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Mice Net : February 2009
business events australia clients the option to offset all or part of their footprint, and at the Byron at Byron Resort & Spa rainforest rescue initiatives are integrated into each business event as part of the resort’s focus on relaxation, wellness and the environment. The National CSR Audit also reveals a range of in-house initiatives and external programs used to reduce each operator’s environmental impact. Many projects involve installing water and energy saving devices, using bio-degradable cleaning products, solar energy and renewable building products. The Adelaide Convention Centre’s ‘Green Crusade’ has delivered tangible results. The centre now recycles, reuses or composts 90 per cent of all waste, an 80 per cent improvement in two years, and sorting of waste has reduced the amount going to landfill by 90 per cent, or 2000 cubic metres. Hayman Island is also working to limit its impact through a desalination plant on the island, the use of electric buggies to transport guests and a recent switch to energy efficient globes. Brisbane’s Carlton Crest Hotel works in partnership with Bond University to reduce its environmental footprint. From an educational perspective, Griffith University now offers ‘Current Issues in Event Management’, a course bringing event sustainability and greening onto the curriculum. Larger organisations are ensuring developments incorporate the latest green star design including the new Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre which will open in 2009 with a ‘6 Star Green Star’ environmental rating. In December 2008, the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre appointed a dedicated environmental professional, responsible for continued development of all environmental policies, programs and strategies at the centre. The role has a strong focus on the implementation and ongoing management of ISO14001, the international specification for an environmental management system. Others operators such as Hidden Door select a ‘preferred charity’, like Youth Off The Streets, with whom they work to add a community aspect to events. The Canberra Convention Bureau helps through participating on specialist committees, working groups and boards in support of social initiatives and hotel group Mirvac also support local charities through its foundations. BridgeClimb regularly donates Climbs for the purpose of raising funds and in 2007-2008 they donated over 2,000 complimentary Climbs to 1,457 registered charities and fundraisers. Thinking global, many operators act local. At Myall Lakes the focus is on their endangered koala population; for Tourism Tamworth, the drought has put reducing water usage front and centre of environmental projects; Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours renew their vehicles every two years to ensure the latest in fuel efficiency and emission controls; and for global hotel chain, InterContinental Hotels Group, there is a corporate commitment to be actively involved in local community issues and to return a portion of their profits to the communities in which they operate. To support indigenous communities, many organisations actively recruit and train the local population. Greyhound Australia has an indigenous ambassador to spread the word about environmental issues and Moondance Lodge offers Aboriginal wellness experiences to share the Dreamtime creation story with visitors. The River Retreat trains and encourages local Aboriginal people to be part of indigenous cultural performances and Bliss Communications involves local artists and Aboriginal groups in guest experiences. The publisher of this magazine, BT Publishing, uses paper sourced from managed forests to ensure local communities benefit and sensitive areas are protected. The CSR Audit also identifies a variety of initiatives which are being used to change behaviours in the workplace. Larger and international enterprises are leaders in this regard, both in terms of impact measurement and public accountability. The Langham Hotel Melbourne has launched a ‘green team’ responsible for assisting the hotel to save energy, with a team champion in each department. Encore requires suppliers to provide their CSR policy as part of tenders and now has its own ‘Office Hippy’ who updates staff on social and environmental milestones reached in the company. Novotel Northbeach offers a $500 ‘Green Fred’ award for clever environmental ideas from staff members. Senior staff mentor juniors on environmental issues at Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park. Tourism Australia’s National CSR Audit highlights the increased global demand for CSR product. This is a strong signal to the Australian business events industry of the ongoing importance of CSR, a signal which will encourage and inspire the industry to continue its investment in CSR programs, ensuring Australia remains a destination where the natural environment and cultural heritage is protected and valued for generations to come. For more information, visit www.businessevents.australia.com. ABOVE: Adelaide Convention Centre CEO Alec Gilbert with worms from their new worm farm. OPPOSITE: Moondance Lodge offers Aboriginal wellness experiences to share the Dreamtime creation story with visitors. mice.net 27