Archive for the ‘Express 101’ Category

On Paper, Population Growth Threatens Biodiversity & Life on Earth

Posted by admin on March 24, 2010
Posted under Express 101

On Paper, Population Growth Threatens Biodiversity & Life on Earth

The Australian Conservation Foundation says human population growth threatens Australia’s biodiversity, making it harder for us to reduce greenhouse pollution, protect natural habitats and ensure a good quality of life for all, while Australian Paper says the seven new grades of carbon neutral paper will create a tonne of sustainable value by helping government and listed companies hit carbon reduction targets and improve triple bottom line reporting figures.

Media Release (23 March 2010):

The Australian Conservation Foundation has nominated human population growth as a “key threatening process” to Australia’s biodiversity under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act).

“The bigger our population gets, the harder it is for us to reduce greenhouse pollution, protect natural habitats near urban and coastal areas and ensure a good quality of life for all Australians,” said ACF’s director of strategic ideas, Charles Berger.

“More people means more roads, more urban sprawl, more dams, more transmission lines, more energy and water use, more pollutants in our air and natural environment and more pressure on Australia’s animals, plants, rivers, reefs and bushland.

“We need to improve urban and coastal planning and management of environmental issues, but we can’t rely on better planning alone to protect our environment.  Rapid population growth makes sustainable planning nearly impossible, so stabilising Australia’s population by mid-century should be a national policy goal.”

The EPBC Act nomination cites many government reports that acknowledge the direct link between population growth and environmental degradation. 

The nomination looks at four specific areas where human population growth is directly affecting native species and ecological communities – the coastal wetlands of South East Queensland, Mornington Peninsula and Westernport Bay in Victoria, the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia and the Swan Coastal Plain in Western Australia.

ACF is calling on the Government to set a population policy that will:

•           Stabilise Australia’s population by mid-century.

•           Increase humanitarian migration and continue to support family reunions, but substantially reduce skilled migration.

•           Return Australia’s overall migration to 1990s levels.

•           Adequately fund strategies to minimise the environmental impact of population growth.


Media release


In response to overwhelming customer demand, Australian Paper, the nation’s only carbon neutral paper producer, today announced the introduction of seven new carbon neutral grades that will be widely available through a range of new distribution partnerships.  

Paul Allen, Australian Paper GM Marketing, said the carbon neutral stock will create a tonne of sustainable value by helping government and listed companies hit carbon reduction targets and improve triple bottom line reporting figures.

“With Australian Paper’s new range of Australian owned and made carbon neutral paper, we are giving procurement and production departments a choice they can be proud of. 

“We are helping government and big business walk the talk on sustainability,” Mr Allen said.

“Our new grades will nullify more than 15,000 tonnes of harmful greenhouse emissions in 2010, so something as simple as the choice of paper can have a huge impact on environmental performance.

The stock has independently certified metrics as to the amount of CO2 avoided through the use of the grade; metrics that will improve their ‘People, Planet and Profits’ reporting.” 

In 2008, Australian Paper was the first to market with carbon neutral paper with the ENVI range. To date, they have offset over 80,000 tonnes of carbon – the equivalent of neutralising over 16,000 cars for one year1.

The seven new carbon neutral stocks, which range from virgin paper to 100% recycled, are supplied as completely carbon neutral and are certified under the Federal Department of Climate Change Greenhouse Friendly program. All carbon emissions from production, manufacture, transport and disposal have been measured, reduced and offset to make the paper truly carbon neutral, with the ISO methodology and numbers to back it up.   

Australian Paper is currently helping an number of Australian government and corporate clients reduce their carbon footprint, including Australia Post, Australian Passports, Hungry Jacks, Computershare,  Dolly Magazine, AGL Energy, The University of Adelaide, Stikki Notes, Foxtel and MP Sid Sidebottom.

Dave Hynes, Chairman of Computershare Communication Services which specialises in the delivery of investor service communications for some of the largest financial, utility, telecommunications and insurance corporations in Australia, said the company’s association with Australian Paper was an important element of Computershare’s environmental commitment.

“At Computershare, we want to help our stakeholders to effect positive change that improves the quality and sustainability of our environment, workplace, community and marketplace. 

“One of the key ways we can provide sustainable communication solutions to our clients is by influencing their choice of paper; giving them the option of a carbon neutral paper solution. In the past two years, by using Australian Paper’s carbon neutral ENVI range we have helped clients collectively save 790 tonnes of harmful greenhouse gas emissions through their communications alone,” said Mr Hynes.  

“With this expanded variety of carbon neutral stocks, we will be able to provide a greater range of services, such as brochures and inserts, to help our stakeholders complete the ‘sustainable package’ and reduce emissions even further.”       


In a recent survey, 90% of Australians said business has a responsibility beyond increasing shareholder value to that of caring for communities and the environment and 84% said that if a company can demonstrate an active involvement in minimising environmental and community impacts, they would be more likely to choose their products.

Mr Allen said that, as an Australian manufacturer, this made sustainability a business imperative for Australian Paper.   

“We want to give production and procurement departments access to the most sustainable paper in the world to help them meet these expectations. Our goal over the next two years is to achieve a 15% level of all paper specification in Australia for a real impact on carbon footprints and triple bottom lines.”

Mr Allen said that by specifying Australian Paper’s carbon neutral range, businesses can help Australian manufacting as well as the environment.

“Australian Paper employs approximately 1,200 Australians, mostly in Gippsland and Shoalhaven.

Being a manufacturer in Australia isn’t a particularly sexy thing to be, but we have a broad economic impact in these communities. People in these areas are hungry for business growth, and while manufacturing has been down in Australia, the sustainability cause is creating new opportunities.

“As the relaunched “Australian Made Campaign” shows, Australian made needs to matter, especially in the face of increased foreign imports. To this end, Australian Paper is proud to be doing its bit to help Australian manufacturing.”

ENVI, the first carbon neutral paper in Australia, is still available, in uncoated form only.


Week to Highlight Environmental Benefits of Community Composting

Posted by admin on March 24, 2010
Posted under Express 101

Week to Highlight Environmental Benefits of Community Composting

The Centre for Organic & Resource Enterprises (CORE), with the support of Compost Australia, announces that the fifth International Composting Awareness Week 2010 (ICAW) will be held throughout Australia from Sunday 2nd to Saturday 8th May to promote the importance of this valuable organic resource and the environmental benefits composting affords our communities.

The Centre for Organic & Resource Enterprises (CORE) with the support of Compost Australia (a

division of the Waste Management Association of Australia) has launched the fifth International

Composting Awareness Week 2010(ICAW) throughout Australia.

ICAW is being held from Sunday 2nd to Saturday 8th May with a week of activities and events to

promote the awareness of the importance of this valuable organic resource and the

environmental benefits composting affords our communities.

The major objectives of ICAW

ICAW aims to:

· Increase the diversion of organics from the main waste stream through increasing awareness

of, and participation in centralised composting, kerbside, home composting & community


· Increase awareness of, and participation in, the proper use of “soil-improving composts”

· Help reduce and recover food waste

· Highlight the environmental and social benefits of composting including the opportunities to

reduce our carbon emissions

Composting benefits Australian communities

“Each year over half of our household garbage, is made up of food and garden organics. Most of this

material can be recycled by composting it”, says Eric Love Chairman of CORE.

“Composting is not new. Compost has been used in crop production for over 4000 years. Artificial

fertilizers only became widely available a century ago. Australia is an old and eroded continent,

that is suffering from land degradation”.

“As organic waste decomposes in landfill it produces the greenhouse gases, methane and carbon

dioxide. These greenhouse gases contribute to worldwide climate change. Most landfill gas is made up of 54% methane and 40% carbon dioxide. Methane is twenty four times more damaging as a

greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.”

Eric continues that “ironically, if all this organic material was diverted from landfills and properly

composted, it could be used to reverse the affects of climate change. By applying this compost to

gardens, farms and other land uses, millions of tonnes of carbon will be stored in the soil. This acts to

lower the atmospheric temperatures that lead to changes in our climate.”

“Indeed compost produced by the recycled organics industry is already providing Australian landscape, horticulture and agricultural industries with affordable solutions to improve productivity and

environmental outcomes. Recycled carbon based products are also being effectively used to treat

contaminated stormwater runoff and enabling the water to be reused or more safely released into our

waterways”, says Mr Wadewitz.

Composting, a solution at the burning issues

Australians are the second highest waste producers in the world, second only to Americans. Australians now throw away 3.3 million tonnes of food every year – up to a quarter of the country’s food supplies.

Emissions from landfills are part of the Australian Federal Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction

Scheme (CPRS). If everyone composted, the total waste going to landfill could decrease by up to a

third. So emissions and fees from landfills will drop off.

Composting is definitively one of the most important leverages to achieve the 66% diversion rate target, an overall state target for the reduction of waste by 2014.

Finally, 2010 is the year of the bio diversity. This is the perfect time to reflect on our achievements to

safeguard biodiversity and focus on the urgency of our challenge for the future.

It is important for all Australians that International Composting Awareness Week achieves its stated

objectives. We all need to be aware of the benefits afforded to all of us when our business communities, households and agricultural sector composts.

Composting is the intelligent alternative. We can compost to help scrap carbon pollution. Composting is the responsible and sustainable thing to do for our planet.                                                                                              


Lucky Last: An Admission of Failure to Communicate?

Posted by admin on March 24, 2010
Posted under Express 101

Lucky Last: An Admission of Failure to Communicate?

Australia’s Chief Scientist Penny Sackett, who has previously said climate change is real and humans are contributing to it, admits the problem was not the credibility of the climate science but of miscommunication.  “We do have a communications failure, and I think we should admit that, we should address it,” Dr Sackett, an astronomer, told ABC Television. She suggested scientists and journalists should ask themselves how they could do a better job at improving the public’s understanding of climate science. She could start, in my humble opinion, by communicating more herself and encouraging the head of CSIRO, Dr Megan Clark, to do the same. There’s much more to be said on this.

 Both of our leading ladies of science have turned down invitations to contribute to this media outlet for a start and I’m sure other editors/journalists have experienced something similar. Yet it was Geoff Garrett, the head of CSIRO at the time of the Greenhouse Conference in October 2007, who also admitted that the scientific community had not communicated this issue – climate change – as effectively as it should have done.

In my book, through this weekly newsletter and by all other means possible, I have encouraged – and provided a channel for – scientists, Government, business and NGOs to get their messages across in plain language.

One has to admit that the climate change sceptics and deniers – along with some very vocal industry groups – are far better organised and effective with their communications efforts, through PR, media and lobbying, than our Government institutions, research organisations and universities. As Peter Doherty put it so well in last week’s express: Don’t shoot the messenger!

But we have to say that our scientific institutions and their leaders need to be much better messengers and communicators. We have some great examples of scientists who clearly communicate effectively: Tim Flannery, Ian Lowe, Bob Henson, Ann Henderson-Sellers, Peter Doherty.

However, we must resist blaming the media if the right messages are not getting through. Penny Sackett has not only admitted communication failure but said quite clearly “we should address it”. If she wants some advice on how to address it, there are plenty of communications experts around, in the private sector, she could turn to.

Unfortunately, Government has shown its own failure to manage its communication and has, partly at least, admitted that failure to get its CPRS off the ground is due to the fact that it hasn’t explained what it is and how it will work.

Let’s hope that the words of the chief scientist will be taken to heart and we see an improvement in the media and the message, starting with her own office and CSIRO.