Taking TSA Group down the road of carbon neutrality was not a decision the leadership team arrived at lightly. While choosing to go carbon neutral is an admirable goal for any business, meeting and maintain the targets takes a lot of effort. Without the whole team behind it that work doesn’t get prioritised which means it doesn’t get done. That’s why there needs to be a compelling purpose, a vision, behind the decision to go carbon neutral.
What’s our motivation?
We at TSA Group are proud to be an Australian owned and operated business with humble beginnings in Western Australia. As a business we have always strived to have a positive impact on the community around us, supporting our people, our clients and the customers we serve. We need to be accountable and recognise the impact we have on the environment around us and take steps to minimise our carbon footprint.
How do we measure our impact?
While it’s good to take steps to make a positive difference, there has to be a way to measure the impact of what we are doing. That’s where the UN Sustainable Development Goals come in. These are a collection of 17 interlinked goals which provide a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The goals were set by the UN General Assembly in 2015 and with the target to be achieved by 2030.
These goals seek to address such issues as poverty, health and wellbeing, education, equality, clean water and energy, sustainable communities, responsible production and consumption, peace and justice, and climate action.
All member countries have their targets to support reaching the goals. Local governments then set policies and create laws to build the environment in which these targets can be met. At this point, the buy-in of other government agencies, non-governmental organisations, corporations, small businesses, and individual citizens is required to make it happen. Meeting the goals can only be done if there is a considerable change in behaviour from all concerned.
So, when we started to put together our carbon neutral program, and plan what that was going to look like, we had the UN Sustainable Development Goals in mind from the beginning. These are the goals from which we have chosen to measure the impact we were having on our local community, and indeed the wider world.
For every project we become involved with, TSA Group’s Sustainability Committee identifies which of the goals it is furthering.
How are we supporting our local Australian communities?
The TSA Group Sustainability Committee chose to purchase all carbon offset credits in Australia, purchasing premium credits sourced via the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation (ACF), which supports projects such as cultural savanna burnings by Traditional Owners. These in turn prevent large bushfires and the subsequent release of carbon. Other projects we directly support involve the reintroduction of native flora and fauna to the land in areas where it has been overgrazed. For example, we purchase carbon credits from the Paroo River North Environmental Project, which is a reforestation program on land previously cleared of vegetation for farming. This meets with three of the UN goals: clean water and sanitation, climate action, and supporting life on land.
We also support a project at Tiwi Islands called Savanna Burning for Greenhouse Gas Abatement. This meets with five of the UN goals: no poverty, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, and life on land.In addition to the UN goals, each project has co-benefits for the local communities. According to ACF, the development of sustainable carbon economies on Aboriginal lands supports local ranger jobs and the development of outstations, enabling Traditional Owners to live on-country all year round.
The income from the Tiwi Islands project helps provide support to develop sustainable livelihood opportunities for Tiwi people that meet their economic, environmental, and cultural needs, and to the continued employment of the Tiwi Rangers.
One of the most significant social and cultural co-benefits of the Paroo River North project is working with the Commonwealth Government program ‘Stronger Families, Stronger Communities’, Cunnamulla branch. The property is being used to host cultural camps for Indigenous men from multiple Traditional Owner groups. This coming together promotes knowledge sharing across Indigenous groups and revitalises cultural practices essential for wellbeing.
Strengthening the bond with First Nation communities
The development of relationships between businesses and the First Nation communities who are managing important landscapes for cultural and biodiversity purposes, is an important outcome in itself. The purchase of Australian carbon credits by Australian companies helps support these local economies, and ultimately the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of the whole country.
Importantly, the money received by ACF for the purchase of carbon credits is untied funding. This allows organisations like the ACF to freely make assessments about what are the highest priorities to invest in. They will often have areas they can see will provide a real benefit but if these aren’t appealing to a potential donor then it makes fundraising difficult for those initiatives. Untied funding provides breathing space to test new ideas and fosters innovation.
It’s more than climate action
For TSA Group, going carbon neutral is not just about climate action. Climate change is something all companies and individuals can take positive steps to address through being carbon neutral. In addition to climate action, our motivation is to push forward the environmental, societal, and economic aims enshrined in the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. They are lofty goals, but they can be achieved practically by investing, via the purchase of carbon credits, in the types of projects the ACF supports.
Useful Resources/Related Links:
CEO Luke Kenny and Group Sustainability Manager Francis Stockwell announce TSA’s Carbon Neutral Status
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