Our role in respecting and protecting the natural environment
As a residential aged care provider, we play a vital role in caring for older Australians - with the care we provide and the services we offer our residents, we use natural resources to heat, cool, and power our homes, and generate waste and have a footprint that impacts the natural environment.
The long-term sustainability of our organisation depends on the wellbeing of our people, supporting and working with our local communities and the continued health of the natural environment we rely on. This is why we have our Sustainability Strategy and Framework which sets clear goals to work towards - aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
World Environment Day
World Environment Day is celebrated every year on June 5 to raise awareness and encourage action on environmental issues facing the world today. It’s been held annually since 1974 and is a United Nations (UN) initiative that provides a platform for promoting progress on the environmental Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year’s theme is “Ecosystem Restoration” under the campaign “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.” and is the formal launch of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030.
Australia’s diverse and special ecosystems
Australia is incredibly unique when it comes to the natural environment – it is one of the most biologically diverse countries on the planet, home to more than one million species of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world, and less than half have of these have ever been described scientifically. For tens of thousands of years, the lives and sense of cultural identity of Indigenous Australians were inextricably linked to the land, its forms, flora and fauna. Today, the identity of all Australians is shaped by a relationship with the natural environment.
Australia is the sixth largest country in the world, our ocean territory is the world's third largest, spanning three oceans and covering around 12 million square kilometres. Our marine environment is home to 4000 fish species, 500 coral species in the northern reefs alone, 50 types of marine mammal and a wide range of seabirds. It is estimated that as many as 80 per cent of marine species found in southern Australian waters occur nowhere else. The Great Barrier Reef which is such a unique natural attraction for people wanting to experience its beauty and makes up about 10% of the world’s coral reef ecosystems and with its rich biodiversity alone, is the sea country home for first Australians, with more than 70 Traditional Owner groups, dating back 60,000 years. Australia is one of the most urbanised and coast-dwelling populations in the world. More than 80 per cent of Australians live within 100 kilometres of the coast.
Australia has some of the most unique ecosystems right next to each other. One example is Daintree National Park in Tropical North Queensland, where the rainforest meets the reef. The landscape of Daintree National Park began to form under the sea about 400 million years ago, when Australia was still part of the great super-continent, Gondwana. For 200 million years, successive climate change saw the contraction and expansion of rainforest, and the survival and decline of plants and animals, which has left us with the incredibly unique Country we now live in.
Preserving and protecting our natural resources
Although we have some of the richest biodiversity on the planet, some of our soils and seas are the most nutrient poor and unproductive in the world – mainly due to the geological stability. Only 6% of Australia’s land is actually arable and it needs a lot of water to farm. Australia is also the driest inhabited continent on earth with some of the most variable rainfall and stream flow in the world.
We’ve seen the impacts of especially dry summers on our farmers, the flash floods and devastating bushfires of 2019/2020. We live in a beautiful and diverse country, but it’s one that needs our help to protect and preserve it for our future generations.
Estia Health Sustainability Framework 2020 - 2024
We understand the importance of protecting our unique environment and our responsibility as a national aged care provider. Our 2020-2024 Sustainability Strategy provides focus areas and associated targets that will help us both mitigate any negative impacts, as well as maximise any potential positive value that could result from the way we do business.
What success looks like:
1. Supporting our people:
a. Health and safety: a culture exists where hazards and risks are identified and mitigated before injury
b. Wellbeing: employees have access to and are using our wellbeing support services to ensure they bring their physical and mental best to work every day
c. Diversity and inclusion: diversity of our employees and residents is promoted as an outstanding characteristic that attracts people to the Estia Health family
d. Training and development: we attract, develop and retain the best workforce in aged care.
2. Enhancing our communities:
a. Social impact: we have identified and support core ‘shared value’ social causes
b. Community connection: our homes actively support and add value back to the communities in which they operate.
3. Respecting our environment:
a. Energy and carbon: our portfolio of homes has optimised energy efficiency and are progressing towards sourcing more energy from renewable sources
b. Climate resilience: our portfolio of homes has been assessed for their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and implemented risk mitigation strategies where required
c. Waste: we have implemented targeted programs, understanding our waste composition and focused on minimising waste generation and maximising diversion
d. Water: we have assessed where and how our water is being used and are implementing efficiency measures e. Supply chain: we actively engage key suppliers to reduce their ecological footprint and ensure they are screened for modern slavery risk.