The sustainability journey continues for strata

Climate change and biodiversity loss are amongst the biggest threats facing planet earth today. Some people believe the task of reducing our climate risks is in the “too hard basket” and beyond their ability. But we can – every little bit helps.

The strata industry, in particular, can make a valuable and impactful contribution to combatting this global problem. 38% of Australia’s current carbon emissions come from heating, lighting and cooling and accounts for 39% of our energy use.

As a significant contributor to emissions, the strata industry, including owners, strata managers and strata service providers, need to be on the front foot with sustainability programs and initiatives.

Insurers, who face serious risks from climate change especially, need to be at the forefront.

Everything that we do at CHU is viewed through our customer lens. Our objectives and our deliverables that address emerging and ongoing business considerations must successfully pass through these filters. One of these filters is ‘’Environment and Sustainability’’.

CHU’s strategy includes a major sustainability element and focusses on leading the way for change in the strata industry. For some time we have implemented a number of environmental initiatives that are proving successful, and we are now looking at trialing some new initiatives to increase the positive impact. In 2022 we will continue to work with SCA National on the Sustainability Development Goals for strata.

CHU’s carbon neutral journey so far…

Since 2019, CHU has been working with environmental scientist/explorer Tim Jarvis’s Forktree project in combating climate change and biodiversity loss.

CHU is offsetting its carbon footprint by planting thousands of trees on degraded farmland on the Fleurieu peninsula in South Australian to restore its pristine condition. Last year more than 1,700 trees were planted, and this year’s planting will make CHU carbon neutral for the third year.

Each year, CHU also asks the suppliers to contribute to the Forktree Project rather than send thank you gifts. Last year CHU’s service providers contributed $15,000. CHU aims to work with its service providers to also become carbon neutral in 2022/23.

Reducing the impact of claims waste on landfill

More than a third of the waste generated in Australia ends up in landfill, with insurance clean-up and repair work material a significant contributor.

CHU has been piloting an initiative in Queensland with eco waste managers Handel Group to lessen the impact on landfill since 2020.

CHU uses unique handel: FLEXiSKiPs to collect and remove the waste. The skips are made from recycled material and can be easily erected on sites. The waste materials are later moved to handel: recycle partners to recycle.

Trialing environmentally friendly cleaners and paints

CHU is currently trialing two initiatives with a Victorian panel supplier with a view to rolling them out nationally in 2022.

A range of products are being trialed that are used for commercial cleaning when properties need to be thoroughly cleaned as part of restoration work.

CHU is trialing the Actichem Responsibly Green cleaning range, which was developed to provide environmentally sustainable solutions.

CHU is testing the range’s disinfectant; mold remover; and air freshener. The products utilise plant extracts, antimicrobial and bio-enzyme technology to minimise their impact on the environment.

CHU is also trialing low VOC paints through Dulux and Taubmans. These are paints that contain less “Volatile Organic Compounds” (VOC) or VOC Solvents than traditional coatings. High levels of VOC solvents contribute to the formation of pollution and reduce the indoor air quality.

In order to minimise the level of VOCs released, external bodies such as the “Green Building Council of Australia” (GBCA) established “Green Star” Industry Standards in order to control the level of VOC solvents that can be incorporated into various paints during manufacture.

Time for action

The time for action by the strata industry, the insurance industry and other industries is now.

As Deloitte’s partner for energy transition and renewables, John O’Brien, told the ABC, most businesses need to start grappling with what to do about climate change, if they have not already. “If you want to have a business that’s going to be running in 10 years, then you need to be thinking about how you’re going to plan that strategy to be in business. If you’re taking no [climate] action now, and the world is changing fast, companies that don’t change with the evolving world are effectively not going to survive.”

How are you travelling on the sustainability journey?

A landmark was reached in May 2021 with 90 per cent of the material gathered in the pilot scheme being recycled.

CHU is now encouraging its panel of builders across Australia to use the skips so that the waste can be recycled. In 2022, panels in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania will be able to use the process.

CHU Underwriting Agencies 

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