Environmental Improvement Program

Our Environmental Improvement Program drives continuous enhancements in operational energy, water and waste performance throughout our portfolio.  

Its implementation is supported through centre level management plans, which identify specific environmental initiatives to help us achieve our annual resource efficiency targets. These plans are updated every year through our Strategic Asset Planning process, and take account of evolving best practices in building environmental management.

To monitor our performance and maintain accountability we undertake quarterly reporting to our Board and the Sustainability Committee, as well as our strategic partners to keep them informed on our progress.

Benchmarking our performance

We use recognised national frameworks such as the Green Star Performance Rating tool and the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) to benchmark our performance and drive continuous improvement outcomes across our asset portfolio.

These rating tools help us identify areas for improvement and opportunities to implement best practice initiatives, resulting in positive outcomes for our building users, including our consumers, retailers and their staff, contractors and our people.

In FY17 we had our entire portfolio rated under the Green Star Performance rating tool for a second time. With an average portfolio performance rating of 3 Stars, Vicinity is the largest property portfolio in Australia to achieve such a rating.

Vicinity Centres portfolio sustainability performance ratings

Framework FY17 FY16 FY15
Green Star Performance¹ 3 Stars
Good Practice
Coverage: 100%
2 Stars
Average Practice
Coverage: 100%
Not rated
NABERS Energy²,³ 3.7 Stars
Coverage: 44%
3.4 Stars
Coverage: 56%
3.2 Stars
Coverage: 32%
NABERS Water²,³ 3.2 Stars
Coverage: 44%
2.9 Stars
Coverage: 50%
2.4 Stars
Coverage: 28%
  1. The Green Star Performance rating covers Vicinity’s assets under management as at June 2017.
  2. Coverage of NABERS Ratings are based on equity share.
  3. NABERS portfolio average includes centres with current accredited ratings at as at 30 June 2017. Download the Portfolio NABERS Energy and Water Rating 2017 for the list of centres included in the average.
  4. For asset level sustainability ratings, go to our FY17 Performance Pack.

Our performance

The table below provides an overview of our group-wide environmental performance. To view asset level data, download our FY17 Performance Pack.

Vicinity Centres environmental performance1,2



FY15 Actual

FY16 Actual6

FY17 Actual6

Gross Lettable Area





Total energy use





Energy intensity





Scope 1 emissions





Scope 2 emissions





Scope 1+2 emissions





Emissions intensity (Scope 1 + 2)

kg CO2-e/sqm3




Scope 3 emissions





Total water use





Water intensity

kL CO2-e/sqm3




Recycling rate5

% of total waste




  1. Reporting scope is for assets under management. See our FY17 Performance Pack for further details. For more information on reporting scope and criteria, see our Sustainability Reporting Criteria.
  2. Third party assurance has been undertaken for this dataset. Download our assurance statement here.
  3. Square meters (sqm) refers to retail footprint – square metres of gross lettable area (GLA).
  4. Tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent.
  5. Waste data reported represents around 99 per cent of our total GLA as we are unable to source accurate waste data for one of our assets.
  6. Data has been restated from the figures previously reported publicly, based on receipt of invoices.

Energy and carbon

We use a lot of energy to operate our shopping centres - energy is one of Vicinity’s largest outgoings at a centre level - and the carbon emissions generated through our energy use is our biggest environmental impact.

This is why creating low carbon, highly efficient and smart centres is a key focus of our Sustainability strategy.

During FY17, we reduced our absolute energy use by 10 per cent and our energy intensity by 6 per cent from the previous year, resulting in an 18 per cent reduction in our absolute scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions from our base year (FY15).

Total energy use

*includes natural gas, diesel and LPG.


Total greenhouse gas emissions

This is the direct result of our environment improvement program, which includes centre level plans that focus our capital expenditure on initiatives to reduce building energy consumption and ensure all operational equipment such as air conditioning, lighting, vertical transport and building management systems are running as efficiently as possible.   

During the year we also undertook a solar pilot at Ellenbrook Central in WA, installing a 100 kW photovoltaic system which further reduced our absolute carbon emissions and provided a strong business case for a larger-scale solar roll out to other centres via our integrated energy strategy.

See our FY17 Performance Pack for asset level performance data.

Waste and recycling

As a retail property owner and manager, waste is one of our largest indirect environmental impacts.

Our retailers generate large quantities of waste, largely though packaging materials and food waste. It is our responsibility to provide the right infrastructure and guidance to our retailers and consumers to ensure as much waste as possible can be recycled.

Our approach to waste management focuses on firstly encouraging waste minimisation, and separating and recovering waste that is generated at the source. All of our centres have waste management plans and annual recycling and resource recovery targets to increase recycling rates and therefore, waste from landfill.

During FY17, we achieved an average waste diversion from landfill rate of 36 per cent (35 per cent in FY16) through improved source separation and recycling.

Some individual centres achieved diversion from landfill rates well above average, with Altona Gate achieving 73 per cent, DFO South Wharf 66 per cent and Keilor 61 per cent. See FY17 Performance Pack for asset level reporting. 

During the year, our efforts focused on diverting organic waste, such as food scraps, leftovers and used coffee grounds, from landfill, with a program that targeted food court and fresh food retailers. The program resulted in an increase in our organics recycling by approximately a thousand tonnes.

Waste disposal method (tonnes)



Across much of Australia, water is a scarce resource that must be managed responsibly.

Our Environment Improvement Program includes projects to improve our water efficiency, targeting the most water intensive elements of our centres, such as centre amenities, cleaning, air conditioning plants and food retailer usage. 

We implemented a number of water efficiency measures during FY17, including the installation of high efficiency and waterless fixtures during amenity upgrades, individual metering of water intensive retailers, monitoring of water leaks and encouraging more efficient behaviours.

During FY17, our total water consumption was 2,928 megalitres, a 5% reduction from the previous year. This equates to an overall water intensity of 1.03 kL/sqm across the portfolio.

For asset level reporting, see our FY17 Performance Pack

Case study: What does Green Star mean for Vicinity?

Vicinity uses the Green Star Performance tool, administered by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) to measure the sustainability performance of our property portfolio.

We obtained our first Green Star Performance portfolio rating in June 2016, achieving a portfolio average of 2 Stars - Average Practice.  We very quickly then made a public commitment in our 2016 Sustainability Report to lift our portfolio rating average to 3 Stars – Good Practice – in the next 12 months.

In collaboration with our Operations team, we established a plan to implement a number of initiatives aimed at improving our portfolio-wide performance, as well as delivering value to our centres, communities and the environment.

They included best practice initiatives across areas such as cleaning, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) maintenance practices, fire water testing regimes and waste management. We also continued to improve our energy and water efficiency through our environmental improvement program.

Vicinity’s use of data and analytics to enhance and optimise building performance was additionally recognised through the innovation category of the tool as industry best practice.

In June 2017, we received a 3 Star Green Star Performance rating for our portfolio, making us the largest property portfolio in Australia (in number of assets and total floor area) to achieve such a rating to date.

There are many benefits to using Green Star. It is driving better engagement with our retailers, especially those who are also using the Green Star suite of tools for their tenancy fit outs, and is helping us integrate sustainability initiatives into our development projects. Our 3 Star Green Star Performance Portfolio rating has additionally provided Vicinity with recognition of being an industry leader in the retail property sector
Michael O’Brien, Chief Investment Officer, Vicinity Centres

Case study: Stakeholder engagement in waste management

At the foundation of our waste management and recycling program’s success is effective collaboration between our centre teams, retailers and our waste service providers.

This involves keeping our retailers, employees, waste and cleaning contractors informed about their centre’s recycling program and targets.

To drive continued success, Vicinity has developed an innovative recycling video to educate our centre level stakeholders about the correct disposal of waste and the recycling streams available at our centres.

The video was first launched in July 2016 at Emporium Melbourne and distributed to the centre's retailers via dock screens, our retailer portal and monthly retailer inspections. During the first month, the centre experienced an uplift in its recycling rates by 5%, particularly in key waste streams such as cardboard and organics.

The video has proven an effective alternative to deploying face to face engagement, and is now being rolled out across our entire portfolio.