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 the 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 2013–14, 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.
Agencies were required to meet Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO) energy consumption targets of 7,500 megajoules per person per annum for office tenant light and power by 2011–12.
Table G1 shows data from the 2010–11 to 2012–13 financial years. Due to energy consumption reporting requirements, information relating to energy performance for 2013–14 will not be available until the end of October 2014.
|Electricity (kilowatt hours)||4,158,594||4,154,946||3,798,772||N/A|
|Megajoules per occupied work point per annum||5,504||5,188||4,449||7,500|
N/A = not available
Fleet and fuel usage
At the start of 2013–14, DVA had 55 vehicles. They included 17 vehicles used by the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG) in maintaining commemorative sites and 38 vehicles used by the Department.
During 2013–14, the Department introduced environmental management initiatives to minimise CO2 emissions and to replace its fleet vehicles at lease end with smaller, and more fuel-efficient and cost-effective vehicles. During the year, DVA continued to encourage the use of E10 fuel in its fleet vehicles.
In 2013–14, 26 vehicles were renewed as per lease arrangements for DVA and 10 for OAWG. During 2013–14, DVA relinquished three vehicles reducing the total fleet to 52.
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, 2,855 kilograms of organic waste were collected in 2013–14 (equivalent to 28.5 cubic metres).
The OAWG maintains official commemorations for First World War and Second World War dead in 75 war cemeteries and plots in Australia and PNG. The OAWG also maintains 10 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 the 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.
The key initiatives to improve water efficiency are the upgrades to the water features at Sydney and Brisbane Gardens of Remembrance, which commenced in January and March 2014 respectively. The upgrades will reduce spray loss, rectify leaks, improve water quality and allow for more efficient backwashing and chemical use.
Environmentally friendly purchasing
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 the ‘Procurement of Property and Services’. The CEIs detail environmental purchasing to ‘purchase property or services that have less impact on the environment and human health than otherwise comparable property or services’.
DVA promotes the procurement of a large variety of quality products made from recycled material and manufactured with environmental consideration in mind.
During 2013–14, DVA purchased 38,970 reams of photo copy paper, this is a slight increase from the previous year due to changing work practices in the support of Veterans Review Board cases and Single Access Mechanism requests.
DVA has had an increase in the use of carbon neutral certified paper from 2012–13.
Environmental progress in DVA is reported internally to management. We also report annually to the Department of Industry on energy usage, and to the Department of the Environment on packaging waste.