BETA Sustainability Commitment

Introduction

BETA is committed to sustainability. We aim to carry out all of our operations in a responsible way, with the goal of positively impacting the local community (people) while reducing our environmental footprint (planet). This commitment sets out what we are doing to take responsibility for our actions and acts as a framework for all stakeholders involved in BETA to adhere to.

Vision

The world has changed, and the role of retail needs to keep pace. BETA invites the public to participate in a series of live and ongoing experiments exploring the future of retail space outside traditional brick and mortar limits. Experiential and immersive, these unique and innovative events transcend expectations to reimagine a radically sustainable future, redefining luxury for a new generation.

Our Core Principles

Circular Design

Using materials and spaces that are already in circulation and deploying them in such a way that means they can continue to be reused well into the future.

  • We have found a home in an existing building (Hanover House) rather than creating one from the ground up, breathing new life into an underutilised site and reducing unnecessary construction.
  • SIBLING Architecture has created the fit-out using repurposed materials and objects within the building wherever possible, speculating on a future where retail spaces wholeheartedly embrace sustainability in innovative ways. The result is a chameleon conversion that allows for limitless layouts, minimising the use of raw materials and resources.
    • They are abiding by the “strip back, dismantle, reuse” mantra: strip back finishes; dismantle, retain and store on site; reuse whatever possible.
    • Key reuse materials: glass partitions from office cubicles and aluminium channels become walls of glass cubes in Atelier; fabric (from construction sites) suspended from ceiling grid as acoustic device salvaged from going to landfill; tiles removed from the ceiling and reused as seating and displays; existing services and lights retained (existing fluro lights upgraded); remaining furniture and journey retained (to be reused by artisans or events e.g. existing curtains used as block-out curtains).
  • The Future From Waste retail concept store on the Ground Floor allows the public to participate in the circular economy. Australian fashion designers will upcycle used clothing on site, repurposing pre-loved pieces into new garments available for sale.
Project Afterlife

Traditionally a project can be divided into five stages: design, production, construction, use, and end of life. At end of life, components more often than not end up in landfill. Project afterlife ensures components remain in circulation (through reuse, repair or refurbishment) so that, ideally, end of life is never reached.

  • Temporary projects provide an opportunity to experiment, including in processes of making (including with unmaking and dismantling, or subtractive processes). Temporary projects have smaller imprints, but they can still consume significant materials and energy. Considering what happens in their afterlife is the crux of SIBLING’s work for BETA. A major driver for this project was to avoid landfill where possible:
    • About a third of waste in Australia goes to landfill (the rest goes to recycling)
    • Almost half (44%) of waste worldwide comes from construction and demolition waste
  • In this project:
    • Volume of ceiling tiles = approximately (based on floor area) 1810 m2
    • Volume of carpet tiles = approximately (based on floor area) 1810 m2
    • Volume of glass partitions = 113 panels (frosted, clear); approximately 98 m2
    • SIBLING has created a taxonomy of furniture and sets that will be reused between floors not only for different events as part of the program, but for future BETA iterations at other venues/sites into the year 2022 and beyond, allowing for conscious consumption and reducing the need for ‘new’ items.
      • Key reuse materials: soft furnishings, moveable partitions, mobile furniture.
    • Any materials/items which cannot be reused will be responsibly donated or recycled rather than going to landfill.
      • Documentation for project afterlife outlines what finishes can be reused/recycled afterwards (e.g. upcycling old ceiling panels into new ones, dry walls can be recycled).
    • Any new items that enter the site will be evaluated on their afterlife credentials.
      • New items will be designed for reuse e.g. moveable joinery used across bar, counter, table, seating.
      • Appliances borrowed or purchased for re-use.
      • Working with creatives where possible for sustainable strategies e.g. seaweed-based bioplastic panels (biodegradable over time).
      • Wayfinding will focus on digital means (projected, digital screens) along with decals.
Low Impact Materials

Eco-friendly materials which require minimal carbon footprint to produce and do not negatively impact on non-renewable resources, the natural environment or human health.

  • Recycled, natural and low embodied energy materials have been used throughout BETA where possible.
  • Locally sourced materials have been used throughout BETA where possible to reduce the environmental impact of long-distance travel.
  • The building’s exterior mural, designed by artist Atong Atem, was created using Biosphere, an eco-friendly outdoor paint that actively absorbs carbon dioxide. Most acrylic paints and spray paints are hugely damaging to the environment; Biosphere is a natural, Ultra-Low VOC water based exterior paint system developed using a graphene nanotechnology polymer and high purity artisanal lime. As an ecological choice, just 45 litres of Biosphere will absorb over 14 kg of carbon dioxide, as much as a 250kg tree will absorb in 12 months.
  • The Atelier part of the program on Level 4 showcases the work of makers and creators who are pushing the limits of sustainable design. Throughout the duration of BETA, they will experiment onsite with low impact materials such as deadstock/recycled fabrics, bioplastics, algae and bacteria.
Green Energy

Electricity and natural gas that comes from renewable energy sources like hydro, wind, biomass and solar – instead of fossil fuels like coal or oil.

  • BETA is powered by 100% green energy through Powershop. Renewable energy is sourced from hydro-plants and wind farms in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
  • All energy use is 100% carbon offset (any potential carbon produced is offset by tree planting and other green initiatives around the world accredited by the UN).
Accessibility

The degree to which a product, device, service or environment is available to as many people as possible. Typical challenges to sustainability include its exclusivity and barriers to entry.

  • BETA features low cost and no cost events, opening up the program to a wider cross-section of society and welcoming people of all socio-economic backgrounds to participate.
  • We are committed to consciously selecting venue locations that are near public transport, cycling routes and car share options.
  • BETA is wheelchair accessible. There is a wheelchair access ramp at the entry of the Hanover House building, wheelchair accessible lifts within the building and wheelchair accessible bathrooms. We invite anyone with accessibility requirements to book a free companion ticket to any BETA event, so that they can be assisted by a friend or carer throughout their time in the building.
  • We have digitised a number of events on the program, such as The Podium Design Competition, to enable access for those unable to attend in-person.
Community-Minded

Seeking to positively impact the social and economic health of the community (residents, workers and visitors alike).

  • BETA’s aim is to positively contribute to Melbourne in a positive and purposeful way by effecting change, providing inspiration and innovation, bringing different members of the community together, building meaningful spaces where wonder happens, and embracing opportunities to solve civic problems.
  • BETA revolves around a community of like-minded people who share a vision of a more sustainable future.
  • We have partnered with local cultural institutions (such as Craft Victoria) to add to the rich fabric of the Melbourne experience.
  • BETA supports the wider transformation of the Arts Precinct and creates an important link between the residential and creative communities of Southbank.
  • The building’s exterior mural, designed by artist Atong Atem, helps to beautify the Southbank neighbourhood and acts as a public artwork.
Inclusion & Diversity

Inclusion refers to the behaviours and social norms that ensure all individuals feel welcome and integrated. Diversity refers to the characteristics that make us unique.

  • BETA is made up of a large array of stakeholders (internal and external) who have diverse skills, values, beliefs, backgrounds and experiences. We greatly value the organisational strength and innumerable opportunities for innovation that this brings.
  • We have a workplace culture that celebrates individualism and ensures all people involved in BETA feel accepted, understood and respected.
  • We have a zero-tolerance attitude towards any kind of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, religious values, political beliefs, age or otherwise.
  • We work with suppliers who share these values and who positively contribute to increasing the diversity of our workforce.
  • We want BETA’s audience and attendees to feel represented in the talent and collaborators involved in the program. We have endeavoured to curate a wide range of talent and collaborators to ensure there is adequate balance in representation of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, religious values, political beliefs, age and other characteristics.
Programming

The planning and curation of scheduled events and activities with respect to an overall theme and the audience’s experience.

  • We are committed to promoting sustainability through the event program itself. The programming is themed around the future of retail and exploring alternative/sustainable new business models by looking beyond retail’s current boundaries to offer solutions to environmental, ecological and ethical issues.
    • The Atelier part of the program on Level 4 showcases the work of makers and creators who are pushing the limits of sustainable design. The artisans involved were selected on the basis of their sustainability credentials, specifically in regard to their use of sustainable materials such as deadstock/recycled fabrics, bioplastics, algae and even bacteria.
    • The Future From Waste retail concept store on the Ground Floor allows the public to participate in the circular economy. Australian fashion designers will upcycle used clothing on site, repurposing pre-loved pieces into new garments available for sale. The designers involved are considered to be leaders in sustainable fashion/design (e.g. KITX).
    • The Higher Order immersive dining experience on Level 5 poses the question:
      • do we need expensive fit-out and long-term leases?
      • Could the retail spaces of the future instead feature dining destinations in open spaces that rotate, morph and adapt to keep up with our changing tastes and culinary trends?
    • The Podium Design competition on Level 4 and online invites the world’s leading architecture firms to submit a proposal for a visionary, futuristic retail environment with sustainability embedded at every touchpoint. The winning proposal will be brought to life in the eventual STH BNK development.
Sustainable Business Models

A business model that delivers value for its stakeholders and customers by integrating social, environmental, and business activities that do not deplete any of the resources it relies on.

  • BETA explores future retail space, programming and business models that are based on shared risk. Traditional rental landlord/tenant models centred around occupancy costs are called into question as part of the programming.
Values-Aligned Partners

Choosing to engage in relationships with external stakeholders, collaborators and commercial partners who share the same scruples and standards.

  • We individually assess all external stakeholders, collaborators and commercial partners based on their own sustainability credentials to ensure there is a mutual alignment and that their ethics reflect our own.
Responsible Waste Management
  • Following best practice to prevent harmful environmental or health effects in regard to managing waste from inception to final disposal. Incorrect disposal of waste can contribute to landfill and result in the production of greenhouse gases and release of pollutants into soils and waterways.
  • Implementation of a waste management plan outlining issues associated with the creation and disposal of all waste products
  • Correct bin infrastructure, including recycling bins at convenient locations, clearly labelled and all staff trained in their correct usage
  • We have minimised the use of paper across BETA wherever possible:
    • Digital tickets for all events
    • QR codes instead of information packs for attendees
    • No physical marketing collateral such as brochures or booklets
    • Digital production schedules and call sheets for all talent and suppliers
Fair Operating Practices
  • Adhering to ethical conduct in all dealings with suppliers, contractors, partners, customers, competitors, governments and business associations.
    BETA fosters relationships that reflect high standards of ethical business behaviours and fair operating practices. This includes but is not limited to respect of payment terms, fair contractual terms, and access to business opportunities for SMEs.

OUR LONG TERM GOALS

  • 2023: Certified B Corp. We want to gain certification as a B Corp by 2023. The only global certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance, B Corp validates businesses who meet the highest impact standards. Key benefits of becoming a B Corp include gaining further legitimacy in the sustainability space; contributing to our hiring culture to attract and retain the best talent; and helping us to embed processes and policies into our operations as we scale up. This will be done through thorough post-analysis of BETA 2021 followed by allocating sufficient internal resources to the application process.
  • 2025: carbon neutral. We want to be seen as a pioneer of sustainability in our category by decarbonising BETA’s activities by 2025. This will be done through measuring and monitoring our carbon emissions; creating and implementing a strategy to reduce carbon emissions; and offsetting additional carbon emissions so that the net emissions of our business activities are zero.
Beulah Foundation

The Beulah Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Beulah International (the property developer in which BETA sits under). It exists to nurture the interplay between arts and social issues to build healthier and happier communities.

  • The founders of Beulah International, Adelene Teh and Jiaheng Chan, have a bold vision to extend their current focus on property development to providing transformative living experiences for their clients and the community.
  • The Beulah Foundation provides funding opportunities for placemaking initiatives that improve local communities.