When was Zero Emissions Byron created?
In March 2015, as a response to growing concern over climate change, a public meeting was held led by CEO of Melbourne Think Tank, Beyond Zero Emissions, and the Mayor of Byron Shire Council. In all, 50 people attended and created the framework that became the basis for Zero Emissions Byron (ZEB). It is now a thriving volunteer-led, non-profit entity.
In October 2016, ZEB was registered as a Public Company Limited by Guarantee. Each year, ZEB sends a statistical return to the Register of Environmental Organisations. A Registered Charity, it also has deductible gift recipient (DGR) status.
In 2021, new Directors were elected to the Board, bringing in fresh skills and focus. The Board of Zero Emissions Byron is motivated and committed, combining years of high-level professional, academic and incomparable community organising experience.
What is the purpose of Zero Emissions Byron?
Our purpose is to accelerate Byron Shire’s transition to net zero emissions by continuously engaging our local community to increase their uptake of emission reduction activities. The rationale for ZEB is to successfully champion, educate, inform and inspire action aimed toward zero emissions for the Byron Shire.
What is ZEB’s current focus?
1. ZEB actively engages with the community to encourage emissions reduction activities. Renewable energy uptake, energy efficiency and other emission lowering options and behaviours are promoted through our regular e-newsletters, our website, info sheets, social media, competitions, street stalls, festivals and other events. Through fundraising we have been able to employ a part-time Community Engagement officer who interacts with the community.
ZEB contributes to the Byron Shire Council’s Sustainability and Emissions Reductions Advisory Committee (SERAC) and works with the Emissions Reduction team on Council. ZEB also contributes to the Regional Sustain Northern Rivers Energy working group. We collaborate with other like-minded groups, such as Enova Community Energy, Resilient Byron, Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimby (COREM), and Repower Byron Shire, to amplify our joint efforts.
2. ZEB calculates the reduction in carbon emissions. ZEB undertook an initial estimate of Byron Shire emissions when it was established and undertakes regular updates. The most recent was in 2021 by Point Advisory, an independent group which calculates greenhouse gas emissions. ZEB works closely with Byron Shire Council for their data.
3. ZEB promotes the uptake of electric vehicles to reduce GHG emissions. In 2019, ZEB held a highly successful Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Expo & Forum, sponsored by Bank Australia, TheDriven.io, Herbert Smith Freehills and Byron Shire Council, with additional sponsors Morgan's Financial and Hyundai. This live EV Expo and Forum attracted over 500 people.
During 2020-2021 the EV/Transport team produced a series of eight one-hour webinars with key industry leaders. The corporate sponsors were Bank Australia and the NRMA. Community sponsors were Enova Community Energy, Light Touch Solar & Electrical and Club Car. These highly effective webinars have gained a growing international following. Webinars can be viewed on YouTube or at www.zerobyron.org/ev-revolution
4. ZEB encourages carbon sequestration through habitat restoration and regenerative agriculture as key opportunities in the Byron Shire to drawdown carbon. Between October 2019 and March 2021 ZEB planted 18,600 trees on private properties, before reviewing its original Replant Byron project. ZEB retains the responsibility to maintain the majority of the 18,600 trees it planted.
In acknowledging the many successful tree planting groups and practitioners operating in Byron Shire, in March 2021 it was decided to relaunch as the Replant Byron Alliance (RBA), to support all initiatives and stakeholders across Byron Shire. Its aim is to increase, account for, and clarify the significance of atmospheric carbon removal through native tree planting and vegetation management, and to inspire more landholders to maximise the draw-down potential of their land, while improving biodiversity, soil and water quality. As well, it works with Alliance members to tally the trees planted in the Shire and estimate the CO2 drawdown impact of this important activity.
5. ZEB encourages emissions reduction through better building design. Energy efficient and more sustainable building design are actively promoted by ZEB and provide a strong adjunct to ZEB programs to reduce emissions toward zero. Specific building-focussed activities are planned, while a brochure with key points for home-owners is being circulated widely within Byron Shire.
ZEB effectively continues to grow its outreach.
The outreach work of the contractors, coupled with the active support of the communications team,
has doubled ZEB’s registered interest database.
Over the past year the task of the contractors and communications team was to maintain the databases
and to revitalise and update the website to effectively and efficiently become a focal point of contact for the community.
The website also offers a practical guide to emissions reduction activity, and is a useful resource.
How confident can I feel about the management of ZEB?
Zero Emission Byron Limited has undertaken to give high priority to its internal operations to ensure compliance in accordance with all its obligations as a company limited by guarantee, with tax deductible gift recipient status.
The ‘Replant’ and ‘Engagement’ contractors are integral to raising our profile and tracking measurable outcomes for ZEB. ZEB’s contractors, and the technical designers who support their initiatives, need dependable funding for their ongoing work.
We will continue to strive to find new ways to engage people to actively reduce carbon emissions – toward a net zero carbon future.