A Department of Environment and Climate Change partnership with ClubsNSW, helping registered clubs in NSW to go green, is celebrating its first anniversary.
Launched in February 2007, the EcoClubs Program is currently working with 40 clubs to improve their environmental performance. The program provides information and tools to tackle major issues like climate change and water management with both immediate actions and longer-term planning. Most of the clubs have completed a site assessment and are analysing priority actions to implement over the next 12 months.
Tim McAleer, General Manager of Tradies club in southern Sydney, said participating in EcoClubs has helped to clarify where his club stands on important community issues relating to the environment.
"With global warming, climate change and the proposed desalination plant at Kurnell all hot topics, we decided it was time to take some practical steps towards reducing our carbon footprint. With the assistance of DECC we are formulating strategies to seriously confront our emissions over the coming months," Mr McAleer said.
Many clubs use large buildings, with plant and equipment that run for long hours and consume a lot of energy and water and produce different types of waste. ClubsNSW CEO David Costello explained that over the past year many clubs have shown that they understand this and have been quick to respond to the challenge of environmental sustainability.
"I've seen a real shift in attitude when it comes to these issues. I'm encouraged by the rapid and positive response from so many of our clubs. Some have already completed major projects to capture rainwater or improve their energy efficiency.
"I think, in general, they've all seen some commercial benefit from early action – either from cost savings or from a better standing in the community and in the eyes of their members.
"I'd recommend all clubs at least consider their environmental position and how these issues affect their long-term planning. Climate change is here to stay. Costs are rising for energy, water, and waste disposal. We all have to deal with that. I think it's just smart business to tackle these issues before they pose major threats to our industry," Mr Costello said.
A good starting point for clubs is 10 Ways to Green Your Club – a set of guidelines produced as a result of earlier work with ClubsNSW. The guidelines establish a set of guiding principles that promote environmentally sustainable operations, as well as identifying specific actions to help clubs find savings through efficiency.
EcoClubs is scheduled to continue for another two years, but clubs are encouraged to join early to make the most of the assistance available.
> More information or to join the EcoClubs program: