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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Appendix 7

Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

This appendix comprises the department's report on its ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance as required by section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The department has sought to ensure that, where possible, its policy activities, administration of legislated activities and other operations have accorded with and enacted ecologically sustainable development (ESD) principles. It has pursued these principles through a variety of activities including its work on multilateral environment agreements, international legal frameworks and trade policy. These principles were also applied in our public diplomacy.

Outcome 1 – The advancement of Australia's international strategic, security and economic interests including through bilateral, regional and multilateral engagement on Australian Government foreign and trade policy priorities

The department helped advance ESD by supporting Australia's participation in international negotiations on the environment and sustainable development, including the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Australia led efforts at Rio+20 to promote international action to address challenges to the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, including overfishing, ocean acidification and marine pollution. We also helped secure agreement to develop a set of universal Sustainable Development Goals. The department supported the Government's objective of securing an effective global response to climate change, including a mandate to negotiate a new legal agreement covering all countries. The department supported the delivery of outcomes to protect and preserve Antarctica's environment through Australia's hosting of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in Hobart. The department also contributed to ESD through its work on trade policy, including by pursuing opportunities to reduce barriers to trade in environmental goods and services internationally.

Outcome 2 – The protection and welfare of Australians abroad and access to secure international travel documentation through timely and responsive travel advice and consular and passport services in Australia and overseas

The N-series Passport uses Australian Paper's 100 per cent carbon neutral ENVI paper range, which is Greenhouse Friendly as certified by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

Outcome 3 – A secure Australian Government presence overseas through the provision of security services and information and communications technology infrastructure, and the management of the Commonwealth's overseas owned estate.

The department contributed to ecologically sustainable development in its management of the overseas estate. Environmentally sustainable and energy efficient design principles are applied by the department's Overseas Property Office (OPO) in all new construction overseas and, within the limits imposed by the existing base building features, in fit-out and refurbishment works.

In current major projects OPO is targeting a self-assessed 5-star ecological outcome against the Green Building Council Green Star assessment model. Initiatives employed include intelligent building automation systems to optimise plant efficiency and minimise energy consumption, water conservation and management to reduce demand on local supply, low energy use lighting and air conditioning technologies, automatic cooling systems, residential solar heating and green technology landscaping.

In relation to the department's leased domestic offices, we have fulfilled the requirement for whole-of-government reporting on the National Environment Protection Measures and on the Australian Packaging Covenant Report. We reported the department's energy usage to the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. We maintained involvement in the Government Agency Environment Network. The department supported a range of 'green' events, including Earth Hour.

The department seeks to maintain voluntary certification by external audit against the international standard ISO14001:2004 for the Environmental Management System in its leased headquarters in the R G Casey Building in Canberra. The current certification requires revalidation and this is expected to occur in 2012. Planned refurbishment and upgrading of the R G Casey Building on the renewal of the current lease in 2014 is expected to contribute to improved environmental practice by the department in Canberra.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade