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During the reporting period, the department ensured that our policy activities and operations contributed to
the principles of ecologically sustainable development as required by section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). Under our three outcomes we:

  • helped develop global frameworks supporting ecologically sustainable development, including shaping a new global treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, and promoting environmental protection in the Antarctic Treaty system
  • delivered the development program in accordance with the principles of ecological sustainability in concert with environmental laws of partner governments and relevant multilateral organisations and agreements
    • we applied our Environmental and Social Safeguard Policy, which outlines a streamlined approach to managing safeguard risks and seeks to ensure our development program does not cause unacceptable impacts to people and their environment, to all aid investments
    • we released the Environmental and Social Safeguard Operational Procedures to guide our policy implementation
  • continued to deliver on Australia’s commitment to provide $300 million over four years (2016–17 to 2019–20) to address climate change and disaster resilience in the Pacific
  • progressed integration of climate change action and disaster risk reduction across our development program to support partners to build climate resilience and reduce emissions
    • we are on track to meet Australia’s commitment to provide $1 billion in climate finance over five
      years (2015–2020) (including the $300 million commitment to the Pacific)
  • led global efforts to conserve coastal ecosystems (mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses), which play a significant role in carbon sequestration
    • we commenced a new $6 million initiative in the Pacific, as well as blue carbon initiatives in the Indian Ocean region worth almost $2.5 million
    • we committed $2 million to the International Coral Reef Initiative and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, which will support coral reef management capacity building and data collection activities for developing countries globally
    • we also committed $2 million to support the Australian Institute of Marine Science in the use of innovative technology to enhance capabilities in the Pacific to gather and assess information on coral reef resilience and inform appropriate management
  • supported 42 activities, including projects in Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and India, promoting sustainable water management policies, legislation, regulations, practices and tools
  • delivered environmental management services to all properties in the domestic leased estate. The contract with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) provides:
    • monitoring and reporting on the impact of the department’s business on the environment
    • identifying, costing and implementing environmental initiatives
    • preparing information for mandatory reporting of Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO)
    • providing strategic advice on environmental management policy and direction that will benefit the department
  • collated energy usage according to the metrics outlined in EEGO Policy and used this information to target initiatives and energy efficiency works.

The EEGO Policy seeks to improve performance through the procurement and management of energy-efficient office buildings and environmentally sound equipment and appliances. As DFAT’s electricity and gas use is separately metered at all of its leased office sites in Australia, it is not required to report central services energy consumption.

The following table shows the department’s domestic energy performance against the EEGO policy intensity target over the past three years:

Tenant light and power
7,500 MJ/person/annum
Other buildings
No target MJ/person/annum
  • pursued further opportunities to reduce energy consumption at the RG Casey Building, including reduction in on-site server equipment and reduced external lighting
  • as part of its strategic accommodation planning, undertook to meet the requirements of the Green Lease Schedule Policy; that is, for tenancies of greater than 2,000m2 with a lease term greater than two years, accommodation will meet the ‘A’ grade standard of the Building Owners and Managers Association International guidelines and meet a minimum National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) rating of 4.5 stars.
SiteGLS scheduleNABERS tenancy rating
RG Casey Building BartonA (gross lease)TBC1
255 London Circuit2Nil34.5
40 Allara St, CanberraB5.0
L2, 747 Collins Street, MelbourneB5.0
44 Sydney Avenue, BartonC2TBC1
  1. Rating yet to be formally completed (expected to be 4.5 or more)
  2. Voluntary rating
  3. Lease in place before Green Lease Schedule development
  • ensured that sustainable development and environmental performance were central considerations in all property-related decisions in the overseas estate. We focus on these principles throughout the property lifecycle, including acquisition, construction, upgrade, maintenance and divestment
  • actively pursued best-practice sustainability initiatives in delivering overseas projects, such as energy-efficient lighting, daylight and motion sensors, zoned air-conditioning systems, rainwater harvesting and building management systems
  • ensured that environmental management and monitoring are standard practice throughout the construction phase of a project, involving the ongoing assessment of air quality, noise levels and waste water management
  • are developing a renewable energy strategy for the overseas estate, with a focus on the deployment of solar power technology
    • it aims to identify sites where the use of renewable energy technology and energy storage will be feasible
    • our existing solar panel installations and future plans under the strategy will contribute to a reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions, site operating costs and improve power reliability
  • reduced the amount of domestic and international travel originating in Australia by 800 trips, saving $2.14 million (compared to the previous reporting period). Video conferencing in 2018–19 (the first year statistics have been collected) saw 571 people undertaking 2,592 video conference calls.

All Australian passports issued during the reporting period were printed on paper produced from wood pulp certified as sustainable and ethically sourced.

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