Whitehorse City Council

Sustainable Ambassador Program

The Whitehorse Sustainable Ambassadors program provides training and skills to community members to increase the take-up of sustainable practices in the community. It integrates competency-based training by Swinburne University’s National Centre for Sustainability with a proven sustainable behaviour change program. In completing the ‘train-the-trainer’ program, ambassadors mentor other community members to make measurable sustainable behavior changes by taking part in sustainable projects.

The program has trained four groups of ambassadors, with 70 ambassadors involved and 36 different projects completed. The third phase of the program tackled cultural diversity by engaging with the local Chinese-speaking community. The fourth phase of Council's Sustainable Ambassadors program was offered to international students from Deakin University. As part of the program, ambassadors learnt how to save water, conserve energy and reduce waste through educational workshops and by implementing a sustainability project in their area of interest.

Projects completed by the ambassadors to date aimed to influence community groups, workplaces, community organisations, neighbourhood houses, schools and tertiary institutions, local businesses, local neighbourhoods, a retirement village, Buddhist temples, a multicultural centre and residential households.

More than 1300 people in the Whitehorse community were engaged through these projects involving sustainable living principles such as energy, water, recycling and waste efficiencies; gardening; bartering and exchange programs; ‘green’ cleaning; and healthy lifestyle activities. The benefit of residents delivering these projects to the community and amongst their peers is considered powerful and effective – a true example of ‘From little things, big things grow’.

Sustainable Ambassadors have the opportunity to learn new skills so they can:

  • Influence change towards greater eco-friendly living
  • Lead sustainable activities in the community
  • Mentor others to become more sustainable
  • Help to make a difference and lighten their footprint.

Sustainable Ambassadors commit to:

  • Showing a commitment to sustainability and a desire to mentor others
  • Discuss what drives people to change their behaviour
  • Learn how to accelerate this change
  • Participating in a series of workshops structured around themes of sustainable living at home, work and play
  • Completing a small, hands-on project in the community to demonstrate their ability to influence others.

Whitehorse’s Sustainable Ambassadors Program was recently recognised for its efforts in guiding and encouraging people to lead more sustainable lifestyles with Whitehorse City Council receiving the Premier’s Sustainability Award for Local Government for 2011.

For more information please contact Council’s Sustainability Unit by calling 9262 6333.