Australia is one of the worst performing developed nations when it comes to habitat loss. According to a study published in the journal of Nature, Australia is in the top seven countries responsible for 60 percent of the world’s biodiversity loss between 1996 and 2008.
This widespread habitat loss is a direct consequence of land clearing for pasture, forestry practices, crop farming and food agriculture and increased urbanisation thanks to Australia’s growing population.
It’s no surprise then that Australia has one of the highest levels of species extinction in the world, ranked among the top 10 countries for endangered or threatened species and top five for extinction of animal and plant species.
The CSIRO, Australia’s federal government agency responsible for nearly 90 years of scientific research into the country’s natural environment, concludes that Australia’s biodiversity is now under threat.
Fortunately, companies such as Officeworks are doing their bit to help reverse this trend. The retail giant is well aware of the impact its paper-based products can have on the environment. To mitigate its eco-footprint, Officeworks has partnered with non-profit environmental organisation Greening Australia to establish the ‘Restoring Australia’ conservation initiative where two trees are planted for every one used, based on the weight of paper and wood-based products purchased. What this essentially means is that any time an Officeworks customer buys a paper or wood-based product from the 8,000+ product range online or in-store, this contributes to the number of trees Restoring Australia will plant in that season. The program has even selected twenty different types of native species to plant, including eucalypts, acacias, and trees that are flood-resilient such as tea trees.
Restoring Australia is just one of several ways Officeworks aims to give back to the environment. It has many technology, ink and toner cartridge recycling programs currently in place. The company even eliminated single-use plastic bags nationwide in 2008 – a full decade before the current plastic bag bans was implemented by many retailers across Australia!
Now while tree planting is the core activity of Restoring Australia, the program also takes a broader environmental view and looks at improving overall biodiversity and supporting endangered species in the locations where reforestation projects occur such as the Tasmanian Midlands, New South Wales Highlands, Victorian Volcanic Plains, Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. These regions have seen high land-clearing rates resulting in a natural habitat loss of 85 percent with many animal species losing their homes, including the Corangamite Water Skink, Eastern barred bandicoot, Eastern quoll, Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot.
The initiative aims to turn this around and reverse the decline of these threatened species by planting trees that restore woodland ecosystems, provides new habitats for wildlife and rejuvenates bushland.
In 2017, the program was responsible for the planting of 78,000 trees in these regions. This year, a whopping 248,000 trees are expected to be planted, making it a total of 326,000 trees planted after two years!
With some of Australia’s environmental research programs at risk of being defunded, Officeworks is providing a stable and sustainable source of critical funding for Greening Australia’s important on-ground restoration work.
Since the country’s fragile and diverse ecosystems and habitat are under threat and relaxed land clearing laws in many states making it even harder to ‘green’ Australia, it will take the collaborative efforts of all community members – individuals, environmental charities, governments and businesses – to restore and protect the health of Australia’s landscapes and the species who depend on it.
Restoring Australia celebrates its first birthday on July 18. To mark the event, Officeworks is holding a tree planting day at The Stoney Rises in Alvie, Victoria. Make sure to follow us on Instagram for all the event highlights.
For more information on Officework’s commitment to sustainability, click here.