Planet Ark Environmental Foundation is an Australian not-for-profit organisation with a vision of a world where people live in balance with nature. Established in 1992, we are one of Australia’s leading environmental behaviour change organisations with a focus on working collaboratively and positively.
We help people, governments and businesses reduce their impact on the environment in three key areas: sustainable resource use; low carbon lifestyles; and connecting people with nature. We promote and create simple, positive environmental actions - for everyone.
Our campaigns and programs build on our positive and action-based philosophy to work with a broad range of individuals, schools, councils and workplaces.
In short, we define ourselves by what we are for rather than what we are against. This approach strikes a strong chord amongst the millions of Australians who take part in our campaigns each year.
We are pleased to present the Planet Ark Annual Review for 2016.
In 2015 we decided that our Annual Review for that year and future years would report on the previous calendar year for all activities except for financial performance. Financial performance will continue to follow the financial year timetable. We feel this better reflects the ways in which our campaigns and financial calendars operate.
Much has been achieved in 2016. Planet Ark Paper was launched in partnership with Australian Paper; Positive Environment News replaced our long running World Environment News and our partnership with GoZero, now trading as Planet Ark Power was also launched. We also saw the largest year ever for 'Cartridges for Planet Ark' and the new endorsement of 100% recycled toilet tissue and paper towel, Naturale.
The launch of Positive Environment News in December 2016 to replace our long running World Environment News provides an alternative to the largely ‘doom and gloom’ mainstream environmental news services. While we acknowledge it is important these negative stories are told, we wanted to provide a platform to share stories that highlight the great deal of positive, innovative and inspiring environmental actions happening around the world.
The concept of the ‘circular economy’ continues to gain momentum both through communication in mainstream media and the adoption of this approach by well-known brands. We see this concept as an extension to the ‘close the loop’ philosophy that Planet Ark has promoted since its inception. Planet Ark has been at the forefront of applying this concept to our own thinking and communications. We continue to use this framing to drive our existing and future campaigns, through our recycling programs, our research and support of recycled materials and our promotion of responsibly sourced wood as a carbon-storing and renewable building material.
Our partnership with Australian Paper continues to go from strength to strength with the launch of Planet Ark 100% Australian Recycled Paper in October 2016. As part of our Make it Australian Recycled campaign, this product will make it easy for businesses and individuals to ‘close the loop’ by making the switch to a quality 100% recycled, Australian made paper. The Australian Paper recycling plant in Maryvale Victoria has the capacity to divert 80,000 tonnes of paper back into high quality recycled office paper.
Recycling has always been at the core of Planet Ark’s work, with our programs helping to make recycling part of everyday life. Our 21st National Recycling Week continued to highlight and combat confusion around recycling. Our research report titled So You Think You Can Recycle? identified some of the key recycling mistakes made by Australians. This report highlighted that outdated misconceptions around recycled materials act as a barrier to buying back recycled goods, and will help us to focus our education efforts in the coming years. One of the key activities throughout Recycling Week, the Friday File Fling, saw more than 3600 people throughout offices in Australia participate to declutter their office and return good quality office paper back into the recycling stream.
After reaching the 30 million returned cartridges milestone in 2015, our 'Cartridges for Planet Ark' campaign had its biggest year ever in 2016. The largest number of workplaces ever registered for a collection box and many of our retail partners saw the greatest number of returns to date. In total 3.4 million cartridges were returned from Australia during the year, bringing the total since the campaign's inception to 33 million.
National Tree Day celebrated 21 years of connecting hundreds of thousands of Australians with nearby nature, thanks in large part to Toyota’s 16-year support as major sponsor. Close to 310,000 people enjoyed time in nature, planting around 1.1 million trees, shrubs, grasses and edibles across the country. As part of our public awareness campaign we commissioned new research titled Adding Trees: A Prescription for Health, Happiness and Fulfilment, which examined how time in nature enhances and grows key areas in life: health, happiness, learning, relaxation and relationships. Among other positive health benefits, this report found that just 10 minutes in nature is enough to significantly reduce blood pressure.
Our Make it Wood partnership with Forest and Wood Products Australia has continued to raise awareness about the environmental benefits of building with responsibly sourced timber. We were delighted to see Tasmania announce that it would be the first state in Australia to adopt a Wood Encouragement Policy. This announcement followed the adoption of these policies by six local councils. Thirteen councils around Australia have now adopted Wood Encouragement Policies.
Planet Ark Environmental Solutions is a social enterprise, which applies commercial strategies to achieve environmental outcomes. This approach is part of a new thinking about how for-profit and not-for-profit organisations can build sustainable futures. All profits from the Solutions businesses will aid in the growth of Planet Ark’s existing and future campaigns. While we have had some success with our Planet Ark Power program we realised it was not progressing fast enough to meet pressing environmental needs with our existing resources. To overcome this we formed a partnership with GoZERO Pty Ltd, which resulted in our licensing our Planet Ark Power brand to them – a first for Planet Ark. This is an example of our collaborative value-adding approach to partnerships with other like-minded organisations (1+1=3). This partnership will allow us to accelerate the installation of commercial and large-scale solar systems.
Our Australian Recycling Label has also started to appear on T2 and Australia Post products, joining Blackmores, Officeworks and Plantic; contributing to greater recyclability of packaging. The PREP tool, which provides the evidence base for the recycling claims had 8 new subscribers.
After achieving a small surplus of $4,343 last year, we are pleased to announce a surplus of $27,093 for FY2016. Compared to 2015 this result reflects an increase of 1% in expenditure and an increase of 3% in revenue. This increase has allowed us to continue to deliver our full range of programs and even launch new activities.
Finally, we would like to acknowledge the fantastic support of our partners, sponsors, government bodies, businesses, schools, and environmental, industry and community groups, whose collaboration is highlighted in this report. Their support enables us to provide positive environmental actions to everyone.
Planet Ark’s most visited website, RecyclingNearYou, continues to break records in terms of usage. Over 2.8 million site visits were made in the 2016 calendar year demonstrating that more and more Australians are looking for information about their waste.
RecyclingNearYou was again relied upon by government to promote and educate local communities about new recycling initiatives. The Power Tool Batteryback nine month pilot program was an initiative of the QLD Government and Australian Battery Recycling Initiative that ran in Brisbane to measure demand and structure a future national program. Planet Ark worked with EcoActiv, MRI and Australia Post to deliver the trial which resulted in 4,603 power tool batteries being collected. RecyclingNearYou provided drop-off locations, a central place to direct consumers and media and hosted a consumer survey.
In addition, RecyclingNearYou also hosted information for the Rechargeable Batteryback trial program in Toowoomba, another initiative of the QLD Government and the Battery Industry Working Group.
Plans are currently underway to refresh the website which will see it and recycling in Australia go from strength to strength.
Over 75% of businesses agree reducing waste and recycling is part of being a sustainable and ethical business. Business Recycling research demonstrated that there is a gap between what businesses believe and what they do when it comes to waste management, with a worrying 58% of businesses keeping no records. Business Recycling has helped close that gap.
Planet Ark developed a way for businesses to find NSW EPA funded industrial ecology facilitators. This helped them find waste management solutions with the potential to create an income stream. Recycling Equipment Catalogue integration enabled businesses to easily find solutions that save them money.
A three-month Google Adwords campaign for Business Recycling kicked off for the first time resulting in significantly higher monthly average searches and visits.
The ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ program has been reimagining rubbish for 13 years thanks to the collaboration of the participating printer cartridge manufacturers Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta and Kyocera and resource recovery partner, Close the Loop. In 2016, this highly successful product stewardship program had its biggest year ever.
More workplaces than ever registered for a collection box, whilst 2016 was the biggest year for returns for many of our retail partners like Officeworks, JB Hi-Fi and Office National. An amazing 3.4 million cartridges were returned from around Australia during the year, with over 33 million collected since the program began.
In 2016, the core media angle for the annual campaign was that necessity will drive us towards a zero waste economy. With ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ having had a zero waste to landfill guarantee since it began, the program is the perfect example of how used consumer items can be collected and converted into a resource for making new products, like TonerPave™ road surfaces, eWoodⓇ garden beds and Enviroliner pens.
The campaign was fronted again by seven-time World Surfing Champion, Layne Beachley with the TV Community Service Announcement broadcast nationwide resulting in a 44% increase in plays compared to the previous year and valued at $427k.
So you think you can recycle? That’s what we challenged households, businesses and schools to prove during the 21st National Recycling Week. But of course, we provided help…
Planet Ark’s research report titled So You Think You Can Recycle? featured the Six Golden Rules of Kerbside Recycling to help clear up confusion in households. The Naturale Tissue Product competition, where we asked why you think buying recycled toilet tissue is good for the environment, and an online recycling quiz were important educational and promotional tools for the campaign.
By partnering with Cool Australia for the Schools Recycle Right Challenge, new school lesson plans were developed that focused on how to close the paper recycling loop, whilst our partnership with Bingo Industries enabled students to get a hands-on experience of recycling construction waste from a house. Businesses were encouraged to participate in the Friday File Fling whilst being inspired by case studies of the Australian Packaging Covenant’s High Performers in waste management.
The Make It Wood campaign aims to increase the use of sustainably sourced wood as a building material. Key focus areas are to promote the environmental and health benefits that wood provides. The campaign targets consumers, educators, councils and building designers. We have also been actively involved in promoting the benefits of Wood Encouragement Policies (WEPs) to councils and governments. There are now two local government authorities and 13 local councils that have adopted WEPs, and Tasmania recently became the first state to adopt a statewide WEP.
2016 saw Australia celebrate National Tree Day’s 21st birthday. Our flagship campaign is a celebration of nature and brings a national focus to the importance of planting trees, caring for our environment and valuing our natural world. Since its inception in 1996, Planet Ark has worked with councils, schools, businesses, community groups, sponsors and media to raise awareness and involvement in caring for and conserving our environment and making a difference to local communities.
This year we were proud to release our latest research into the health benefits of time spent in nature. ‘Adding Trees: A Prescription for Health, Happiness and Fulfilment’ shows how time in nature enhances and grows key areas in life- health, happiness, learning, relaxation and development.
We are again most grateful for the support of our celebrity ambassadors Kerri Anne Kennerley, Lee Kernaghan, Adam Goodes, Guy Sebastian, James Treble from The Livingroom, ABC celebrity gardener Costa Georgiadis, dirtgirl, and Saturday Disney presenter Candice Dixon. We also want to thank the volunteers who helped plant 1.1 million native trees, shrubs, grasses and edibles. Their volunteer labour has been valued at $5.8 million: a great outcome for the environment.
In a test of 130 people, 7 out of 10 were unsure or not confident in choosing between a sheet of Planet Ark Paper and a sheet of virgin paper. Currently, office paper has a recycling rate of about 70% but less than 18% of new reams have high-recycled content. Planet Ark Paper has been produced to help make using recycled paper 'the norm'. Since It's launch, 411 tonnes of paper has been sold, or 165,000 reams.
Australian Paper’s new $90 million waste paper recycling facility at the Maryvale Mill in Victoria has the capacity to divert 80,000 tonnes of waste paper from landfill, and export and greatly increase the production of local recycled paper. This is the only premium paper recycling plant in Australia capable of making high-quality recycled office and printing paper.
Bingo Industries has been a loyal and committed Partner of Planet Ark since 2011. Through this exclusive partnership, we're working together to increase recycling rates for construction and demolition materials.
We’re also finding ways to encourage more businesses to choose a verified and trusted recycler.
As part of Bingo's commitment to positive environmental action, Bingo is also working closely with us to assess and improve the environmental impact of their business operations.
Bingo currently achieve one of the greatest resource recovery rates in the industry, with some of their facilities able to recover 80-85% of materials received.
Planet Ark verified this through an audit of their Auburn facility in June 2016 and we will endeavour to also review their other upgraded facilities through our ongoing assessments.
Bingo are excited about helping people to recycle. That’s why they have continued to be an Associate Sponsor of National Recycling Week and hosted school education tours and page sponsorship of RecyclingNearYou.com.au.
Through our Planet Ark Endorsed range of products, we help Australian shoppers choose more environmentally responsible products.
We only endorse high-quality consumer products that offer a more environmentally responsible alternative to the commonly used products on the market.
Planet Ark continues our long-running endorsement of Aware Environmental’s Orange Power and Aware cleaning products and air fresheners.
All Orange Power cleaning and laundry products are formulated without using harsh chemicals and palm oil derived ingredients, rather relying on the abilities of their natural formulas.
All Aware products are made with palm oil free plant oil based surfactants unlike most other brands which use petroleum oil derived surfactants or conflict palm oil ingredients. They are also phosphate free, meaning they are ‘garden safe’ and better for local waterways.
Since 2008, Aware Environmental has contributed over $800,000 to Planet Ark helping to fund programs such as National Tree Day which has planted over 10 million trees since that time.
In October 2016 Planet Ark entered into a new product endorsement arrangement with ABC Tissue Products for their 100% Recycled Toilet Paper, Naturale.
Planet Ark endorses Naturale for their environmental benefits. We encourage more Australians to purchase Naturale 100% recycled tissue products, because recycled tissue helps us reduce the demand for timber resources, generally uses less energy and water, reduces waste and landfill space and generates fewer greenhouse gases.
If every Australian household used Naturale Toilet Tissue in just one bathroom they would save 55,000 tonnes of office paper every year. That’s enough paper to fill 100 Olympic swimming pools!
Naturale was a major sponsor of National Recycling Week.
2016 saw Planet Ark partner with GoZERO to provide cost effective solar solutions for businesses and organisations. Australia is the world leader in residential rooftop solar but isn’t even in the top 20 for businesses and organisations. Planet Ark Power aims to speed up the installation of solar panels on non-residential rooftops across Australia.
Through this program we will enable businesses, schools, councils, shopping centres, car parks and others to generate their own clean solar power and implement energy efficiency and storage technologies with the minimum financial outlay.
Our model means that companies spending $10,000 or more on electricity a year are in the position to save on their bills.
The Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) is an online tool that assists brand owners, packaging designers, manufacturers and other packaging supply chain stakeholders to improve the recyclability of their packaging in the design phase. Currently, PREP is the recommended method for the evaluation of packaging recyclability that can lead to the addition of the Australian Recycling Label on packaging.
Unclear labelling, changes in recycling systems over time and differences between collection services has lead to most Australians being unsure about the recyclability of at least one common packaging item. Planet Ark is working with some of Australia's leading businesses including Blackmores, Officeworks, Australia Post and T2 to reduce this confusion through their adoption of the Australian Recycling Label. The Australian Recycling Label is designed to help put packaging in the right bin. It shows what needs to be done with each piece of a package to dispose of it in the best way.
A solid Mobius loop shows an item is recyclable. The clear Mobius loop shows that an item is recyclable if the instructions below it are followed. The bin symbol indicates an item is not recyclable and should be placed in a rubbish bin.
Throughout 2016 Planet Ark staff shared their knowledge and expertise through the production of a number of research reports and thought pieces.
Michael Coleman is a Company Director and consultant. He is a Non-executive Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Macquarie Group Limited; a member of the Audit Committee of the Reserve Bank of Australia; National Board member Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and Divisional Councillor for the AICD’s NSW Division; Chair of the Reporting Committee of the AICD; Adjunct Professor at the Australian School of Business, UNSW; Chair of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Accounting and Assurance Services Research, UNSW; Advisory Board member with Norton Rose Fulbright and Bingo Industries; Director/Treasurer of Osteoporosis Australia and Director of the Belvoir Street Theatre Foundation.
Michael holds Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Commerce from UNSW. He is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Paul was appointed CEO in June 2010 and was one of the founding directors of Planet Ark in 1992. He has worked in the environmental field for the past 26 years as an environmental researcher, retailer, writer and ethical investment fund manager, all with a common theme of helping to make our society more sustainable.
Prior to working in the environmental field he spent 11 years in the financial services industry in research and advising roles. In 1986 Paul co-founded Australian Ethical Investment Ltd, which is Australia’s first socially responsible fund manager with now over $1.4 billion under management.
Lyndell joined the Navitas Group in April 2009, an Australian based global education company; and has overall responsibility for the operations of Navitas’ Professional and English Programs Division. Lyndell has held senior appointments in the financial services industry in banking and general insurance with major Australian institutions.
Andrew Johnson is a consultant and non Executive Company Director. He was formerly a CSIRO Group Executive and member of the CSIRO Executive team where for nearly a decade he led the organisation’s water, land, atmospheric, marine, biodiversity and urban systems research. He currently is Chair of the Australian Government's Independent Expert Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Scale Coal Mining and is a member of the Governing Council of the Queensland Futures Institute. Andrew is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.
After completing a geography BSc studying the science of climate change, Howard spent a few years in merchant banking and insurance before landing at market research. His research career has been focused on brands, advertising and behaviour change in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. He is the founder and CEO of Pollinate, one of Australia’s most innovative research agencies focussed on people as the most powerful agents for change. Together with Social Soup, one of the world’s leading advocacy and word of mouth agencies where Howard is a Director, Pollinate is part of The Influence Group of companies which advances influence as the future of marketing.
Phil is Managing Director of Australian Ethical Investment and a Director of Australian Ethical Superannuation Pty Limited, a pioneer of socially responsible investment in Australia with $1.4bn in funds under management. He has over 30 years experience in financial services covering funds management, superannuation, corporate governance, and industry regulation.
Phil is currently a Director of industry associations the Responsible Investment Association of Australia, the Investor Group for Climate Change and the environmental not for profit Beyond Zero emissions. He has a Bachelor of Economics, a Master of Commerce and a Master of Business Administration and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants.
Gillian is an experienced company director, chair and CEO with a strong international commercial background. Her career has spanned the private and public sector and included financial and professional services, technology commercialisation, FMCG, health and education. She holds law degrees from Sydney and Harvard Universities, is qualified as a counselor and psychotherapist, and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Since 2005 Gillian has worked professionally as an executive coach and mentor.
David is an experienced strategy and commercial advisor who currently leads the CSIRO New Ventures team that is helping Australian researchers commercialise their science and technology. Prior to this David has also worked in Corporate Strategy for CSIRO, Business Development for KPMG and taught strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Sydney. David is actively involved in several non-profit organisations, including as a board advisor to DICE Kids.
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