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Our commitment

The Reef Authority will implement new pollution prevention practices, waste minimisation measures, and incorporate more efficient use of resources. 

Using nationally recognised methods, we will track and report on our environmental performance and assist others by showcasing innovation and action for sustainability across the Reef Authority programs.

Environmental sustainability underpins our management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Reef Authority) supports and encourages the strongest and fastest possible actions to decrease global greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the risks and limit the impacts of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef 1.

We aim to further embed sustainability in our organisation and identify the current environmental impacts resulting from our diverse business activities.

Through our sustainability strategy we will review and improve our environmental performance, clearly articulate the overall direction of the organisation regarding our own environmental performance and formally express our commitment to sustainability.

Our approach to planning, implementing, and reviewing our organisational sustainability will align with current legislation, modern standards, and codes, and in doing so demonstrate sustainability best practice.
Our strategy supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

1 Reef Authority Climate Change Position Statement

Reef HQ Aquarium solar array

Reef HQ Aquarium. © Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES)

Building on past sustainability successes

We previously achieved an ambitious target to reduce our grid electricity use at Reef HQ Aquarium by 50 percent. Starting in 2007, a high level of commitment, perseverance and adaptation was required to retrofit sustainability and innovation into an existing building to yield excellent emission reduction outcomes.

We support innovation by contributing to advancing renewable energy technologies (such as the ARENA Advancing Renewable Technologies scheme in 2020) and by showcasing energy efficiency strategies at Reef HQ Aquarium 2, our National Education Centre for the Great Barrier Reef. 

We are now stretching further, by purchasing renewable electricity for sites we fully control and targeting net zero carbon emissions in operations by 2030 for the delivery of all Reef Authority services to support Australia’s low emissions future.

Pathway to energy efficiency for Reef Authority 2007-2020

2 Reef Authority energy efficiency successes see publication here.


Strategy to reach net zero by 2030

The Reef Authority greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy will set new targets with enabling initiatives that move us towards net zero emissions in our operations by 2030 (for Scope 1* and 2^) including the development of a plan for net zero for Scope 3# emissions.

We see the effect marine debris and pollution, especially plastics, has on marine life on the Great Barrier Reef. We support a circular economy and initiatives that minimise waste going to landfill.

* Scope 1 emissions – direct emissions occurring from on-site burning of fuels
^ Scope 2 emissions – indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity
# Scope 3 – all other indirect emissions, occurring upstream and downstream in the value chain of the entity

Reef HQ Turtle Hospital release c Commonwealth of Australia

© Commonwealth of Australia (Reef Authority).

We will improve performance in four Action Areas:

  • Sustainability strategy, governance and reporting
  • Clean energy and clean air
  • Waste management and water use
  • Community connection and safeguarding the local environment 

We will measure impacts and track progress against our goals each year. For example, we will quantify waste sent to landfill and track progress on waste reduction. 

Our impacts will be reduced through sustainable procurement practices, finding efficiencies, on-site renewables, energy storage, electrifying our fleet vehicles, choosing off-site renewable energy sources, and adopting circular economy principles.


© Commonwealth of Australia (Reef Authority). Photographer Johnny Gaskell

Updated 27 Oct 2022
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