Blue Care is committed to protecting the environment and using energy and resources wisely. We are proudly part of UnitingCare and the Uniting Church, which has long advocated for good environmental stewardship.
At Blue Care, we recognise that reducing our carbon footprint and being more resource efficient – using less energy and water, and producing less waste and emissions – are essential to promoting healthy and sustainable environments for our clients, patients and communities.
As an organisation whose services focus on supporting vulnerable people, the inequality caused by climate change makes reducing carbon emissions a priority for Blue Care.
Our sustainability goals
As part of UnitingCare’s 2018-2020 Environmental Sustainability Strategy, Blue Care has committed to:
- Reduce our carbon footprint by 5% by 2020 (compared with 2017)
- Increase our recycling rate to 30% by 2020 (compared with 2017)
- Increase staff engagement in sustainability initiatives by 10% by 2020 (compared with 2018)
- Strengthen our engagement in environmental advocacy and leadership by 2020.
Action on sustainability
As part of UnitingCare’s sustainability program, Greening UnitingCare, Blue Care is working to reduce impacts across energy, emissions, waste and water.
Carbon footprint and energy
- Blue Care’s passenger fleet has been changing to smaller and more eco-friendly vehicles. In 2019, 40% of our fleet are hybrid, avoiding more than 600,000 litres of fuel and 1,500 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (tC02e) a year.
- In 2019, an expansion of solar power will more than quadruple Blue Care’s solar generation capacity, adding 192kW of panels across five new sites. Blue Care’s 2017 installation of a 60kW solar PV system at Morayfield already generates 78,000 kWh per year, enough to power 17 Queensland households for a year.
- Blue Care is saving 32,500kWh a year (seven households’ yearly electricity use) through LED lighting upgrades. Sites upgraded include aged care homes at Lawnton (Pinewoods), Arundel (Woodlands), Gympie (Grevillea Gardens) and Warana (Beachwood).
- In 2018, Energy Management Plans were developed for 30 of our aged care sites, to identify even more ways to reduce electricity, gas and water.
- In 2018, recycling at our Customer Service Centre increased to 30% from less than 5% , after replacing under-desk bins with personal mini desktop bins and introducing color-coded commingle, paper and general waste bins.
- Blue Care is also looking at other ways to reuse and repurpose resources. As part of 2018 National Recycling Week, Blue Care’s Toowoomba Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre shredded old paper documents as part of a “file fling”. The paper was given a second life as kitty litter at a local pet store.
- Activities (e.g. competitions, workshops, calls to action) to promote participation in awareness campaigns such as Earth Hour, World Environment Day, and National Recycling Week.
- Our Green Champions network encourages and supports staff to implement positive sustainability changes in their workplace.
- The 2018 Greening UCQ survey asked our staff to share their experiences and ideas about sustainability in their workplaces; the results have helped us understand our current level of staff engagement in sustainability, and will shape our 2018–2020 environmental action plan.
Leadership and advocacy
Through UnitingCare’s wider sustainability efforts, Blue Care is engaged in advocacy and policy development on issues such as energy planning, climate change mitigation and adaptation. We currently represent our client and community groups in advisory forums such as the Energy Queensland Customer Council, Queensland Health and Wellbeing Climate Adaptation Plan, and QCOSS Social Vulnerability and Climate Change workshops. We are also passionate about knowledge sharing – we are sharing the lessons learned from our sustainability efforts at industry conferences, collaboration forums and in the tertiary sector.