Alcoa and Greening Australia celebrate 35 years of environmental cooperation

Australia’s longest running community/business partnership between Greening Australia and Alcoa of Australia is celebrating 35 years of achievements, including some of the most important environmental and green-technology innovations in our history, according to the company.

The environmental action-oriented partnership has seen almost 20 million dollars invested in planting 100 million trees, and allowed Greening Australia to invest time and effort in environmental education, large scale landscape restoration, reconnecting remnant habitats, establishing native seed banks and carbon sequestration.

Greening Australia chief Brendan Foran said the 35-year community/business partnership is Australia’s oldest and one of the longest running in the world.

“It’s amazing how a small community/business partnership, which started with handing out trees in supermarkets in the year of the tree in 1982, has enabled some of the greatest environmental restoration efforts in Australia’s history,” he said.

“We are absolutely delighted with the extension of the Alcoa partnership, it has allowed landscape restoration to take root literally across the continent and placed it in strategy and thought leadership in board rooms of Australia.

“One of the greatest barriers to solving large environmental challenges and demonstrating proof of impact is continuity, and having Alcoa at our shoulder for 35 years has enabled Greening Australia to carry out some amazing landscape restoration projects.” Mr Foran said.

Alcoa of Australia managing director Michael Parker said Alcoa was proud to be part of a partnership delivering long-term community and environmental benefits.

“There’s no doubt it was a shared pursuit of environmental excellence that united Alcoa and Greening all those years ago, and it’s what remains at the heart of the partnership today,” he said.

“Over 35 years, landscapes have been changed, millions of trees planted, degradation reversed, and community involvement and ownership strengthened.”

Greening Australia has been working on ecological restoration with the local Peel-Harvey community in the southwest of Western Australia for over ten years.

The region forms part of the Peel Biolink programme, a landscape-scale initiative to connect the Darling Scarp to the shores of the Peel Estuary and its Ramsar-listed wetlands.

This landscape-scale corridor project is situated within close proximity to Alcoa's mining and alumina refining operations.

Another joint Alcoa-Greening project is Nell’s Block, a unique property where local people came together to restore 16.5 ha of cleared farmland in memory of Nell Piggott, a passionate local naturalist. 

Since 2008, community planting days have involved over 1,600 school children from the Peel region plus volunteers from organisations including Men of the Trees and Harvey River Restoration Task Force.

The next chapter of the partnership is currently being drafted and will focus on conservation in Alcoa’s own backyard, so to speak.

The Three Rivers Project will address impacts to the Murray, Serpentine and Harvey rivers, which flow through Alcoa’s operational areas and beyond.

Alcoa is on track to finalise the new three-year agreement over coming months, and are looking forward to starting work.