Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

D14 - 28 July 2005 

Greening Australia Recognises Environmental Efforts

The Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Michael L'Estrange, was today happy to receive a joint award with Café Brindabella proprietor Skye Palmer, in recognition of DFAT's contribution to the environment.

In the lead up to National Tree Day, President of Greening Australia (ACT and S.E NSW) Mark Butz, presented a plaque and panoramic photograph of Mt Macdonald to Mr L'Estrange and Ms Palmer, to thank the Department and its Café for their support for the environment through tree planting and funding support.

DFAT's hands-on support for the environment has developed from the implementation in 2004 of a comprehensive Environmental Management System (EMS). Through its EMS, DFAT is working to reduce the Department's impact on the environment and to develop more environmentally friendly work practices.

DFAT has also made a positive contribution to the environment through its partnership with the Café Brindabella and Greening Australia. On Sunday 17 October 2004, staff from DFAT and the Cafe Brindabella, together with their families, joined with Greening Australia to plant 1500 native trees and shrubs on the slopes of Mt Macdonald. Almost a year on, the trees are doing well.

DFAT and the Café Brindabella have also combined to cut non-biodegradable waste in a way which generates funding support for tree planting. The Café has completely eliminated the use of polystyrene cups and with DFAT's agreement is encouraging staff to bring their own mugs through the introduction of a 20 cent levy on the biodegradable cardboard take-away cups.

The Café has found support for these initiatives from DFAT staff has far exceeded expectations. This support for the environment has spread to many of the staff from surrounding buildings who now also bring their own mugs. Usage of disposable cups has been cut by 40-45 per cent in the past year.

Each month, the Café donates the proceeds from the disposable cup levy to Greening Australia to assist in funding the planting of native trees. Since the inception of the levy in 2004, Café Brindabella and Departmental take-away coffee drinkers have donated $11,410 to Greening Australia.

DFAT, Café Brindabella and Greening Australia will hold their next tree planting day on Sunday 11 September.

Contact: Nicole Guihot (DFAT) 02 6261 1555
Toby Jones (Greening Australia) 0428 460 004