We have become the first South Australian organisation and the first registered charity in Australia to receive certification under the Federal Government’s Carbon Neutral Program.
The certification comes after an ongoing commitment within our organisation to significantly reduce our carbon footprint.Read More
“We committed to our Carbon Neutral program in 2010,” says Simon. “Becoming carbon neutral makes sense for our organisation; we have a strong moral compass and research tells us that climate change will most affect people in our client base – the elderly, socially disadvantaged and people on lower incomes. It’s a tremendous example of a locally based company taking leadership and “walking the talk” to reduce emissions and transit to a low-carbon economy. We are hoping other South Australian businesses will follow suit and take up the challenge and opportunity to become carbon neutral.”
And we are now ‘building’ upon our Carbon Neutral status …
Uniting Communities has commenced redeveloping its Franklin Street site into a modern mixed-use high-rise development to house our vital Community Services as well as Specialist Disability Accommodation and Retirement Residences, all the while showcasing our environmental sustainability. We hope to achieve an overall 6 star Greenstar rating for this ‘U City’ development demonstrating our organisation’s ongoing commitment to reducing its carbon emissions.
We encourage all businesses and organisations to reduce their carbon emissions and become carbon neutral, so they too can enjoy its numerous benefits, while assisting all of us and the environment in which we live.
SA Climate Leaders Awards Winner 2016
Uniting Communities won the Community and Regions category at the Inaugural Premier’s Climate Change Council – SA Climate Leaders Awards 2016.
This award recognised our commitment to becoming certified carbon neutral and encouraging behavioural change in our organisation, as well as in the broader community.Read More
We are the first South Australian organisation and first registered charity in Australia to be Certified Carbon Neutral. Uniting Communities are also proud to be one of Carbon Neutral Adelaide’s Founding Partners.
“We are acutely aware of the emerging impacts of climate change and our responsibility in taking action in the interests of our clients, staff, volunteers and the broader community. The process of becoming a carbon neutral organisation has led to significant operational savings, improved efficiencies and positive recognition for the leadership we have taken. We are proud of our investment in the future of Uniting Communities, the South Australian community we serve and our planet,” Chief Executive, Simon Schrapel.
Our carbon neutral initiative focused on reducing our main sources of carbon emissions including energy usage, waste, paper and stationery and the fuel used in fleet and staff vehicles, commuting and air travel. This resulted in savings of more than $1,000,000 over the life of the program through reducing electricity consumption by 29%, company fleet fuel by 14%, and waste to landfill by 76% while also lowering out carbon footprint by 34%.
“We see the importance of carbon neutrality to our continued work with vulnerable South Australian communities. The most vulnerable members of our communities will be hardest-hit with climate change-related issues, such as increasing energy costs”, says Simon. “This is an investment in the future of our organisation and of the SA community we serve”.
Uniting Communities has not only significantly reduced its carbon emissions, but we’ve also taken it a step further by voluntarily purchasing carbon offsets for our remaining emissions to achieve carbon neutrality. We purchase offsets from local native biodiverse revegetation projects along the Murray Darling between the Coorong, Murray Mouth and Riverland, thereby contributing to South Australia’s economy as well as community and environmental outcomes. We also buy offsets from overseas ranging from wind power generation projects to avoided deforestation.Read More
The South Australian offsets programs involve reforestation projects that sequester carbon. So effectively, we turn our emissions into vegetation. The benefits of these reforestation projects are that they restore and protect many thousands of hectares of otherwise degraded farmland into a healthy landscape of native vegetation and wildlife in important biodiverse hotspots. Some of these projects also consult with the traditional land owners and employ local indigenous people, while engaging with many local businesses to create new economic opportunities. Where we can, we also engage suppliers who can provide 100% carbon neutral products such as carbon neutral certified paper. A demonstration of businesses working together to combat climate change.
Overseas offsets are largely from wind-power generation projects that replace the use of diesel thereby eliminating those CO2 emissions. Wind-power is zero carbon. These projects also contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals including Climate Action, Clean Water and Sanitation, Decent Work and Economic Growth and Good Health and Wellbeing.
Uniting Communities has been offsetting our entire carbon footprint since 2015. As at September 2019, we have offset around 15,700 tonnes of its CO2 emissions – that’s the equivalent of planting out 24 Adelaide Ovals!