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 2017.
2017 will be remembered as the year that reignited Australia’s concerns about how we deal with our waste streams. Through the community interest generated by programs such as the ABC’s War on Waste, Planet Ark experienced an extraordinary increase in demand for its education and information services such as Recycling Near You. The year also saw challenges for the recycling sector with China announcing in July new restrictions on the quality of recycled materials they will accept from Ist Jan 2018. We view this challenge as a much needed opportunity to improve education, behaviours and infrastructure around recycling and recycled materials. Planet Ark intends to continue to play a leading role in the transformation to a Circular Economy.
To help meet the challenge of reducing recycling contamination in late 2017 we completed negotiations with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) to collaborate to make the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) available to its corporate members. This agreement commenced on the 1st Jan 2018 and will result in the ARL being widely adopted with many thousands of products featuring it, leading to more resources being recycled and reduced contamination rates. They will join leading companies across Australia and New Zealand including Woolworths, Officeworks, Blackmores, T2 and Plantic in showing their commitment to providing an effective end of life communication to their customers.
Our Recycling Near You website continued to be the go-to service for Australia’s recycling enquiries with 3.6 million page views in 2017, 20% more than the previous year. As part of the renewal of our long standing partnership with Bingo Industries they became the Major Sponsor of Recycling Near You, supporting an exciting redevelopment of the site to offer a much improved user experience. This expansion of our partnership includes supporting their bold ambition to become the ‘greenest company on the ASX. We are proud to be working with a company that is so committed to positive environmental actions.
We continued our efforts to embed a circular economy approach into our programs and communicate the importance of supporting it to the public. The theme for 2017’s National Recycling Week was What Goes Around: Why Buying Recycled Matters which focused heavily on the importance of closing the loop and supporting products and companies committed to using resources recovered through recycling. A new initiative saw us establish an ever growing list of recycled products to make it easy for consumers to close the loop through their buying choices. We also produced a guide for households, businesses and councils which gives easy, simple steps everyone can take to include recycled products in all aspects of their life.
2017 was the biggest year yet for Cartridges for Planet Ark with close to 3.6 million printer cartridges recycled with zero waste to landfill. While a mature campaign, Cartridges for Planet Ark continues to grow with over 37 million cartridges returned since 2003. This year we focused on saying thank you to participating manufacturers, retailers, workplaces and individuals who help us to divert over 13,000 cartridges from landfill each day.
The rise of packaged home delivery food services including refrigerated goods has seen an increase in the use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) packaging for which very little kerbside recycling services exist. To combat this problem Planet Ark has partnered with Planet Protector to promote their sustainable packaging product, Woolcool. Using waste wool as an insulation material, Planet Protector now offers companies a renewable and biodegradable alternative to EPS packaging. We are excited to support Planet Protector in actively encouraging companies to adopt this more sustainable packaging option.
Our very own 100% recycled product, Planet Ark Paper, received a package refresh in late 2017 with the new design bringing a point of difference to the product as ‘Mindful Paper’. This was aimed at appealing to the conscious consumer who mindfully chooses what products to buy based on their impact on society and the environment. The sleek new design also aimed at breaking down outdated perceptions that recycled paper was of a lower quality than virgin paper.
It was another huge year for our flagship campaign, National Tree Day, with over 250,000 people participating in the country’s largest tree planting and nature care event. In 2017 close to 1 million native trees, shrubs, grasses and edibles were planted. As part of the public awareness campaign, Planet Ark commissioned a report titled Learning from Trees- Life lessons for Future Generations in collaboration with our ambassador, Dr Amanda Lloyd. This report is a continuation of our previous research focusing on the importance of contact with nature for our health, wellbeing and development. We would like to thank Toyota for 18 years of wonderful support for National Tree Day as well as Bunnings for over 7 years as supporting sponsor.
Our Make it Wood campaign aims to increase the use of responsibly sourced wood as a building material due to its ability to store carbon and the proven health benefits of ‘nature inspired design’ also called biophilic design. To coincide with 2017’s World Wood Day Planet Ark released a report Wood - Nature Inspired Design which outlines the importance of connecting buildings with the natural world and how biophilic design can bring nature indoors and provide a healthier, happier environment for all. This year also saw Tasmania adopt the first state wood encouragement policy, which requires wood to be considered as the primary building material.
Our first anniversary of partnership with Planet Ark Power saw members generate 1.4 million kWh of electricity, corresponding to a reduction of 1,200 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Not only has this produced excellent environmental benefits it has also led to cumulative savings of over $200,000 off our members’ electricity bills. In December we saw the launch of the largest privately owned solar power station with smart battery storage at Llewellyn Motors a Toyota dealer based in Ipswich which received significant coverage.
We are pleased to announce a surplus of $44,349 for FY 2017, a 64% increase from the previous year due to an increase in income with excellent cost control. This increase has allowed us to continue to deliver our full range of programs and develop new activities.
Most importantly 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 with an increase of over 20% on the previous year with 3.6 million page views in 2017.
The site once again helped governments promote recycling initiatives such as Return and Earn in NSW and the NT Container Deposit Scheme. Environmentalist and model Laura Wells starred in a Planet Ark video promoting the inclusion of milk and juice cartons in the schemes. RecyclingNearYou also continues to be the go-to place to search for drop off locations for the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme. E-waste remains one of our most searched materials.
ABC TV’s War on Waste, hosted by Craig Reucassel, featured Brad Gray our Head of Campaigns at the time and had a positive impact on RecyclingNearYou. Planet Ark live tweeted during the program which (trended #1 on Twitter) and during the period from May to July the numbers of page views of the site increased by 60% compared with same period in 2016 and our recycling hotline experienced an 11% increase. Working closely with the War on Waste team resulted in prominent image links from their website to Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week and the 12 DOs of Christmas websites. We experienced a 40% increase in RecyclingNearYou page visits for the two week period around the airing of the 4th episode in December.
The Recycled Product Directory developed as part of National Recycling Week this year is now accessible from the site and the new look RecyclingNearYou website, launched in March 2018. This website update is being funded by our proud partner Bingo Industries and will make it even easier to find recycling near you!
Almost half of all business waste goes to landfill despite estimates that approximately 70% can be reused or recycled. A new guide was developed that provided four ways that business owners or staff members could make a business case to recycle more, reduce waste and promote the benefits of recycling at work.
Planet Ark’s Business Recycling campaign focused on ‘Making the business case for less waste’ using loss aversion theory by emphasising that those businesses who don’t recycle or have a waste management strategy, risk negatively impacting their bottom line, their position in the market, and staff morale. Four new inspiring stories of businesses recycling and reducing waste were added to the Business Recycling website and formed part of the campaign.
Interior Designer James Treble again came on board voicing the Business Recycling radio community service announcements and news grabs. Two new videos were developed highlighting the business benefits of recycling and promoted on Planet Ark’s social media platforms.
Our theme for 2017, What Goes Around: Why Buying Recycled Matters, highlighted why it’s important to close the recycling loop. By providing plenty of tips, tricks and engaging resources, we helped businesses, schools and communities across the country to do just that.
In National Recycling Week’s 21st year we produced a guide for households, businesses and councils which detailed what happens to recycling beyond the bin and why buying it back matters. The guide’s content was supported by our brand new Recycled Products Directory and the inaugural Buy it Back Day!
Naturale Tissue Products returned as major sponsor as did ambassador, interior designer and media personality, James Treble. We also welcomed new ambassadors Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla and environmentalist and model Laura Wells.
By partnering with Cool Australia for the Schools Recycle Right Challenge (SRRC), four new school lesson plans were developed with information provided by Bingo Industries, MobileMuster and Australian Paper. Prizes for our SRRC competition were provided by Replas and eWood Gardens. A record number of workplaces participated in the Friday File Fling and our online Recycle Right Quiz proved more popular than ever with prizes generously donated by Biome Eco Stores.
Unclear labelling, changes in recycling systems over time and differences between collection services has led to many Australians being unsure about how to recycle or discard common packaging items. 2017 was an exciting year for the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) with Woolworths adopting the symbol across their entire Own Brand product range. They join leading companies who had already adopted the ARL including Blackmores, Officeworks, Australia Post and T2. These companies showed true leadership by committing to create their packaging with recyclability in mind and helping consumers recycle correctly.
The ARL is designed to help dispose of packaging correctly. It shows what needs to be done with each element of a package to ensure the material has the best chance of being recycled.
A solid Mobius loop indicates an item is recyclable. The clear Mobius loop indicates 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 rubbish bin.
In late 2017 Planet Ark completed negotiations with Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) to collaborate to allow the ARL to be adopted by its members. This agreement commenced on the 1st of January 2018 and will see the ARL becoming more widely adopted. We anticipate 2018 will bring some exciting developments for the label with more products hitting the shelves featuring ARL leading to more resources being recycled and reduced contamination. Watch this space!
Cartridges 4 Planet Ark (C4PA) continued to go from strength to strength during 2017. The campaign’s 14th year was its best ever with nearly 3.6 million cartridges recycled - that’s an increase of 100,000 cartridges collected in 2016. This is thanks to the fantastic support of resource recovery partner Close the Loop and our brand partners Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Kyocera and Konica Minolta. Since the beginning of the program in 2003 over 37 million cartridges have been collected. The campaign achieved a whopping 170% increase in media reach and a 35% increase in website visits.
The core message of the 2017 campaign was to say ‘Thank You’ to our participating manufacturers, retailers, workplaces and individuals for helping to divert 13,500 cartridges every working day from landfill. This messaging helped people feel like they were doing a great job, are part of something big, positive and worthwhile, thus encouraging them to keep doing it and others to join in. Layne Beachley, seven-time women’s world surfing champion, again fronted the promotional campaign with new videos and year round television and radio Community Service Announcements (CSA).
Entering into its second year in the market, Planet Ark 100% Australian Recycled Paper continues to encourage consumers to close the loop on paper recycling by buying back recycled paper. It is a great example of the circular economy and how consumers have the power to drive this through the simple actions of use, recycle and choose recycled paper.
In November, Planet Ark Paper underwent a package redesign to clearly illustrate the high quality and positive environmental impact of the product, repositioning it as ‘Mindful Paper’. This connects with consumers who want to make a conscious decision when purchasing office paper and by choosing Planet Ark Paper they are being mindful about the positive impacts it has on the environment.
Find out about the overarching campaign, Make it Australian Recycled, and our partnership with Australian Paper in the ‘Working With Business’ section.
The Make It Wood Campaign aims to increase the use of sustainably sourced wood as a building material. Timber is the only major building material that helps tackle climate change; it removes carbon from the atmosphere during the growth phase, it stores carbon and it uses much less energy in its production than other more carbon intensive materials like concrete and steel. We also know that wood is good for our health and wellbeing – it effectively helps to bring the benefits of time spent in nature into the built environment – and can reduce stress responses including lower blood pressure and heart rate.
A key part of the campaign is the adoption of Wood Encouragement Policies (WEPs) throughout Australia. A WEP generally requires responsibly sourced wood to be considered, where feasible, as the primary construction material in all new-build and refurbishment projects. There are now two Local Government Authorities and fourteen local councils that have adopted a WEP in Australia. In June 2017 Tasmania became the first state in Australia to adopt a state-wide policy, and in December 2017 the Town of East Fremantle in WA became the first town or city council in Australia to adopt a WEP.
The Planet Ark Power partnership aims to increase the uptake of solar energy use in the commercial space in Australia. The idea of using the sun to provide a sustainable source of electricity, given most businesses operate as the sun shines, is one that should be an attractive option for businesses. However, while Australia is a world leader in the adoption of residential solar, we have a long way to go to lead the world for businesses and organisational installations.
This program aims to speed up the installation of solar panels on non-residential rooftops across Australia. We enable businesses, schools, councils, shopping centres, car parks and more to generate their own clean solar power and implement energy efficiency and storage technologies with the minimum financial outlay.
To date our members have generated over 1.4 million kWh of electricity and have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 1.2 million kg.
Our flagship campaign is a celebration of nature and brings a national focus on the importance of planting trees, caring for our environment and connecting with the natural environment. Since its inception in 1996, Planet Ark has worked with councils, schools, businesses, community groups, sponsors and media to raise awareness and inspire the conservation of our environment and the creation of meaningful community connections. We would like to thank our Major Sponsor for the last 18 years, Toyota Australia. Their wonderful support helps National Tree Day reach so many each year.
This year we welcomed conservationist and nature photographer, Steve Parish, as an ambassador. His beautiful photos came together to create the ‘Inspiration from Trees’ online photography exhibition which promoted a connection to nature through art.
Our research report, Learning from Trees- Life Lessons for Future Generations, was completed in collaboration with our ambassador, Dr Amanda Lloyd and sponsored by Toyota. This report is a continuation of our previous research which focuses on the importance of contact with nature for our health, wellbeing and development. Learning from Trees examines how prepared the next generation is to tackle the biggest global challenges facing humanity and includes research from Australia and overseas that demonstrates how the crucial skills identified can be developed through outdoor learning and nature time.
We would like to say a big thank you for the support of all our wonderful ambassadors Jamie Durie, Adam Goodes, Kerri Anne Kennerley, Lee Kernaghan, Guy Sebastian, Magdalena Roze, James Treble from The Livingroom, Dr Katrina Warren, ABC celebrity gardener Costa Georgiadis, dirtgirl, nature photographer Steve Parish, Psychologist Kirrilie Smout, Educator Dr Amanda Lloyd and Artist Orly Faya.
Our partnership with Australian Paper continues to work hard towards increasing the purchase of high-recycled content paper (50% or more). The Make It Australian Recycled campaign tied to the partnership is aimed at encouraging Australians to take three simple steps to help close the paper recycling loop:
1. Choose to purchase high-recycled content, Australian made office and printing paper
2. Recycle your office and printing paper correctly in dedicated recycling bins
3. Reuse the paper you and other Australians recycle by buying it back again as high-recycled content, Australian made office and printing paper
This ensures that high quality paper as a resource is kept in circulation as long as possible and out of Australian landfills. We’ve made it easy for customers to make the right choice. Simply look for Planet Ark 100% Australian Recycled Paper or alternatively the ‘Make It Australian Recycled’ logo on select products and to know you are making the right choice with the least environment impact.
Bingo Industries has been a loyal and committed Partner of Planet Ark since 2011. Our relationship began when Bingo approached Planet Ark wanting to transform from a small waste management company, into a one-stop-shop waste management and recycling company. Bingo and Planet Ark are working towards a common mission to increase diversion of waste from landfill through recycling, we are proud that ‘every Bingo skip bin goes to a recycling centre’.
Seven years later, Bingo Industries was listed on the ASX in May 2017, expanded operations in to Victoria and is now the industry leader in construction & demolition waste management. Bingo uses the latest in sorting technology to ensure its industry-leading recycling rates are achieved.
Bingo is committed to positive environmental action and to be known as the ‘greenest’ company listed on the ASX. Bingo’s partnership with Planet Ark supports this through their regular assessment of operations and collaborative input in continual improvement.
Bingo is the Major Sponsor of the redevelopment of Recycling Near You and they continue their support of National Recycling Week.
In November 2017, Planet Ark entered into Partnership with Planet Protector who are revolutionising the insulated packaging industry with Woolcool.
The Partnership, initiated in response to the significant rise in plastic waste caused by home delivery services using primarily Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) packaging, tackles the issue by encouraging businesses to embrace more environmentally responsible alternatives.
Options to recycle EPS are not widely available and rates remain low with less than 30% being recycled nationally and with much lower rates through municipal systems available to the general public.
An insulated packaging range made from waste wool, Woolcool is ideal for the delivery of products requiring temperature control. Testing has shown that Woolcool maintains pharmaceuticals and food contents at their required temperature for longer than conventional materials. Beyond its packaging potential, the wool is biodegradable, recyclable and compostable.
Planet Ark believes Woolcool offers a real alternative to traditional insulated packaging like EPS and we are actively encouraging businesses to move towards using renewable products that have a significantly less impact on the environment.
The winner of 3 WorldStar Packaging Awards in the Transit, Food and Packaging Materials and Components categories, Woolcool has received international recognition as an example of sustainable product innovation and has saved almost 1.5 million EPS boxes annually since its 2016 launch.
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 almost $900,000 to Planet Ark, helping to fund programs such as National Tree Day which has planted over 11 million trees since that time.
This year we continued our endorsement of Naturale 100% Recycled toilet paper and tissue products.
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!
As the Major Sponsor of National Recycling Week Naturale helped us to educate people about the importance of buying recycled products.
Throughout 2017 Planet Ark staff shared their knowledge and expertise through producing a number of research reports and guides. Staff also showed their leadership in the industry through writing or contributing to a number of articles.
Michael Coleman is a Chartered Accountant and a professional non-executive director. He is a member of the Macquarie Group and Bank boards and chair of their Audit Committees. He is Chairman of ASX listed Bingo Industries Limited, a past member of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Audit Committee and past Chairman of ING Management Limited. He retired from KPMG in 2011 after a career that included 30 years as an audit partner and practice leader.
An experienced director and Chairman, a pragmatic risk manager and an audit committee and governance expert, Michael is currently Adjunct Professor, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales; a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ National Board, where he Chairs the Audit Committee, he is also an AICD NSW Councillor and Chair of the AICD’s Reporting Committee; a director and Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee of Legal Aid NSW, a Governor and Chair of the Audit Committee at the Centenary Institute for of Cancer Medicine & Cell Biology and a director of Belvoir St Theatre Foundation.
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 28 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 $2.5 billion under management.
Lyndell Fraser has had senior executive appointments in the education, insurance and banking sectors. She is currently engaged in doctoral studies and holds degrees in economics and business administration.
Dr Andrew Johnson was appointed Director and CEO of the Bureau of Meteorology in September 2016.
For nearly a decade Andrew was a member of the CSIRO Executive Team where he led the organisation’s water, land, atmospheric, marine, biodiversity and urban research.
In addition to Planet Ark, Andrew is a Councillor of the Queensland Futures Institute and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Australian Agricultural Company.
Dr Johnson has a PhD from the University of Queensland and a Masters from the Kennedy School at Harvard University. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technical Sciences and Engineering and Australian Institute of Company Directors.
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, a pioneer of socially responsible investment in Australia with $2.7bn in funds under management. He has over 30 years experience in financial services.
In addition to Planet Ark, Phil is also a director of the Responsible Investment Association of Australia and is Chairman of Beyond Zero Emissions a climate change think tank. 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 of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
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 serving on the advisory board for CEDA (Committee for Economic Development of Australia).
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