Planet Ark

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Planet Ark Environmental Foundation is an Australian not-for-profit environmental organisation, founded in 1992, which works with the public and business alike to help find the simple ways in which they can reduce their impact on the planet, at home, at work and in the community.[1][2] It is best known for its high-profile recycling campaigns including 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark', Australia's 'National Recycling Week' and the country's biggest annual community tree-planting event, 'National Tree Day'. The organisation is operated from its office in Sydney's Circular Quay.

Campaigns[edit]

Planet Ark's campaigns seek to drive positive action that directly changes people's behaviour. The organisation is non-political and non-confrontational, aiming to unite people and business in action.[1] Planet Ark works with businesses and endorses a number of commercial products it considers to be environmentally friendly in production and manufacture, including recycled toilet paper, cleaning products and car tyres.[2][3]

Planet Ark's campaigns include:[1]

  • National Tree Day, Australia's largest tree-planting and nature care event, founded by Olivia Newton-John with the organisation,
  • National Recycling Week,
  • Cartridges 4 Planet Ark,
  • BusinessRecycling.com.au,
  • RecyclingNearYou.com.au, a comprehensive directory of recycling services available in over 500 local council areas across Australia,[4]
  • Make it Wood, and
  • Aluminium Can Recycling.

In 2006, Planet Ark established the National Recycling Hotline in partnership with the Australian Government as well as the website recyclingnearyou.com.au.[4] In the last three years, Planet Ark has also introduced a specialised website to assist businesses to find appropriate recycling services.[5]

Endorsements[edit]

Celebrities who have fronted Planet Ark campaigns include Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Newton-John, Jamie Durie, Steve Irwin, Kylie Minogue, Dannii Minogue, Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Rolf Harris, Layne Beachley, Shelley Craft and Sir Richard Branson.

Popular with the Australian media, Planet Ark's official spokesperson is former actress and television presenter turned environmentalist, Rebecca Gilling.

Criticism[edit]

Founders Jon Dee (former CEO of the organisation) and Pat Cash renounced their memberships in 2012, citing the organisation links to the timber industry and involvement in drafting the Australian Forestry Standard.[6][7] Planet Ark has allowed its logo to be used in controversial commercials promoting wood as a building material, paid for by Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA).[6][8] This is part of a two year sponsorship agreement with the timber industry worth $700,000,[6][7][8] which Nick Xenophon has said "raises some serious questions of a potential conflict of interest"[9] and caused Christine Milne to criticise the organisation of greenwashing.[9] The Australian Forestry Standard is seen as weaker than the rival certification system run by the Forest Stewardship Council,[6][9][10] with some environmentalists saying it has "no credibility at all."[9]

Financial Trouble[edit]

The organisation is also in financial trouble having made a loss in the last few years. In 2011, it sold its Blue Mountain headquarters for $875,000 AUD, significantly less than what it was originally worth.[6][9]

The property was purchased for $500,000 and sold for $875,000 - a return of over 8% pa over the 7-year period, which is in line with long-term property returns.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "About Planet Ark". 
  2. ^ "Our partners". Planet Ark. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Recycling Near You". 
  4. ^ "Business Recycling". 
  5. ^ a b c d e Harvey, Adam (1 August 2012). "Planet Ark founders cut ties with 'lost' organisation". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Planet Ark sinks deeper". Environment East Gippsland. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Hanafie, Jackie (1 August 2012). "Planet Ark Offside with Other Environmental NGOs". Pro Bono Australia. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Harvey, Adam. "Planet Ark sails in to timber storm". ABC. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Planet Ark Environmental Edge policy statement, Re: Forest and Wood Products Australia's Wood Naturally Better". Planet Ark. p. 1. Retrieved 19 April 2014. "FSC is currently the strongest scheme and Planet Ark recommends choosing FSC wood products over those with AFCS or no certification at all for the best environmental outcomes." 

External links[edit]