Because our business operations have an impact on the environment, we're committed to understanding these impacts and finding new ways to improve. This means minimising costs, better managing our resources and identifying avenues to create value for our customers, our workforce and for the environment.

Our approach is underpinned by a robust environmental management system. This is aligned with the ISO 14001 environmental standard that actively monitors and manages our environmental impacts.

In addition to our own environmental activities, we want to help the Australian community, for example through actively participating in recycling programs by providing collection programs for hard to recycle items.

Key environmental achievements

  • Reduced our emissions by 14 percent compared to our 2000 levels - this keeps us on track to meet our 25 percent by 2020 carbon reduction target
  • Implementation of energy efficiency initiatives at more than 200 of our sites
  • Introduction of new motorbikes, vans and sedan fleet that have enhanced fuel efficiency
  • Launch of Australia's first 100 per cent electric commercial van
  • Introduction of new motorbikes that are 60 per cent more fuel efficient
  • Integration of a biofuel blend into the transport fleet in Sydney and Melbourne saving 1,000 tonnes of carbon per annum
  • Installation of approximately 1,500 solar panels, a 275kWp as part of our redevelopment of StarTrack House in New South Wales and around 400 panels on our Heathwood Delivery Centre in Queensland
  • Recycling over 5 million printer cartridges, 283,000 mobile phones and accessories, and more than 3.5 million cigarette butts (as at January 2015)

You can view details of our recent performance and programs in our Annual Report.

Our environmental focus areas

We focus our programs on a number of key areas of our business.

Transport Click to expand Click to collapse

We're constantly exploring ways to become more efficient and adopt alternative fuels across our transport fleet as part of our broader environmental strategy.

We are starting to see great results through a number of new initiatives such as:

  • using biofuel at selected facilities (saving almost 1,000 tonnes of carbon each year)
  • buying and using more fuel efficient vehicles including the new Honda NBC110s motorbikes that are 60 per cent more fuel-efficient, transitioning from six-cylinder to four-cylinder sedans and operating more than 100 hybrid vehicles
  • using an extendable conveyor to "loose load" parcels directly into transport containers on selected line haul routes, improving container storage capacity
  • partnering with Renault Australia to assess the use of Australia's first fully electric-powered commercial van - the Renault Kangoo Maxi Z.E. We expect to halve energy costs and achieve a 100 per cent reduction in carbon emissions when compared to our existing vehicles

Facilities Click to expand Click to collapse

Energy use within our buildings and facilities accounts for approximately two-thirds of our carbon emissions, making it one of our largest environmental impacts.

We're always looking to make energy efficiency improvements across our network of Post Offices, mail facilities and administrative offices.

We do this is through a number of ways:

  • integrating sustainable design principles into our Building Design Standards which guide our property development and construction activities
  • a dedicated energy efficiency audit program
  • utilising a research and develop fund to trial and evaluate innovative ways to improve building performance and reduce carbon emissions
  • identifying and implementing more efficient lighting and heating and cooling systems as part of our repair and replacement programs
  • monitoring, measuring and influencing the impact of our IT infrastructure, including utilising more efficient data centres

Case study: StarTrack House

A recent example of sustainable building design is StarTrack House, our New South Wales headquarters, following its redevelopment completed in May 2014.

The aim of the redevelopment project was to create a modern, sustainable workplace for the future for Australia Post and StarTrack employees and tenants. It's made an important contribution towards reaching our goal of becoming leaders in environmental sustainability and our commitment to reducing our carbon emissions by 25 per cent by 2020.

Changes to the building included installing energy efficiency lighting, replacing external glazing and hydraulic fittings, and upgrading the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and Building Management Systems throughout the building.

StarTrack House also features our largest rooftop solar photovoltaic installation with a capacity of 370MWh of electricity per annum - enough to power 6 retail outlets.

As a result of those innovations, the building has achieved a 5 Star Green Star design and built rating and is looking to achieve a 5 star National Australian Built Environment Rating (NABERS) rating.

Product stewardship Click to expand Click to collapse

Australia Post partners with some of Australia's leading recyclers to utilise the competitive advantage of our network to recycle and or upcycle items that are normally unrecyclable.

We've established successful partnerships with Planet Ark and Mobile Muster to collect and recycle used printer cartridges and mobile phones through our Post Offices and parcel network. Through these partnerships, over5 million cartridges have been collected, along with approximately 238,000 mobile phones, batteries and chargers.

We also recently joined forces with TerraCycle to recycle cigarette butts, coffee pods, toothbrushes and cleaning products. Our solutions involved specially branded Australia Post satchels that can be securely sealed and posted to TerraCycle for processing into industrial products such as plastic lumber, shipping pallets and railway sleepers. To date, we've helped recycled over 4 million cigarette butts.

Sustainable packaging Click to expand Click to collapse

We have been actively involved as a member and signatory of the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC) since 2005 and are currently working through our 2011-15 action plan. 

The focus of our action plan is on the design, composition and recycling of our packaging. We continue to work with our packaging suppliers to look for ways to enhance the re-use and recyclability of our packaging as well as increasing the recycled content of our materials.  

Further details of our progress can be found in our:

Procurement Click to expand Click to collapse

Environmental considerations are embedded throughout our regular business activities. This is evident with environmental sustainability considerations integrated into our business cases as well as being key evaluation criterion in our procurement process. In addition, through the Supplier Code of Conduct, Australia Post also expects its suppliers to meet environmental obligations. Specifically, the code requires that suppliers: 

  • comply with all relevant local and national laws and regulations relating to the environment
  • have a documented environment management policy
  • set targets to reduce material environmental impacts
  • provide transparent and public reporting on material environmental performance
  • provide a point of contact with responsibility for environmental compliance and performance

Employee engagement Click to expand Click to collapse

In 2014, we launched our new workforce environmental sustainability engagement strategy - a 3 year approach aimed at engaging our 35,000+ people on our current environmental programs and driving better environmentally sustainable practices both at home and at work.