As a leading environmental regulator, EPA strives to improve the environmental performance of its own operations and activities as we believe that ‘Environmental outcomes start with us’. Through our environmental policy we commit to continually improving the environmental management and performance of our office, laboratory and field-based operations.
The scope of EPA’s operations includes our 6-star head office at 200 Victoria St, Carlton, the Centre for Applied Sciences at Macleod (incorporating our laboratories) and five metropolitan and regional offices across Victoria. Activities that result in our environmental impacts as an organisation include:
- our buildings, including energy and use, materials and waste management
EPA’s environmental management system
In 2004 EPA introduced an environmental management system (EMS) consistent with the Victorian Government Environmental Management System Framework and the International Standard for Environmental Management Systems (IS014001). The EMS provides a structured and systematic management framework for identifying, monitoring and controlling EPA’s environmental impacts and improving environmental performance.
EPA employs a Corporate Sustainability Coordinator whose role is to assist with the development and implementation of environmental management programs (EMPs) – the practical building blocks that make up the EMS – and to monitor and report on EPA’s environmental performance, both internally and externally.
Along with reporting our environmental performance externally through our annual report, EPA’s EMS is reviewed every year by the Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability as part of a strategic and public evaluation of the way the Victorian Government’s departments and agencies address their own environmental outcomes and; the needs of climate change. EPA is also required to have our EMS independently audited every other year.
We review and discuss our progress every quarter.
Implementation of EMPs has resulted in significantly improved environmental performance. Between 2005-06 and 2012-13, EPA has seen a:
- 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and carbon neutral since 2005
- 37% reduction in tenancy electricity use through a range of energy reduction initiatives including sensor lighting, maximising the use of daylight, energy-efficient lighting and appliances, a switch-off policy for computers and appliances and virtualisation of servers
- 62% reduction in water consumption through initiatives such as rainwater harvesting at two EPA sites and installation of water efficient tap fittings and appliances
- 43% reduction in paper consumption through initiatives such as duplex, multi-page and PIN printing
- 44% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with our vehicle fleet through initiatives such as the purchase of fuel efficient and hybrid vehicles.
In 1998 EPA established Green Stars, a cross-organisational environment committee, to implement environmental management programs, develop and implement actions to improve EPA’s environmental performance, and monitor and report on EPA’s environmental performance.
The Green Stars committee is made up of 30 representatives from across the organisation, including:
- the director responsible for the EMS (Chair)
- the Corporate Sustainability Coordinator
- representatives from each unit.
Green Star representatives play an important role within EPA by communicating environmental initiatives and providing assistance to new and existing staff in implementing environmental behaviours. This is supported by training, newsletters, regular meetings, online forums and updates on new initiatives. Most importantly, the role of Green Stars is recognised in committee members’ annual performance plans as five per cent of their total workload – and they are accountable for this, highlighting the value to the organisation.
EPA sets and communicates ambitious targets and achieves these using the EMS and through its Green Stars initiatives that focus on:
- reduction in water use
- reduction of GHG emissions and stationary energy
- reduced paper use by EPA staff
- generation of less office waste whilst increasing recycling
- reduced fuel consumption.
See other pages for further details of these initiatives.