Australia’s home of sport – the Melbourne Cricket Ground - and its surrounding Yarra Park will become carbon neutral territory in September when the iconic sporting precinct offsets all the emissions from venue operations that are generated during its busiest period of the year.
On average, the MCG precinct consumes around 1.65 million kWh of electricity during September – comparable to the monthly energy demand of 4000 average Victorian homes.1
But in 2018, the stadium will join the EnergyAustralia carbon neutral movement.
This means EnergyAustralia, on behalf of the MCC, will offset all the emissions not only from the venue precinct for the entire month, but also the emissions from transport of over 400,000 people to and from the precinct, and from food and beverage manufacture and preparation.
Melbourne Cricket Club CEO Stuart Fox said offsetting carbon emissions during the stadium’s busiest time of year was the equivalent of planting (and maintaining) 100,000 trees2 or taking 50,0003 cars off the road for the month.
“It takes months of planning and preparation to prepare the MCG for all the activity, fanfare and excitement of September,” said Mr Fox. “It’s a fantastic time of year and it’s exciting to know we can provide fans with a great experience while completely offsetting their impact on the environment.”
This is the first time a stadium in Australia has completely offset its carbon emissions for any period of time. The Australian-first initiative is one element of a broader partnership between the Melbourne Cricket Club and energy retailer EnergyAustralia aimed at finding better, smarter ways for all Victorians to use energy.
To make the stadium precinct carbon neutral for September, EnergyAustralia will buy carbon credits from projects which reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in this case a revegetation project in the Northern Territory and a clean-energy initiative in India.
The MCG already recycles 83 per cent of the waste generated at the stadium and has reduced annual carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent. Mr Fox said carbon neutrality was just one of many recent initiatives to make the MCG and its surrounds more sustainable, including the purchase of a bulk food dehydrator to treat organic waste, re-labelling bins to reduce contamination, re-allocating old furniture and equipment, using recycled plastics for bollard replacement in Yarra Park.
EnergyAustralia Managing Director Catherine Tanna said whether it’s the average suburban house or the home of sport, going carbon neutral is for everyone.
“There’s great potential for applying what we learn and to help households and businesses across Victoria use energy more efficiently, so they save money and help the environment,” Ms Tanna said. “It’s exciting working with the MCG to address some of the big energy challenges Australians are facing.
“If we can make Australia’s home of sport carbon neutral in September, imagine what we could achieve if one million households joined the carbon neutral movement.”
EnergyAustralia customers can join the carbon neutral movement and opt-in to offset all of the electricity they use at home too, at no additional cost.
The MCG’s status as a carbon neutral precinct for the month of September is certified by the Australian Government against the National Carbon Offset Standard. Becoming certified ensures genuine and verified carbon abatement is being achieved.
MCG goes carbon neutral for September – how it works
In September 2017, the MCG and Yarra Park precinct produced around 20,531 tonnes of carbon emissions from venue-related operations.
EnergyAustralia will progressively buy carbon offset units on behalf of the MCC, with a reconciliation completed in October following an independent audit, to counteract the MCG’s emissions.
These units are allocated to projects which do something to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases – the aim is to neutralise or to offset an emission made elsewhere. One unit represents 1 tonne of greenhouse gas emissions.
Buying these units helps support projects that reduce or offset global greenhouse gas emissions; the projects include Indigenous fire management (Australia) and lighting efficiency (India).
The MCG going carbon neutral in September meets the requirements of the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (www.environment.gov.au/carbon-neutral).
The offset units used were independently verified by the United Nations or the Clean Energy Regulator.
1 Based on average Victorian annual electricity usage of 5MW: Australian Energy Regulator, “Energy Consumption Benchmarks”, October 2017.
2 Based on five trees to sequester one tonne of Co2: https://www.treesforlife.org.au/carbon/carbon-facts
3 Car numbers based on average cars emitting 4.6 tonnes of carbon each per year: https://www.epa.gov