This CRC-LCL RP3010u3 Project was undertaken 2018 by the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute to develop its Low Carbon Living - Australia website; an online Carbon Calculator; a business plan to support its National roll out; along with the transfer of the program to two additional regions beginning with Port Douglas in Queensland.
This is the fourth grant the CRC-LCL has provided to the Institute to develop its Low Carbon Living Program, beginning in 2014 with the establishment of a Living Laboratory pilot program with a focus on the tourism industry in the Blue Mountains. This was followed by an additional grant to support the programs further development into a financially self-sufficient program in the Blue Mountains. A third grant was to support the transfer of the program to the Southern Highlands region of NSW in 2017, followed by the present grant to support the National expansion and the establishment of the Low Carbon Living – Australia program in Port Douglas in Qld.
Beginning in August 2018 the Institute begin developing the new Low Carbon Living website which was designed to include a carbon calculator to allow both businesses and households to establish their carbon footprint, identify what could easily be done to reduce carbon usage, and to provide access to carbon offsets which could be purchased to cover the carbon usage that could not be immediately addressed. The website also provided access to the existing LCL regional sites and integrated them more effectively into the national program.
The Carbon Calculator to be used in this program was developed in conjunction with EcoLogic a start-up linked to the Energy Lab at University of Technology Sydney. This group had developed a calculator to support energy reduction for households, and had been adopted by a number of Southern Sydney councils. An agreement with EcoLogic was reached to redevelop the energy calculator into a carbon calculator, based on our LCL auditing protocols and NCOS standards. This agreement involved both a cash component for development and a monthly service agreement on an ongoing basis.
The second key activity was to develop a business plan which could support the rollout of the program at a national level. Two options had been identified. One was a Franchise model which was trialled in the Southern Highlands, and involved the transfer of the program to the CAN-Win group, a local community based Climate Change action group linked the regional council.
The second approach was to establish a Collaborative/Partnership model involving a network of regions managed locally but administered centrally through the LCL Australia in conjunction with National of State partners. This second approach has been adopted for the management of the program in Port Douglas, which involves a collaboration with the Qld Government agency EcoBiz, and EcoTouriam Australia. This approach was adopted following two workshops, the first in Sydney in February 2019 second in Brisbane in April 2019.
To complement these two models, a business plan was developed to help inform the discussions with partners in the Queensland pilot project. The analysis carried out to support this strategy has been based on projections for potential growth in income from membership fees and carbon offset sales, as well as carbon reduction outcomes over five year from 2019-23 (See Tables 2-4). While these projections are based on levels of growth achieved in the Blue Mountains over the past five years, they are only indicative. They are unable to adequately estimate the potential growth in household carbon reduction and offset sale linked to the free access to the carbon calculator. Nonetheless the modelling provides a sufficiently positive business case to justify the further expansion of the program.
The transfer of the program through the Collaborative/Partnership model, is being adopted in Port Douglas which will commence in July 2019. It is supported by funding provided by EcoTourism Aust and EcoBiz Qld, and the outcome will be evaluated in December 2019, with the option of then extending it to other regions throughout Qld.
A second region under discussion is Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Following the CRC Expo in Adelaide in May 2019, the South Australia Ministry of the Environment has begun discussions regarding the programs transfer to SA in conjunction with EcoTourism Australia and Qantas. A workshop to review options is planned for mid August. Other regions already in discussion are the Tweed/Byron region of NSW, and Margaret River in West Australia.