Ascot Vale Leisure Centre’s (AVLC) efforts towards reducing the building’s environmental impact have paid off, with the centre recently being certified carbon neutral through the Climate Active Standard.
AVLC is the only leisure centre in Australia to be certified carbon neutral through Climate Active under the Services Standard. The Australian Government’s Climate Active certification is the only credible carbon neutral certification available in Australia and recognises entities (businesses and governments) who take responsibility for their emissions and show their commitment to climate action.
Neutrality is achieved by accurately measuring carbon emissions, reducing direct emissions, and purchasing accredited offsets that contribute to global efforts to address climate change.
Following Moonee Valley City Council’s Climate Active carbon neutral certification for all of its operations in 2020, Council wanted to influence its suppliers to provide carbon neutral services. Belgravia Leisure responded by working productively with Council to understand the requirements of certifying its services as carbon neutral at AVLC.
Various energy efficient practices both operationally and through infrastructure upgrades have been implemented at AVLC over a number of years to reduce emissions, so achieving carbon neutrality for the services provided at this facility seemed a logical next step.
Our team have been working towards the goals outlined in Belgravia Leisure’s five-year sustainability plan. This included an internal sustainability audit that covered energy usage, waste, procurement and operational practices.
Driven by our Green Team, a group of sustainability warriors who were instrumental in driving efforts and promoting sustainable practices across the organisation. We have also said no to problematic single-use plastics in 2019 ahead of bans in 2023 and stopped purchasing and supplying plastic straws, plastic bags and plastic cutlery in all Belgravia Leisure managed venues across Australia and New Zealand.
Other small, simple changes made a big difference, as AVLC reduced paper consumption through online digital feedback forms and timetables and adjusted manual backwashing procedures to reduce water consumption.
In addition, Moonee Valley City Council has signed a power purchase agreement for its electricity, which includes facilities such as AVLC. From 1 July 2021, 100% of the electricity consumed by the centre is generated from renewable electricity sources.
“Creating a sustainable future for our community and the environment is not just a responsibility, but a passion that drives us,” said Alexia Morgan, Belgravia Group Manager Business Improvement.
“As the managers of AVLC on behalf of the City of Moonee Valley, we are committed to providing our community with outstanding health and wellbeing services while also doing our part for the environment. We understand that sustainability is a critical concern in today’s world, and we wanted to take the lead in reducing our carbon footprint,” continued Alexia.
“We are thrilled to have achieved carbon neutrality at Ascot Vale Leisure Centre. Climate Active is not just a program. It’s a movement that we are proud to be a part of. It’s heartening to see that our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint have been recognised by this government-backed initiative, and we will continue to innovate and lead the way in sustainability for the benefit of future generations.”
Moonee Valley City Council Mayor, Cr Pierce Tyson, said the certification by Climate Active is a recognition of the practical initiatives that Council and its leisure contractor, Belgravia Leisure, have undertaken to ensure a significant reduction in emissions across this community facility. Council is extremely excited that one of its suppliers has achieved carbon neutral certification for its services.
“Moonee Valley believes in leadership, not just words, when it comes to addressing our climate emergency. Achieving carbon neutrality for the services at Ascot Vale Leisure Centre is another example of our successful sustainable practices – from renewable electricity powering our buildings, through to greening of our neighbourhoods and innovative approaches to waste and recycling. We are committed to continuing to reduce energy use and emissions from buildings, transport, materials, water and the supply chains of our purchases.
“Our community supports real efforts on climate action, and we are working in partnership with key agencies, suppliers and other areas of government to ensure as a municipality we reach our net zero goals,” said Mayor Tyson.