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FeatureBusiness

(What if) Our events produce no waste (?)

Learn more about the changes underway at Lardner Park, as their leadership team continues to enhance the venue - establishing it as a beacon of sustainability in the regional landscape.

Jan 6, 2023


Words: Scott Douglas

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Changing the status quo is never easy. It’s been 16 years since KeepCups came onto the scene and, let’s be honest, we still forget those suckers when we head out for our morning pick-me-up.

So when a team with a bold vision decides to change up the way things are done at a (much) larger scale, we believe they deserve the spotlight and attention.

Lardner Park is a mainstay for some of the biggest events in Gippsland: Farm World and the Garden & Home Expo draw tourists from all over eastern Victoria and the outer suburbs of Melbourne.

In a courageous move, after six successful decades, Lardner Park is rewriting its event playbook. Steering away from tradition, they're charting a new course towards a sustainable, regenerative and circular future with an ambitious goal in mind: net zero by 2035!

“This endeavour isn't just a strategic move; it's a statement of our dedication to a greener, more sustainable future.”

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This work is being guided by CEO Craig Debnam and the Lardner Park board and the senior team, along with the support of Matt Sykes and Abbie Freestone of Regen Projects and Rewild Agency.

How will this impact your next visit to a Lardner Park event? Well, actually not by much – you can turn up to Farm World and expect the same quality event you attended last year. But behind the scenes, a profound realignment of strategy, respect and purpose is taking place so that Lardner Park can become a beacon for hope and change, forging a path towards a net zero future and becoming a terrific example for this critical goal in Gippsland.

Craig Debnam, CEO of Lardner Park, explains, "At Lardner Park, we recognise the urgency and responsibility to lead by example in the journey towards sustainability. With approximately 200,000 visitors per annum, we believe we have a pivotal role in our community to educate, demonstrate andinnovate in this energy transition.

“Ambitiously moving our business to net zero by 2035 aligns seamlessly with our new Strategic Plan 2023–2028 priorities, reflecting our commitment to environmental stewardship. The concept for our Regional Community Precinct program centres on innovation and progress, specifically through the creation of a Renewables Demonstration Precinct. This endeavour isn't just a strategic move; it's a statement of our dedication to a greener, more sustainable future.

“By showcasing the potential of renewable energy sources, we aim not only to meet the needs of our community but also to inspire others to join us in the transition towards a more environmentally conscious way of conducting business. It's about setting a standard, fostering change and ensuring that Lardner Park remains a beacon of sustainability in the regional landscape."

As well as moving towards a net zero future by 2035, there are an array of other exciting initiatives occurring at Larder Park, including:

  • Becoming a renewable energy showcase hub with a floating solar demonstration on-site and rooftop and ground-mounted solar.
  • Showcasing other renewable technologies including future wind turbine installations, hydropower installations and a bio hub to process dairy effluent and biomass captured on-site into energy-hosting EV charging stations on-site.
  • Becoming a circular economy-centred waste management strategy, developed by Green Lab Futures.
  • Designing greater community collaboration that will support local social enterprise projects with Green Lab Futures and neighbouring schools like Larder and District Primary School and Drouin West Primary School.
  • Embracing regenerative principles towards land management as a point of reference for what Gippsland can achieve when we set our mind to it.
  • Embracing a more sustainable future is a bold vision, but the team at Lardner Park are well and truly on track in shaping this new approach.

Make 2024 the year that you re-visit Lardner Park and glimpse the innovative and optimistic changes occuring at the venue – the future is on show in our own backyard.

To learn more about Lardner Park, please visit lardnerpark.com.au.

Gippslandia - Issue No. 29

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