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RASV wins Melbourne Award for contribution to sustainability

The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) has been recognised for their contribution to the city’s sustainability at the 2017 Melbourne Awards, presented by City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle on Saturday 18 November at Melbourne Town Hall.

The Melbourne Awards are the city’s highest accolade, which the City of Melbourne says celebrate the achievements of people and organisations whose passion and commitment have helped make Melbourne one of the most liveable cities in the world.

RASV were presented with the award for Contribution to Sustainability by a Community Organisation at the Gala Dinner, after a successful submission and interview process, with entries judged by panels selected from 35 business and 40 community leaders across a range of industry sectors.

The award celebrates projects or activities that create a more environmentally sustainable city through advancements in sustainable innovation and design, or the development of new sustainable projects or programs that contribute towards Melbourne’s goal of becoming an eco-city.

RASV is responsible for not only conducting the state’s largest and most iconic annual community event, the Royal Melbourne Show but also manages the city’s largest and most flexible indoor/outdoor venue, Melbourne Showgrounds, implementing a number of sustainable initiatives across the event and venue.

“RASV is thrilled to have been awarded this honour in recognition of our commitment to work towards environmental best practice in all we do,” said Jon Perry, Acting CEO, RASV.

“Across all areas of our organisation we are dedicated to improving sustainability facilities and services, not only for our own events but for the 650 events held at Melbourne Showgrounds each year. It is also wonderful recognition for the team who have worked so hard to reduce our carbon footprint and improve our environmental credentials.”

Since conducting a carbon footprint audit with VECCI’s sustainability team in 2014, RASV has adopted a number of important environmental strategies and practices across Melbourne Showgrounds and the Royal Melbourne Show including but not limited to:

  • Installation of a 100kW solar array providing power to RASV’s administration building.
  • Replacement of high energy use halide high-bay lights with LED light fittings in two of the largest exhibition buildings.
  • Replacement of high energy use outdoor lighting across the venue.
  • Introduction of three waste stream bins across the venue to separate mixed recyclables and organic waste, plus a forth waste stream in administration for paper only
  • Policy to prevent the use of non-recyclable disposable packaging and utensils by caterers at Melbourne Showgrounds events, including waste stream audits, annual training and warnings to those who are non-compliant.
  • Planting of native and drought tolerant plant species throughout the venue.
  • Paperless ticketing and paperless competition entries for the Royal Melbourne Show (and other RASV events).
  • Specialist contractors commissioned for the recycling of animal bedding and waste.

The initiatives have achieved significant results including:

  • Reduced RASV’s power costs for the building by over 40%
  • Solar panels providing annual energy yield of 62,700kW
  • Eliminated 172 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year
  • 72% of all Royal Melbourne Show waste was recycled.
  • 100% (approx. 25 tonne) of all Royal Melbourne Show animal and animal bed waste recycled as garden mulch and compost.
  • Reduced water usage by approximately 60,000ltrs annually.
  • Eliminated over 100,000 printed pages of paper (0.8 tonne annually).

RASV says the commitment to sustainable practices is ongoing, as it not only contributes to the protection of the environment, but also makes good business sense.

“We have formed a Green Committee to develop our environmental policies with the aim to advance facilities and work directly with suppliers to reduce waste, increase recycling and limit energy and water usage,” said Jon.

“The greatest achievement for us is that we have not only shifted our own business practices, but as managers of Melbourne Showgrounds, we have helped influence the behaviours of other events companies, caterers and commercial exhibitors who use the venue.  We are thrilled to be able to offer all our venue clients the opportunity to conduct greener events.”