Achieving the Green Globe Benchmarking

The Green Globe 21 Benchmarking is awarded to travel and tourism communities and operators, in recognition of their abilities to demonstrate environmental, social and economic responsibility. Last October, Queensland’s Douglas Shire became the first in the Asia Pacific region to be awarded the Green Globe Benchmarking.

This process required the Shire to meet a set of criteria, through independent assessment over a 12 month period. Council developed a Sustainability Strategy in regard to environmental and social policy. This provides a framework for a range of projects designed to improve the economic, social and environmental performance within the Shire.

As part of the energy criterion, one of the actions that Council undertook was to provide residents with incentives to introduce solar hot water systems through rebate grants, and incentives for energy efficient buildings.In satisfying the water criterion, Council required all new rural residential properties to install 20,000 litre rainwater tanks to ensure self sufficiency in drinking water.

Council has also developed a soil and stormwater quality manual, promoting best practice in soil and water quality management for development sites and construction activities, to improve sedimentation and runoff from these sites.Vegetation management, tree planting plus buy back schemes have seen a net gain of five hectares of conserved land and 19,000 trees.These are just some of the actions that Council undertook in satisfying the benchmarking process.

The next step for Council is Green Globe Certification, which involves meeting the requirements of the Green Globe Standard for communities. This includes best practice covering policy development and legislative compliance, as well as an independent on site assessment.

For further information contact Douglas Shire Council’s Sustainable Futures Coordinator, Peter Muller, on (07) 4098 2599.