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 the 2013-14 financial year.
Perhaps Planet Ark’s best-known role to date is the part we’ve played in making recycling second nature in Australia through our work with councils, manufacturers, workplaces, schools and communities. National Recycling Week 2013 was an opportunity to reflect on our successes and future challenges with the launch of our Recycling Revolution Report. It provided a snapshot of the major revolutions in recycling over the past 25 years, from the introduction of kerbside recycling services in the late 1980s to more recent initiatives like the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme. Our report clearly demonstrated how far we have come as a community in our recycling behaviour.
Our popular ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ program achieved its highest monthly return of 366, 000 cartridges in a single month in the 11-year history of the program, adding to the landmark total of over 25 million cartridges we’ve diverted from landfill with program logistics partner Close the Loop and supporting manufacturers. Close the Loop continues to develop new uses for the materials that come from recycled cartridges with the latest being ‘TonerPave’(TM). This is added to road surfaces to make them longer-lasting and less carbon-intensive to make.
National Tree Day continues to connect with many Australians thanks to the 14-year support of Toyota as major sponsor. People flocked to planting sites within schools and communities across the country to help us celebrate our milestone of 20 million trees planted since the campaign began in 1996. As part of the public awareness campaign, we commissioned new research titled Missing Trees – The Inside Story of an Outdoor Nation, which explored whether Australia’s typical outdoor lifestyle is still the reality in these times of longer working hours and increased screen time.
Our Make it Wood partnership with Forest and Wood Products Australia continues to thrive through our collaborative activities in educating Australians about the environmental benefits of building with responsibly sourced timber. There are now a number of large mass timber buildings, including the award-winning Library at the Dock in Melbourne, and building industry awareness is steadily growing.
We have also teamed up with Australian Paper in a partnership called Make it Recycled, which aims to reduce the amount of waste paper going to landfill and increase the use of locally-made, high-recycled content paper. Australian Paper has made a $90 million investment to achieve the recycling of 80,000 tonnes of office paper annually – enough the cover a tennis court with a kilometre high stack!
After a number of years of profitable operation, our financial performance was below expectations with a loss of $127, 737. While we had a 3% growth in revenue, this was lower than expected. On the expenditure side, we had a 12% increase - a significant component being a one-off write down of fixed assets. We have a number of initiatives in place to reduce costs without impacting on our organisational performance. We also have a number a number of significant new programs in development and are projecting a modest surplus in the coming year.
Finally, we would like to acknowledge the wonderful contributions and support of our partners, sponsors, government bodies, businesses, schools, environmental, industry and community groups who enable us to unite people through positive environmental actions.
National Tree Day is Australia’s largest community
tree planting and most popular nature care event. We work
with councils, schools and community groups to inspire people to ‘get outside
and grow’ for the benefit of the environment, their community and their own
Since the launch of National Tree Day in 1996 more than three million participants have planted native trees, shrubs and grasses in their local community. On Sunday 28 July 2013, we reached a significant milestone with the 20-millionth plant going in the ground.
We received generous support from our committed ambassadors Costa Georgiadis, Magdalena Roze, Jamie Durie, Ranger Stacey and Jackie French. To strengthen the link between National Tree Day and the broader health, wealth and development benefits of contact with nature, Planet Ark launched the report entitled Missing Trees: The Inside Story of an Outdoor Nation.
The research revealed that shrinking backyards, increasing screen time and longer working hours have alarming implications for Australia's perceived ‘outdoor way of life’ and the health of our children.
Toyota continued its long-term support of National Tree Day with its dealer network, helping schools and community groups to plant trees in their local communities. Schools all over the country received hands-on assistance and resources from the team members at their local Bunnings Warehouse.
This year, Planet Ark teamed up with Cool Australia to develop lesson plans that were aligned with the Australian Curriculum to enable teachers to engage students, from pre-school to year 10, in learning about nature.
Australia has a reputation as an outdoor nation but over
the last generation we have moved indoors and onto screens.
Today, kids play outside less often, adults work longer hours and backyards are shrinking. Only one in three Aussie kids today play outside every day compared to around three in four children a generation ago.
At the same time, evidence has been mounting that shows the health and wellbeing benefits of having regular contact with nature. Kids who regularly play outside have better physical and learning outcomes, including improved academic performance, concentration, creativity and self-esteem, reduced anxiety, stress, aggression, bullying and fewer symptoms of ADHD.
In fact, hospital patients recover more quickly when they can see trees from their beds, and workers feel happier when surrounded by pot plants.
Everyday Nature is our newest program developed to encourage Australians to connect with nature. We do this by providing positive, helpful and practical information and resources to help people of all ages spend more time outdoors in nature.
Last year, over 2 million enquiries were made via our
RecyclingNearYou website, the country’s most comprehensive household
For most Australians, using the kerbside recycling bins is second nature, but confusion surrounds more complex items such as electronic waste, food scraps, soft plastics and materials that contain hazardous waste.
RecyclingNearYou.com.au provides a free and reliable database of public recycling information to remove this confusion.
The site provides local drop off options for 26 different materials ranging from tyres to batteries and from computers to mobile phones.
Last year (for the fifth year in a row!), recycling options for electronic waste topped the list of the most common search query for visitors to the RecyclingNearYou site.
The site is used as the go-to directory for many households and councils searching for solutions to ‘problem items’ that kerbside recycling does not collect.
Australian businesses are generating an
average of 1.7 tonnes of waste per employee, yet only about half of this is
being recycled. Australia-wide,
80% of employees would like to see more recycling in their workplace, which
provides a huge opportunity for reduced environmental impact and reduced
Last year, we launched a mobile version of our popular BusinessRecycling.com.au website, making it easier for businesses to find local recycling options. This helped more than 1.2 million business visitors find recycling solutions for more than 90 different materials via our free Business Recycling website, online directory and hotline.
To ensure the site hosts up-to-date and reliable information, we invest time, energy and resources in checking service listings and communicating with the registered recyclers throughout the year.
Our promotional campaign in March/April 2014 encouraged recycling champions to push for more recycling at their workplace and highlighted case studies of Australian businesses that are leading the way in workplace recycling. This campaign received strong support from local print media, radio and Planet Ark’s Facebook fans.
Since its inception 11 years ago, ‘Cartridges 4 Planet
Ark' has diverted over 25 million cartridges from landfill – enough to cover
Bondi Beach a dozen times over!
The program provides Australian households and businesses with a free, easy and environmentally-accredited way to recycle their used printer cartridges. We promote the use of collection boxes for 37,000 workplaces and 3,700 retail locations across the country.
Our logistics and recycling partner, Close the Loop, continues to develop new uses for the materials that come from the recycled cartridges. The newest product is called ‘TonerPave’(TM) and was developed in conjunction with Downer EDI Limited.
TonerPave is added to road surfaces to provide longer lasting paving and less carbon-intensive manufacturing. During the annual promotion in April/May, TonerPave was the subject of widespread, positive media interest, particularly on local and metro radio.
Our Community Service Announcements featured seven-time World Champion surfer Layne Beachley and attracted over $100,000 worth of airplay across TV and radio.
Like other electronic waste, printer cartridges are a complex mix of materials, including plastics, metal, inks and toners. These materials represent a significant investment in resources that should be recovered and recycled rather than disposed of into landfill.
National Recycling Week, held in November, is
an annual opportunity for councils, workplaces, schools and individuals to
focus on the many benefits of re-use and recycling. Since National Recycling Week launched in 1996,
recycling has moved from being a niche ‘greenie’ activity to a mainstream community
behaviour, which is undertaken by the vast majority of Australians.
The central focus of 2013 National Recycling Week (11-17 November) was the release of the Recycling Revolution Report, which highlighted the many recent improvements to recycling systems and demonstrated how far Australian behaviour has come.
The report provided a snapshot of the major revolutions in recycling over the past 25 years, from the introduction of council-operated kerbside recycling services in the late 1980s to more recent initiatives like the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme launched in 2012.
As part of the campaign, Planet Ark promoted a range of activities which saw workplaces hosting Friday File Flings to increase paper recycling, students learning about the benefits of recycling through the Schools Recycle Right Challenge and councils engaging their residents though a range of activities like facility tours and workshops.
Responsibly sourced wood is the only major
building material that is renewable, stores carbon and has a much lower manufacturing
carbon footprint than materials like steel, concrete and aluminium.
Through the ‘Make it Wood’ campaign, we used face-to-face, online and media promotions to increase awareness among the Australian public of the benefits of using responsibly sourced wood in the built environment.
During this period, Make it Wood was represented at living expos including Grand Designs Live in Sydney and the MBA Homeshow in Melbourne, where our team spoke directly to builders and renovators. The ‘Make it Wood’ Facebook page continued to serve as a powerful platform for sharing timber news, ideas and innovations.
Throughout this period we continued to emphasise the importance of timber certification schemes such as FSC, PEFC and AFS. We participated in the review of the revised Australian Forestry Standard, which was launched in August and we contributed to the development of Australia’s new FSC national standard.
We supported the ‘FSC Friday’ campaign and sponsored the Timber Design Awards in September 2013 and the FSC Awards in November 2013.
We engaged with mayors across the country to promote ‘wood encouragement policies’ for future development of public buildings. Key members of our ‘Make it Wood’ team now hold positions on a steering committee formed by Latrobe City Council in Victoria, to oversee the development of its Wood Encouragement Policy, a first for Australia.
Australian businesses are pretty good at
recycling office paper, but they are only doing half the job.
Currently office paper has a recycling rate
of 68%, yet less than 18% of new paper includes any recycled content. Buying
Australian-made recycled paper is an important step in closing the recycling
To help businesses make the switch to recycled, Planet Ark has teamed up with Australian Paper in the ‘Make it Recycled’ partnership.
This, our newest partnership, aims to increase recycling of office paper, reduce Australian waste paper going to landfill and increase the use of locally-made, high-recycled content paper by paper buyers all over Australia, including Government at all levels.
Australian Paper have invested over $90m in a new recycling plant in Maryvale Victoria to recycle 80,000 tonnes of paper annually – that's like a tennis court worth of paper, stacked a kilometre high!
The ‘Make it Recycled’ logo now features on Reflex recycled products and we promote the use of high-recycled content office paper though our website, newsletters and e-mails and with free trial packs of recycled paper.
Bingo Group 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 and continue to work closely with Bingo Group to assess the environmental impact of their operations in NSW.
Choosing the right
products can be confusing. The Planet Ark Endorsed logo makes that choice
easier. All of the products we endorse
have been assessed to ensure they meet high environmental criteria.
We only endorse high quality consumer products that offer a more environmentally responsible alternative to the commonly used products on the market.
From the bathroom to the laundry to lighting and car tyres, Planet Ark helped millions of Australians choose better products to reduce their environmental impact. Every purchase of an Endorsed product makes a positive impact.
Each year, more than 300 million household batteries are thrown away with ordinary waste and end up in our landfill, which is potentially harmful to our environment.
That’s why we’re proud to have joined forces with ALDI Stores - the first supermarket in Australia to offer a free recycling service for household batteries in every store.
Planet Ark has verified the recycling processes used by Aldi to ensure that all common household batteries collected in ALDI stores are recycled in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
Since December 2013, Planet Ark has been working with Officeworks to encourage millions of Officeworks customers to rethink their use of single-use shopping bags.
As part of the Officeworks ‘Positive Difference’ plan, Officeworks stores throughout Australia now offer high-quality shopping bags with 50% recycled content to their customers, in exchange for a 5c and 10c contribution to Planet Ark.
The initiative has been successful in reducing the amount of disposable bags offered by Officeworks to their customers, whilst raising essential funds to support Planet Ark’s environmental campaigns.
Keeping people informed about environmental
issues and success stories helps engage the community about the work we do and is
an important part of creating positive environmental behaviour change.
Planet Ark's World Environment News delivers a daily digest of global environmental news stories to the inboxes of 8,000 subscribers as well as many more on-line readers.
Covering the latest environmental stories, pictures and videos from across the planet, World Environment News provides a comprehensive source of free environmental news.
These emerging news stories are also shared through a dedicated Twitter feed and as well as Facebook, to increase the reach and impact of these important global environmental issues.
Michael Coleman is a Company Director and consultant.
He is Non-executive Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Macquarie
Group Limited; member of the Audit Committee of the Reserve Bank of Australia;
Chairman of the Federal Government’s Financial Reporting Council; Chair of the
Reporting Committee of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD);
Divisional Councillor for the AICD’s NSW Division; Adjunct Professor at the Australian School of
Business, UNSW; Chair of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Accounting and
Assurance Services Research, UNSW;
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 the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia 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 23 years as an environmental researcher, retailer, writer and ethical investment fund manager. Prior to working in the environmental field he spent 11 years in the financial services industry in research and advising roles.
Lyndell joined the Navitas Group in April 2009, an Australian based global education company; and has overall responsibility for the operations of Navitas’ Professional & 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 CSIRO Group Executive. As a member of the CSIRO Executive team he leads the organisation’s water, land, atmospheric, marine, biodiversity and urban systems research. He is also a Non Executive Director of CSIRO Chile. Dr Johnson is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. He is also a member of the Governing Council of the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna and the Australian Government's Independent Expert Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Scale Coal Mining.
Phillip is Managing Director of Australian Ethical Investment and has over 30 years experience in financial services covering funds management, capital markets and superannuation. In previous roles he has been a senior executive of Perpetual Limited and served on the board and as Chairman of the Australian Securitisation Forum. He is currently also a Director and Treasurer of the Responsible Investment Association of Australia and a member of the Advisory Board of the Association for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia.
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.
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 & 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 & mentor.
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