Biodiversity plays an important role in the operation of ecosystems and in the many functions they provide, such as clean water, food, timber, fertile soil and climate regulation. Our ability to create value over the long term is critically dependent on resilient ecosystems and a loss of biodiversity reduces the quality of the ecosystem functions we rely on.
2020 Performance Highlights
- Our biodiversity tool was used to identify on-site actions to improve biodiversity at two shopping centres.
- Our biodiversity project investments supported the restoration of ecosystems, improvement of waterways and removal of over 6,400 tonnes of CO2-e emissions.
- Biodiversity criteria continued to be incorporated into our supplier pre-qualification and selection processes.
Find out more about GPT's performance in the 2020 Sustainability Report.
The GPT Environment Data Pack details the full performance of our portfolio, assets and wholesale funds since 2005, including building ratings and attributes.
Policy and Approach
GPT's Biodiversity Policy sets out our commitments and approach to managing and enhancing biodiversity. The Policy includes our commitment to have a net positive impact on biodiversity, such as through reforestation and no net deforestation approaches, and our commitment not operate or develop in areas of World Heritage and other similar significance. Our carbon neutral, water neutral, and closed loop materials management targets guide our actions towards a net positive biodiversity impact. Our Biodiversity Policy applies across our asset management and development activities, as well as to our relationships with supply chain and community partners.
Delivering positive biodiversity outcomes
A range of initiatives are helping GPT make a positive contribution to biodiversity at our assets. These include:
Biodiversity Measurement Tool
GPT re-developed its practical biodiversity tool in 2019 to establish a baseline for on-site biodiversity, and to track our performance.
In 2020, this tool helped us to identify on-site biodiversity improvements at our Chirnside Park and Highpoint shopping centres in Melbourne.
Collaborating with suppliers
Engaging with our supply chain partners contributes to our efforts to protect biodiversity.
Biodiversity criteria are explicitly included in GPT’s supplier pre‑qualification and selection process, and expertise and experience in this area is a key requirement of landscaping procurement.
We have systems in place to assess and manage the chemicals used on our sites to ensure any environmental and health risks are mitigated.
We regularly conduct biodiversity awareness training for our operations managers and asset management contractors, such as cleaners and waste companies, to facilitate a shared understanding of biodiversity and its relevance to our assets and operations.
Where GPT manages developments in the urban centres in which we operate, we engage with our contractors to ensure biodiversity impacts are assessed and minimised according to a mitigation hierarchy and have development-specific targets for sourcing materials to reduce impacts like deforestation through the supply chain.
Collaborating with local First Nations People
First Nations People have an intrinsic connection to traditional land and are protectors of knowledge that has been passed through generations. GPT recognises and pays respect to Traditional Owners, and continues to develop meaningful partnerships with them to protect and enhance the natural environment to benefit biodiversity.
Developing assets with local biodiversity in mind
GPT has demonstrated strong biodiversity practices for new developments. Biodiversity targets were a key element of major projects such as Rouse Hill Town Centre, Charlestown Square and Highpoint Shopping Centre. These biodiversity targets delivered outcomes beyond regulatory requirements, and were monitored throughout the project delivery process and each asset’s ongoing operation.
Through these projects, GPT seeks to leave a positive legacy by restoring part of the local environment utilising native planting to provide fauna habitat and enhance stormwater flows from these assets.
Development focus: Rouse Hill Town Centre
Prior to its development, the Rouse Hill Town Centre site was a golf course with little biodiversity value, giving GPT the opportunity to restore this value through various biodiversity controls.
Biodiversity targets consistent with those for nearby Caddies Creek were integrated into the Town Centre’s landscaping and where possible were designed to minimise artificial watering. As a result, 40% of the site area was protected as open space and 20% was revegetated to the local natural standard.
A saline soil management strategy was prepared and enacted as part of the soils plan in each of the site Environmental Management Plans (EMPs). These EMPs covered environmental issues including (but not limited to) soil erosion, dust, stormwater, waste, recycling, energy conservation through construction, vehicle movement and noise.
GPT’s voluntary target required 30% of the site’s biodiversity values to be reinstated through adopting an 80% endemic – plants specific to the geographical area - planting target.
This target was formally monitored through the project delivery process by GPT’s development and sustainability management teams.
- Use of bio-swales and ponds covering 400m2 for toxics removal from stormwater prior to entering Caddies Creek.
- Gross pollutant traps to filter stormwater.
- Planting of more than 130,000 trees and plants, with more than 80% being indigenous.
- Limiting the size of the rainwater collection tank to maintain the environmental flows within Caddies Creek.
- A ‘Secret Garden’ providing insulation, stormwater management and an extension to green space.
- Working with the existing site topography and vegetation to minimise the project’s impact.
- Communicating messages on stormwater grates to educate visitors and staff on the importance of considering what we put down the drain for the benefit of the flora and fauna in the area.
- Using timbers from sustainably managed forests rather than old growth forests that disrupt the natural ecosystems.
Development focus: Highpoint Shopping Centre
Located on an old quarry site in the Melbourne suburb of Maribyrnong, Highpoint Shopping Centre undertook a development significantly expanding the net lettable area. GPT set a strong environmental target for construction and operations upon completion.
Specific targets were set to minimise impact on biodiversity for:
- Materials used, and
- Stormwater management incorporating Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD).
Further to the construction impacts, the significant tract of land surrounding Highpoint provided opportunity to improve the biodiversity of the green spaces. Attributes of the green spaces included:
- Native and endemic species used for the majority of the new landscaping planted.
- Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) incorporating rain gardens and bio-swales were installed in a space-constrained, built up environment, using native and endemic species. The WSUD controls the stormwater runoff from the site as well as cleans and treats the runoff before it returns to the local environment and waterways. The stormwater runoff from Highpoint is part of the catchment area for the Maribyrnong River so it was important that stormwater is effectively managed and treated.
Find out more about GPT's performance in the 2020 Sustainability Report.