Commissioner says better appreciation of co-benefits of resource efficiency and environmental sustainability needed

Media release

The Structures for Sustainability 2011 audit report was tabled today in the Victorian Parliament. The report prepared by Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Professor Kate Auty examines the implementation by Victorian Government departments and agencies of environmental management systems.

In the report Professor Auty calls for leaders within government to show strengthened commitment to resource efficiency and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by departments and agencies.

Professor David Griggs, CEO ClimateWorks Australia and Director of the Monash Sustainability Institute, comments in the report that the role of governments’ and agency heads is of real importance in addressing the challenges of climate change.

“The results of this audit show indications of progress. For example, in 2009-10 there was a 3% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from energy use in offices and a 3% decrease in emissions travelled per 1,000 kilometres from the government’s car fleet” said Professor Auty.

‘Environmental sustainability is propelled by commitment at all levels of the organisation and embedding sustainability into the very fabric of the organisation, and we still have a way to go’ .

The report also discusses the characteristics of organisational structures and organisational cultures that can contribute to successful environmental management. Agency case studies are provided to demonstrate the range of significant co-benefits and efficiencies which can flow from environmentally sustainable achievements. The agencies studied are Parks Victoria, Zoos Victoria, Public Record Office Victoria, Museum Victoria, State Library Victoria, the Victorian Electoral Commission and Film Victoria.

“The strategic audit demonstrates the breadth of actions we can adopt to deal with environmental challenges and my key messages for the Victorian Government are that it should:-

establish a process whereby all agency heads and other executive staff are required to include in their contracts and/or performance plans key performance indicators which give active consideration to environmental management and resource efficiency

require departments and agencies to review their organisational structures to ensure they promote environmental sustainability and report annually on actions taken to promote consideration of environmental sustainability.”

Read the report.