Environment

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.

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

Key environmental achievements

  • Reduced our emissions by 14 percent compared to our 2000 levels - this keeps us on track to meet our carbon reduction target of 25 percent by 2020. We're also on track to achieve an additional 3% reduction in our carbon footprint in 2016, bringing us close to an 18% reduction overall.
  • 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
  • Installation of 867 KM of solar panels, delivering an annual carbon reduction of 1067 tonnes
  • Winner of the Banksia Foundation 2015 Large Business Award
  • Establishment of the first mailing satchel collection program in partnership with TerraCycle Australia
  • Recycling over 5 million printer cartridges, 283,000 mobile phones and accessories, and more than 10 million cigarette butts (2013-2015)

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.

And we're seeing some great results through a number of initiates such as:

  • 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% 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 around 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 in a number of ways, including:

  • integrating sustainable design principles into our Building Design Standards which guide our property development and construction activities
  • delivering a dedicated energy efficiency audit program
  • utilising a research and development fund to trial and evaluate innovative ways to improve building performance and reduce carbon emissions
  • identifying and implementing more efficient lighting, 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
  • driving investment in renewable energy by being part of the Melbourne renewable energy project

Case study: Sustainable building design for StarTrack House

Redevelopment for StarTrack House, the New South Wales headquarters for our StarTrack operations, was 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 has made an important contribution towards reaching our goal of becoming leaders in environmental sustainability and our commitment to reducing our carbon emissions by 25% 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 panel installation, which produces enough electricity each year to power sixPost Offices.

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

Take a tour of StarTrack House

Product stewardship Click to expand Click to collapse

We partner 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.

Cartridges 4 Planet Ark

We're proud of our long term retail recycling partnership with Planet Ark's printer cartridge recycling program, Cartridges 4 Planet Ark.

Since 2003, our partnership with Planet Ark has made it easier for both our customers and our workforce to recycle their used printer cartridges. Cartridges can now be recycled at more than 1,800 different Post Offices and workplaces around Australia.

The components from these old cartridges are turned into things like rulers and chemical spill clean-up kits. They're also recycled in eWood™ applications, such as park benches, fencing and signs, and Enviroliner™ pens, which are available at selected Post Offices.

Around 500 recycled inkjet cartridges are needed to make 1,000 pens. After these pens are used, they can be recycled again through the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark collection boxes in stores.

Learn more about the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark program, or find your nearest printer cartridge recycling location.

MobileMuster

MobileMuster is the official recycling program of the mobile phone industry in Australia. Through MobileMuster, people can recycle all brands and types of mobile phones, as well as their batteries, chargers and various accessories.

We've partnered with MobileMuster since 2008 to help make it easier for our customers to recycle their old phones through our network of Post Offices.

Since 2008, more than 245,000 MobileMuster satchels have been returned by our customers. This amounts to 62.6 tonnes of mobile phone handsets, batteries and chargers diverted from landfill.

For more information, visit MobileMuster.

TerraCycle

We've also joined forces with TerraCycle to recycle products from some big brands including Colgate, Garnier, Maybelline, Loreal, Nespresso, L'Occitane and Nature's Own. These products are melted down and the recycled plastic made into plastic lumber, shipping pallets and railway sleepers.

Sustainable packaging Click to expand Click to collapse

We've been actively involved as a member and signatory of the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC) since 2005. The focus of our most recent 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, we also expect our 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 a workforce environmental sustainability engagement strategy - a three 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.

Supporting sustainability Click to expand Click to collapse

Banksia Awards

We're proud to have partnered with the Banksia Sustainability Awards for many years. In 2016, we continue our ongoing support of the Small to Medium Business Sustainability Leadership Award category. This category recognises great work that's being done by small to medium businesses in developing and putting in place industry-leading environmental and sustainability measures.

Download a quick guide to the SMB Sustainability Leadership category (PDF).

For more information, visit the Banksia Foundation.