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UNITING COMMUNITIES WAS EXCITED TO RECEIVE CARBON NEUTRAL CERTIFICATION IN LATE 2015.


We are the first South Australian based organisation and the first registered charity in Australia to be awarded the certification by the Department of Environment and Energy, as part of the Federal Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) program.


It comes after a five-year commitment to significantly reduce our carbon footprint. With cost savings of more than $1 million over five years, becoming carbon neutral has been a sound business decision, allowing us to direct these funds to where they’re needed most – our community services.


Achieving this great result was both challenging and rewarding. Actions we’ve taken to reduce our carbon footprint include:


• energy-efficient building upgrades to two residential aged care facilities and the city-based head office


…long-term benefits for our community as we continue to tackle climate change together.


OUR CARBON NEUTRAL CERTIFICATION


• converting our fleet to petrol- electric hybrid vehicles


• engaging suppliers who can provide 100% carbon neutral products with the support of Canopy, such as our carbon neutral fleet with CMI Toyota, copy paper with Fuji Xerox and stationery from Lyreco International


• supporting staff to commit to lowering emissions by, for example, switching off lights and computers when not in use and reducing waste to landfill.


Becoming carbon neutral makes sense for Uniting Communities. We’ve reduced our carbon emissions by 34%, reduced waste to landfill by 76% and hybrid electric vehicles now make up 75% of our total fleet.


Carbon Neutral was chosen as the primary carbon offset supplier for the 2015/16 financial year. Uniting Communities purchased 2,448 tonnes of carbon offsets in the Yarra Yarra Australian Native Reforestation Project – a Carbon Neutral developed project certified


under the International Gold Standard, and which has restored over 10,000 hectares of degraded farmland into a healthy landscape of native vegetation and wildlife in a biodiverse global ‘hotspot’. The project employs mostly local Indigenous people, consults with the traditional owners and engages over 80 local businesses.


Most importantly, taking action on climate change will have broader long-term benefits for our community. Research tells us that climate change will most affect people such as those in our client base – the elderly, socially disadvantaged and people on lower incomes.


We continue to strive towards reaching new targets for lowering carbon emissions and we are committed to continuing our leadership role by sharing our story and encouraging other organisations to follow a low-carbon pathway.


Uniting Communities Annual Report 2016 | 9


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