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Local leaders discussed transitioning to a low carbon economy

May 2022

On Thursday, 27 April, a group of Carbon Neutral Adelaide partners and guests gathered to hear a panel discussion from leading businesses on tackling the environmental footprint of their operations.

Discovery Parks owns more than 65 accommodation and holiday parks around Australia. They own and manage more than 1,200 cabins, 2,500 powered and unpowered caravan and camping sites, and 1,100 workforce accommodation rooms.

Their efforts to reduce their footprint and tackle sustainability include substantial capital investment into cabin procurement – with the aim to reduce consumption of energy, waste and water.

Chief Operating Officer Matt Lang spoke about the reality and challenges of working across multiple business units and locations. It was pleasing to hear that getting staff buy in was a bit like ‘pushing on an open door’, because people across the business are passionate about the natural environment and keen to improve practices.

Tom Penny, Head of Environment at Telstra, shared their wide-ranging approach to sustainability and efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. Telstra provides 18.8 million retail mobile services, 3.8 million retail fixed bundles and standalone data services, and has a presence in another 20 countries.

Telstra achieved carbon neutrality in 2020, and has a target to reduce their absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2030.

Tom highlighted that getting to these decisions and targets takes in-depth Board engagement, and once these positions were adopted it meant that sustainability was no longer the responsibility of 6 staff, rather it was shared by 30,000.

Nick Palousis from 2XE has provided sustainability advice across multiple sectors and shared how lots of climate programs create savings. Going further, he said business opportunities can outweigh costs, providing the example of Ikea's move into designing furniture from locally sourced materials, the creation of their new solar products, and their ‘second life’ offering at their store in Tempe, NSW.

When discussing the process of setting targets, for example for greenhouse gas reduction, the panel reflected on how they needed to be a stretch for companies, but ‘not paralysing’ by being too far out of reach.

The event was held by Carbon Neutral Adelaide Partner, Edge Environment, in a contribution to knowledge sharing around climate action for business. The event was held at The Innovation Factory, Halifax Street.

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