Our focus on sustainability
At Yarra Trams, sustainability encompasses the social, environmental and economic factors that contribute to a sustainable future for the tram network. By taking a triple bottom line approach, we secure long-term value for our people, passengers, partners, the communities we serve and for the environment. Read our Sustainability and Environment Policy.
Yarra Trams has taken the TAKE2 pledge to support the Victorian Government’s climate change mission to achieve zero-net emissions and keep global temperature rise to under two degrees by 2050. Find out more at sustainability.vic.gov.au.
Yarra Trams is proud to be certified to the ISO 14001:2015 standard to ensure we achieve the intended outcomes of our environmental management system, which provides value for the environment and the organisation.
Partnering with sustainable organisations
Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond our own organisation to the broader Melbourne community.
As part of the Yarra Trams Community Partnership Program, we have six key Melbourne sustainability organisation coming to the network. Our 2021 community partners are Birdlife Australia, Environment Victoria, Fairtrade, Planet Ark, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Wildlife Victoria. Each will deliver important messages about sustainability through trams on the network.
We're proud to be supporting great Victorian organisations through the Yarra Trams Community Partnership Program - putting sustainability messages out on a moving billboard for Melbourne to see.
Annual End-of-Year Giving Appeal
As part of our annual End-of-Year Giving Appeal, Yarra Trams' employees worked to combat food insecurity by collecting rice, pasta, cereal and tuna for local community organisation, FoodBank Victoria.
Donations collected from our 10 locations weighed in at more than 650kg of food and groceries. These items are being packed into hampers and made available to FoodBanks’ 500+ charity partners across the state - just in time for Christmas 2020.
Other End-of-Year Giving Appeal community partners have included FareShare in 2018 and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in 2019.
Greening our depots
Across 2020 we have been working to improve the environmental footprint of some of our sites.
At our Essendon Depot, we delivered more energy efficient lighting by removing all fluorescent light fixtures and installing LED lighting to our tram stabling and maintenance sheds.
At our infrastructure facility, E-Gate, we also completed LED lighting upgrades as part of the Greener Government Buildings Program.
The switch to energy-efficient lighting at these two sites will reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions by approximately 185 tonnes each year – the equivalent of taking 40 cars off the road!
One of our next projects is replacing HVAC, lighting and skylights at our Glenhuntly Depot.
Adapting to climate change
Climate change is already impacting Melbourne’s tram network. Longer and hotter summers pose risks to our passengers, employees, assets and operations. And we know that more changes in our climate will continue to present escalated challenges into the future.
At Yarra Trams we are adapting to climate change as part of our operational planning, and we have established a rigorous extreme weather plan to safely manage hotter and prolonged summer seasons.
Taking a long-term view, we are also implementing a raft of climate change mitigation initiatives to do our bit in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, aiding the State’s pledge for net zero emissions by 2050.
And by providing Melbourne with a sustainable transport option linked to renewable solar energy, we are proud to be supporting Melbourne more broadly in the fight against climate change.
June is Environment Month at Yarra Trams. This year we focused on waste and recycling initiatives. We launched a uniform recycling program in partnership with Textile Recyclers Australia in which depots have been provided with uniform recycling bins. Discarded uniforms will be recycled into other yarns.
We also established an e-waste partnership with Enable Social Enterprises. Enable not only dispose of e-waste in an environmentally responsible way, but also provide employability programs to help improve job prospects for people in the community experiencing hardship.
Depots dig deep for bushfire relief
In January and February 2020, big-hearted Yarra Trams employees rolled up their sleeves to fundraise to help those affected by the Victorian bushfires.
Employees held raffles, sausage sizzles and some spectacular bake stalls at depots across the tram network.
Our people raised thousands of dollars, with every dollar matched by Yarra Trams.
Melbourne’s tram network is now 100 per cent linked to renewable energy thanks to two Victorian solar farms.
With the recent opening of the Numurkah Solar Farm, which generates approximately 255,000 megawatt hours of clean, renewable electricity, all trams on Melbourne’s iconic network are driving investment in renewables as part of the State Government’s Solar Trams Initiative.
This is part of a much larger picture for Melbourne, with the State Government committed to Victoria generating 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
Giving back with track to Werribee Zoo
It’s not very often that you can donate something to a new home, which will in fact build a new home.
Last November, maintenance works along Route 58 in Royal Park dug up over 600 metres of track which inevitably needed somewhere to go.
Instead of storing them away, there was word that Werribee Zoo needed resources like our tracks to expand their White Rhino and Elephant facilities.
Being synonymous with the Rhino, and always up for a sustainable solution, Yarra Trams pulled out all the stops to get the tracks to Werribee – which are now at the Zoo awaiting construction to begin.
Glen Holland, Director at Werribee Zoo, said “We’re moving the entire Elephant herd from Melbourne Zoo to a 22-hectare site at Werribee, as well as increasing our White Rhino breeding program.”
“We really appreciate the donation from Yarra Trams, which will help make these new facilities possible.”
Yarra Trams answers call of the gorillas
As part of our sustainability agenda, Yarra Trams encouraged our employees to donate their old mobile phones to help save gorillas facing extinction in Central Africa. Donation tubs were set up at all our depots, and plush toy gorilla prizes and zoo passes incentivised our people to dig deep into their drawers for old mobile phones.
Mobile phones use the metal coltan, which mainly comes from central Africa. Coltan mining has created deforestation and loss of gorilla habitat, putting the species under threat of extinction.
Recycling mobile phones through Zoos Victoria’s ‘They’re calling on you’ campaign reduces the demand for coltan, helps keep mobile phones from becoming landfill, and raises money for non-profit organisation Gorilla Doctors and Zoos Victoria’s conservation programs.