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A chef’s dream & sustainable strategy: The Star secures carbon farm in QLD

A first for entertainment group: Land near Gympie will be used for a carbon credits project & a nature-based farm with local farmers

The Star Entertainment Group has secured a 170-hectare parcel of farmland in South-East Queensland to help manage its future carbon emissions reduction and to support biodiversity and native forest regeneration.

The Star will use the land near Gympie as its first carbon credits project, as well as create a nature-based farm partnering with local farmers and through widescale tree planting support endangered species particularly koalas, with new habitat.

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The Star Entertainment Group’s Head of Sustainability, Amanda Visser said it has taken two years to bring the project to life as an extension of its sustainability strategy and will directly bolster the company’s target of net-zero scope 1 and scope 2 carbon emissions for wholly owned and operated properties by 2030.

“We will be planting over 100,000 native trees over the next five years to not only generate Australian carbon credit units but also to establish a koala sanctuary and create habitats for local, endangered species,” Ms Visser said.

“We have completed initial biodiversity assessments to ensure this regeneration project supports local, native forest cover and we can measure the impact we are having over time.”

Supported by the carbon management expertise of Ndevr Environmental, The Star has registered the native tree planting component of the project under the Emissions Reduction Fund.

Noosa Landcare has completed wide-scale soil testing ahead of the first installment of planting, set to begin in Autumn 2023, while the emissions reduction project is being broadened with guidance from the Odonata Foundation, the architect of this innovative and big-picture approach to environmental sustainability.

Corymbia, The Star Farm

Odonata’s CEO Sam Marwood said, “Organisations can use their carbon offset priorities as the driver to do something that adds incredible value to the business, people and communities, with no real additional costs.”

“The Star Entertainment Group has demonstrated real dedication to innovatively supporting environment and community, over and above what is required,” he said.

“It has been a couple of years of collaborative planning. Along with the strategic and commercial aspects, it’s been outstanding how much engagement there has been on the detailed aspects of the project, like how to select the right trees to attract koalas, how best to help threatened species, improve biodiversity and river health, and work alongside local communities.”

Ms Visser added, “Working with Odonata has also directed and strengthened our commitment to local farmers and regenerative agriculture by exploring the use of produce grown across the region and on the farm for The Star’s restaurants, bars and hotels.

“The bigger picture is to fully engage our teams in sustainable agriculture and biodiversity education and it’s already creating great interest.”

The Star Gold Coast Executive chef Uday Huja, who has visited the farm and other nearby properties, said, “It’s every chef’s dream to have a farm.”

“Having a direct touchpoint from planting to harvesting not only provides endless inspiration but a deep understanding of what is best practice in farming and agriculture and how that directly connects with a culinary product,” he said.

For every hectare The Star operates across its three resorts in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, it will rewild three hectares, and a minimum of 100 hectares.

The Star’s pathway to its 2030 net-zero target also includes energy efficiency initiatives, onsite solar (where possible) and offsite renewable electricity delivered via Power Purchase Agreements.

The Star Entertainment Group’s Managing Director and CEO, Robbie Cooke said the farm was a further demonstration of The Star’s ambition to develop and operate socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable destinations.

“As an organisation, we’re committed to delivering positive impacts on the communities and cities in which we operate. Corymbia is the evolution of our wider sustainability strategy and will help us achieve our goals.” said Mr Cooke.

“We look forward to unveiling further announcements about this exciting, and innovative project in the near future,” Mr Cooke added.

About The Star Entertainment Group’s Sustainability Strategy
The Star’s sustainability approach is focussed on creating long term value in the management of its environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities. Each year, The Star sets additional measures to increase its ESG performance and reporting transparency which includes increasing data assurance, performance metrics and targets.

In FY2022, The Star redeveloped its sustainability strategy, reassessed its most material ESG issues and commenced the development of a new strategic roadmap, action plan and a series of targets towards 2030. The strategy, titled ‘Responsible Business, Sustainable Destinations’, is aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This new sustainability strategy is focussed on three pillars – Responsibility, Environment and People, and encapsulates The Star’s intent for the current and future management of material and emerging ESG issue areas and increases efforts in a number of key business impact areas.

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