A Greenfleet planting day

30 July 2013 — That the simplest ideas are the best seems to ring true with Greenfleet.

You decide it’s time to offset your carbon emissions.

So you head to their website, tell them what sort of vehicle you drive, and they calculate the amount you need to donate to offset emissions.

Then they use that money to plant trees. Lots of them. About 7.5 million around Australia since 1995. And we all breathe a little easier.

And before you say “it’s already tough times”, the average car driver is looking at about $60 – and that’s tax deductible – for 12 months of environmental aid. Six sandwiches in most cities.

General manager Michelle Sheehan said Greenfleet was the first carbon offset organisation in Australia, introduced at a time when the term was a bit of a foreign language.

“We are very proud of our history,” she said.

“Greenfleet was started by a gentleman in the car racing industry, which is a little interesting, and he was driving down the road when he heard about carbon offsetting on the radio.

“He thought it was a great idea, and with the car industry background and being very entrepreneurial, it worked out very well.”

Ms Sheehan said Greenfleet’s “supporters” ranged from individuals to large corporates including Telstra, Wilson Group, Sussan, Kumho Tyres, Peter Lehmann Wines, AE Smith and GWMWater.

The organisation had also expanded from offsetting emissions from cars to travel and energy use along with offering simple advice on how to avoid or reduce carbon emissions at home, in the office, in the car and on holidays.

Ms Sheehan said there was a much greater understanding of carbon emissions now, compared to 15 years ago, with most people keen to help the environment.

“And I think because we plant Australian native trees it resonates with people,” she said.

“We are also providing landscape connectivity, habitat for wildlife and stopping soil erosion, so it’s more than just popping a tree in the ground.

Ms Sheehan said areas chosen for planting ranged from private landholdings where landholders received carbon certification rights, to state forests and now Greenfleet’s own property bought this year near West Wyalong.

The 1700-hectare property will have 900 hectares planted out – providing connectivity to an adjoining reserve for native wildlife.

Ms Sheehan said Greenfleet was based in Melbourne with a passionate staff of 12 people – up from two when it started.

“We are certainly a solid growing organisation and we also offset all our own emissions along with avoiding and reducing them,” she said.

“We have deglobed every second light and are very careful of our power usage. We avoid carbon emissions where possible, and when you can’t avoid, we reduce.”

For information on Greenfleet and how to offset carbon emissions go to www.greenfleet.com.au

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  1. Being a not-for-profit environmental charity was an important reason why AE Smith decided to support Greenfleet. Yes – Greenfleet was the first carbon offset organisation. But we use them, and support them because we trust Greenfleet to actually do what they say they will do on our behalf… And that’s plant more than 21,500 native trees for us since 2005 offsetting some 5,500 tonnes CO2-e generated by hundreds of our vehicles and 1 million kilometres of staff air travel. Thank you Greenfleet and the Greenfleet team.