in mind.

The introduction of a number of online systems and processes within OAWG have resulted in a decrease in the use of paper and other office consumables.

Paper

During 2012–13, DVA significantly reduced the amount of paper purchased. We purchased 29 985 reams of white copy paper, a reduction of 28 per cent from 2011–12.

Monitoring performance

Environmental progress in DVA is reported internally to management. We also report annually to the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education on energy usage, and to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities on packaging waste.

Office of Australian War Graves

The OAWG maintains official commemorations for First and Second World War dead in 75 war cemeteries and plots in Australia and Papua New Guinea. The OAWG also maintains 10 official Gardens of Remembrance that provide official commemoration for veterans whose deaths are accepted as war caused.

The aim of the horticultural design of a war cemetery is to give the effect of a garden rather than the common concept of a cemetery, a place where the harmonious combination of the various elements may help the visitor to achieve a sense of peace in a beautiful and serene setting.

The location of war cemeteries and Gardens of Remembrance often means that supplementary water is required to achieve active plant growth. Various types of irrigation systems, including automatic systems, and water sources are currently being used. At many sites, water has become progressively less available. In response, the OAWG has sourced non-potable water at some sites and reduced its water consumption while striving to maintain longstanding features and standards of presentation.

Water management plans are in place for each war cemetery and Garden of Remembrance to enable the reduction, reuse or recycling of water. The OAWG also has a national water restriction recording system detailing restrictions at each site. Table G2 shows OAWG environmental initiatives in states and territories during 2012–13.

Table G2: OAWG environmental management initiatives in states and territories 2012 to 13
Location Activity Expected environmental impact
QLD Installation of additional water storage for Garden of Remembrance water feature More efficient water use Reduce chemical use
QLD Installation of LED lighting throughout depot Reduce electricity consumption
QLD Design and project initiation for war cemetery upgrade in FY 2013/14 More efficient water use
QLD/NSW Design and project initiation for water feature upgrades in FY 2013/14 More efficient electricity consumption More efficient water use Reduce chemical use
VIC/NSW Upgrade of irrigation systems at selected war cemeteries More efficient electricity consumption More efficient water use
SA War cemetery structural and horticultural upgrade More efficient water use

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