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Uniting Communities

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  • Social and health services
Uniting Communities is the first charity and first SA-based organisation to go carbon neutral, and has reduced their emissions by over 30% since their journey began in 2010. In November 2017, Uniting Communities was announced as Carbon Neutral Adelaide’s first Ambassador.

Why Uniting Communities is supporting Carbon Neutral Adelaide

Uniting Communities are acutely aware of the emerging impacts of climate change and their responsibility in taking action in the interests of their clients, staff, volunteers and the broader community. Their decision to work towards carbon neutrality was Board approved in 2010 with the view that the process of becoming a carbon neutral organisation will lead to significant operational savings, improved efficiencies and positive recognition for the leadership taken. Uniting Communities see this commitment as an essential part of their continued efforts to not only be in the best interests of their clients, staff and volunteers, but to all of the South Australian community, and positively contribute to the global impact on climate change. They strongly support Carbon Neutral Adelaide and would encourage other organisations to get involved.

What Uniting Communities is doing to reduce carbon emissions

Since the inception of Beyond Carbon Neutral (BCN) in 2010, Uniting Communities have reduced their carbon footprint by over 30%. This has been achieved through a variety of means which can be summarised as changes to policy and processes, building upgrades and behaviour change. A consultant/program manager was engaged in 2010.

Uniting Communities has a long-standing commitment to reducing its carbon emissions and remaining carbon neutral. In 2015, it became the first charity in Australia and the first organisation in South Australia to achieve carbon neutral certification.

They opened the doors to a brand new U City building to the public on 6 August, marking the launch of a unique mixed-use community in the heart of the Adelaide CBD. In 2018, the U City development was recognised as South Australia’s ‘greenest’ building design to date by the Green Building Council of Australia, with a 6 Star Green Star design rating.

Uniting Communities’ BCN Committee maintains an ongoing emissions reduction plan. Each year this plan is reviewed in full with input from the organisation’s leadership team and BCN site representatives. The plan is also reviewed at each committee meeting, both to monitor progress and to discuss any new ideas. Whilst being conscious of the organisation’s largest emissions sources, initiatives are developed for all sources. Behaviour change initiatives are ongoing and largely implemented by their Site Representatives who identify and implement emissions reduction opportunities with their teams. Central campaigns also occur and have included Switch Off, Buy Green and Y-Print.

They have gone above and beyond the minimum requirements of the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) by implementing a carbon management system in which their emissions data is captured. The system is also used for monitoring and reporting on emissions to leaders across the organisation.

Integrating low carbon thinking and behaviour within the business has been a key theme throughout the journey so far and an ongoing focus. For example the Finance Team has taken responsibility for data management and controls, carbon has been integrated into management reporting and procurement, and their committee now reports directly to the Executive Group. Emissions reduction is supported by capital and operating budgets allocations each year allowing building upgrades to create guaranteed savings - in emissions and dollars. These investments have more than been repaid in operating cost savings and will continue to do so.

View the Uniting Communities video about their carbon neutral journey. | Visit the Uniting Communities website.

Case Studies

Continuing to work towards zero carbon at U City

August 2019. Carbon Neutral Ambassador, Uniting Communities, opened the doors to its brand new U City building to the public in the heart of the CBD on 6 August.

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Uniting Communities first carbon neutral organisation in SA

May 2017. Uniting Communities are the first charity and SA organisation to go carbon neutral, reducing their carbon emissions by 30% since 2010.

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The information on the partner directory is provided by our Carbon Neutral Adelaide partners. The City of Adelaide & Department for Environment and Water (collectively referred to as Carbon Neutral Adelaide) does not guarantee the accuracy of the information and accepts no liability for any loss or liability arising from reliance on the information, inaccuracies or omissions. Carbon Neutral Adelaide does not represent, endorse, or guarantee the advice, opinion, statement, or other information provided by its partners. Reliance upon any such opinion, advice, statement, or other information shall be at the reader’s own risk and the reader should undertake their own research and or seek independent recommendations to make informed decisions as to what is best suited for his/her needs.