CFA's environmental sustainability program assists individuals, brigades and CFA business units to manage their business in an environmentally-responsible way. CFA also continues to provide leadership in environmental management at the state and national levels.
The work of the environmental sustainability program is guided by the CFA Environment Strategy which was approved by the Board in December 2003.
A primary focus for 2007-08 was to assist CFA leaders and office staff to demonstrate leadership in environmental management. Highlights are outlined below.
- 'The Way Forward' was developed to highlight 20 key environmental management priorities for CFA. Priorities include strong climate change action, personal action, responsible fire management, collaboration and improved management systems. This document was developed following a review of implementation of the CFA Environment Strategy conducted during 2006-07.
- Governance arrangements and opportunities for learning and collaboration were strengthened through the formation of an executive-led Environmental Sustainability Committee and management-level Environmental Sustainability Coordination Group.
- CFA's executive officers participated in a team objective to discuss climate change issues with their teams, to reduce their work-related greenhouse gas emission by five per cent and to support environmental initiatives in CFA.
- This initiative has been very successful with all executives completing the targets, and 75 per cent of executives reported that this initiative helped them to demonstrate leadership in this important area. A case study of this initiative was shared with other government agencies at the request of Sustainability Victoria.
In January 2008, CFA joined the 'Resource Smart Government' program administered by Sustainability Victoria. Participating agencies will be assessed on their planning and progress in reducing resource use and be subject to audit by the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability. A preliminary assessment indicates that CFA is well-placed compared with other agencies because of its commitment, planning and implementation of behaviour change programs. Further work is needed to achieve targets for resource use reduction.
CFA is part of a team (the 'Tally Ho Hub') that won two awards at the 2008 City of Whitehorse Sustainability Awards for leadership in sustainability (sustainable business award and overall sustainability award). The hub was established two years ago with the aim of bringing together local businesses to support each other in improving organisational sustainability performance. The hub is facilitated by the Metropolitan Regional Waste Management Group. Other organisations involved include World Vision, RSPCA, VicRoads, Agilent, HP and Fastwire.
Environmental training continues to be included in CFA training courses. Environmental care is now included in six CFA courses (Prescribed Burning, Operational Management, Incident Planning, Urban Crew Leader, Supervision of Machinery and Class A Foam).
The CFA environmental grants continue to be popular with brigades. This year $17,906 was provided for 24 projects. The projects have helped brigades to save energy and water, and to provide leadership in environmental management.
Brigades have also demonstrated leadership in environmental management through conducting environmentally responsible Championship events. At the National Championship recycled water was used for the events, waste was recycled and greenhouse gas emissions from travel were offset through tree planting.
Green Office Project
This project commenced in November 2007 with the objective of assisting CFA staff to take personal responsibility for reducing waste and resource use within their sphere of influence.
To date, the project has targeted CFA area and regional offices, directorates and two training grounds and has achieved:
- the establishment of 19 Green Teams with 125 members
- 27 Green Office training sessions completed
- introduction of 'Top 20 Actions' including recycling and energy saving for implementation by teams.
Other 'environmentally friendly' initiatives include:
- introduction of a tracking tool to enable offices to track energy and water use over time
- introduction of photocopiers which use soy based inks, are more efficient and do not use a fusing (heating) process
- purchasing 100 per cent recycled paper for use at CFA Headquarters
- over 30 per cent of CFA's general transport fleet is now made up of four cylinder or gas vehicles
- carbon offset for all airline travel and Headquarters' pool vehicles
- procurement of all corporate stationery through an 'environmentally friendly' printer.