April 21, 2010

Alcoa, Barwon Water: making an impact on climate change

A program that originated to help Alcoa employees become part of the solution to climate change is being shared with the wider community starting in Geelong.

‘Make an Impact’, which was founded by the Alcoa Foundation and Greening Australia in 2006 to help Alcoans and their families reduce their personal greenhouse footprint, has taken on its first ‘Associate’ in Barwon Water.

Make an Impact is a program that aims to change the way people think in our carbon constrained world. It includes: access to an online energy use calculator that provides users with customised action plans to help them reduce their water and energy use; regular workshops run by ‘green experts’; and take-home Toolkits with corresponding activity worksheets to get the kids involved.

As a Make an Impact ‘Associate’, Barwon Water employees now have access to the program’s resources - enabling greater positive environmental change at an individual level within the Geelong community.

The program also includes a comprehensive website that is accessible to anyone with the Internet, which features a range of carbon reduction tips to help individuals make changes at home, while on the move, at the shops, in the garden and at work.  Featuring discussion about the impact of climate change worldwide, and facts about Australia’s greenhouse footprint, the website is also a useful resource for school students.
Alcoa of Australia’s Point Henry Operations Manager Stewart Esdale said the program has been extremely effective within Alcoa, with hundreds of employees taking part in reducing their home energy and water use.

“It’s now fantastic to see a program we initiated being adopted by another business so their employees can also be part of the solution,” Mr Esdale said.

“As a business Alcoa is reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency, productivity improvements and new technology - we are seeking long-term solutions to these global problems. Make an Impact is an additional tool we can use to move beyond Alcoa and out into the community, mobilising change at the individual level.”

Barwon Water General Manager Capital Projects and Greenhouse, Paul Northey, said Make an Impact was in line with the corporation’s values, which included a commitment to environmental sustainability.

“Barwon Water as an organisation has set targets to reduce emissions and has greenhouse gas reduction programs in place through our Greenhouse Strategy,” Mr Northey said.

“Make an Impact complements these actions by giving employees the chance to implement change in their homes, as well as at work.”
Currently more than 1400 Alcoa employees in Australia are part of Make an Impact, making simple and practical changes to their homes and lifestyles.

Alcoa and Greening Australia have plans to bring on board more Make an Impact ‘Associates’ in Alcoa communities across the country.

Barwon Water’s launch of Make an Impact to its employees, follows the launch of Make an Impact Toolkits* in Victoria. Moolap Primary School in Geelong was the first school to take ownership of a Make an Impact Toolkit, which is the latest initiative to be launched under Alcoa’s Connecting with Schools education program.

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* Make an Impact Toolkits
Moolap Primary School in Geelong is the first school in Victoria to take ownership of a Make an Impact Toolkit, which has been developed by Alcoa of Australia in partnership with long-time sustainability partner Greening Australia.

The innovative school kit to help children reduce their personal greenhouse footprint is the latest initiative to be launched under Alcoa’s Connecting with Schools education program.

Some 60 schools around Alcoa’s operations in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia will receive Toolkits in the coming weeks, which children can borrow from their school libraries to take home.

The Make an Impact ToolKit contains:
  • A Power Mate –to measure energy consumption and running costs of appliances;
  • An infrared thermometer to measure fridge, freezer and hot water temperatures;
  • A compass to identify the orientation of the home and passive solar heating opportunities; 
  • A stopwatch to measure shower and tap flow rates;
  • Corresponding activity worksheets for each tool; and
  • A Make an Impact Resource Booklet filled with tips to save energy, save money and help save the planet.
Visit www.alcoa.com.au/schools to find out more about Alcoa’s Connecting with Schools initiatives.
Media contact: Sarah Tempest 0404 800 417