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. Planet Ark’s main objectives are to promote sustainable resource use, encourage low carbon lifestyles and connect people with nature. [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, is Australia's largest tree-planting and nature care event. 2014 was the biggest year in the event’s 19-year history with more than 4,000 sites and events and almost 300,000 people taking part.
  • National Recycling Week, is the annual opportunity for Australian schools, workplaces, councils and the public to focus on the benefits of recycling. In 2013 more than 70,000 children participated in the Schools Recycling Right Challenge and more $2.3 million worth of media was generated promoting the benefits of recycling.
  • Cartridges 4 Planet Ark, is a partnership between Planet Ark, the recycler Close the Loop and seven of the largest cartridge manufacturers. – Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta, Oce and Kyocera. The participating manufacturers are taking responsibility for the cartridges they produce. By 2014 more than 25 million cartridges had been diverted from landfill with zero waste to landfill.
  • BusinessRecycling.com.au, is designed to make recycling at work easy. The site lists recycling services for more than 90 different materials ranging form aluminium can to fly ash and from packaging to batteries. The site is made possible though support of the NSW EPA and Sustainability Victoria.
  • RecyclingNearYou.com.au, is a comprehensive directory of the recycling services offered by more than 500 councils around Australia. Each year millions of enquiries are made to the site covering items that can go in their home recycling to those items that must be recycled though dedicated schemes. Electronic was in its many forms is consistently the most popular search.[4]
  • Make it Wood, is designed to encourage individuals and businesses to use responsibility sources wood as a building material . Wood, when responsibly sourced, is the only major building material that is renewable, that stores carbon and that off sets more carbon intensive materials like concrete and steel. Wood is one of our key weapons in our fight against climate change.
  • Planet Ark Endorsed, is a select range of products that offer a more environmentally responsible alternative to commonly used alternatives. The products must also be good quality and effective. Planet Ark only licenses its logo on quality products and services that, through their use, reduce our impact on the environment. We have long-standing relationships with Orange Power and Aware, which produce endorsed products purchased by millions of Australians each year.
  • Everyday Nature, is Planet Ark's newest activity and emerges from the organisation's research into the health and wellbeing benefits of contact with nature for both kids and adults. Spending some time in nature everyday is good for health and helps create a generation of people who are concerned for the health of the planet.

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, Sir Richard Branson, Costa Georgiadis and Magdalena Roze.

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