Why we Developed a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) | Ndevr Environmental
We are incredibly proud to announce and launch our first ‘Innovate’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). The process of developing our RAP was at times challenging and confronting, yet for all involved, the journey was rewarding. And we are only just beginning – implementing this plan is what really counts. Which is why we are excited to formally announce and begin that implementation journey now with the formal endorsement of our RAP by Reconciliation Australia.
A question we have been asked several times is why we developed a Reconciliation Action Plan.
The reason why Ndevr Environmental committed to a RAP is because we believe in the importance of an Australia that acknowledges the truth about our colonial past and looks optimistically to the future. Our company is focused on sustainability and human rights, and to practice what we preach, we have a small but serious role to play in supporting sustainable futures with First Nation Peoples and increasing respect for and understanding of their societies.
For us at Ndevr Environmental, this means building relationships with First Nations Peoples through supporting carbon economies on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands, traditional land management practices that protect environmental and cultural values and enabling employment opportunities for Traditional Owners. It also means guiding our clients understanding of their impacts, both positive and negative, on First Nations Peoples and ensuring their sustainability strategies include these issues.
Below we share a bit more about Reconciliation Australia and the function of a Reconciliation Action Plan. We also explain more about why we decided to do a RAP and why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships in our spheres of influence are key to our work and our contribution to reconciliation.
Who is Reconciliation Australia and what is a Reconciliation Action Plan? RAP
Reconciliation Australia was established in 2001 and is the lead body for reconciliation in Australia. Reconciliation Australia’s vision is for a just, equitable and reconciled Australia and their purpose is to inspire and enable all Australians to contribute to the reconciliation of the nation.
Reconciliation Action Plans – or RAPs – are one of the three program areas where Reconciliation Australia deliver services, resources, and advice to support reconciliation action within Australian businesses, schools, community groups, and government organisations.
RAPs help these entities embed the principles and purpose of reconciliation into their organisations and assist them to sustainably and strategically take meaningful action to advance reconciliation. The RAP Framework provides organisations with a structured approach to do this.
There are four RAP types – Reflect, Innovate, Stretch and Elevate – which allow organisations to continuously develop their reconciliation commitments as they are designed to suit an organisation at different stages of their reconciliation journey. We have embarked upon an Innovate RAP, and hope to someday move to a Stretch or Elevate.
All RAPs are based around the core pillars of relationships, respect, and opportunities and seek to engender tangible and substantive benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, increasing economic equity, and supporting First Nations self-determination.
What type of RAP do we have and why we decided to develop it?
Injustice and inequality continue to persist within Australia and disproportionately affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples. Ndevr Environmental as an organisation strives to be an agent for positive change for the earth and its people, and so we recognise that we have a responsibility and role to play in moving this country forward towards reconciliation.
We are a certified carbon neutral, B Corporation guiding organisations to be more sustainable and ethical. To truly practice what we preach, we must also do our part to address the inequalities and injustices around us. Developing our RAP is part of our responsibility while operating in Australia. It is our public commitment to do our part for reconciliation and to stand alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and make our voice helpful and heard.
Our first RAP is an Innovate RAP and represents this early stage of our reconciliation journey. Our Innovate RAP commitment will guide us to gain a deeper understanding of our sphere of influence and understand the best approach to move forward in our commitment to advance reconciliation. It will also encourage us to learn about the truth of our colonial past and the contribution we can make towards a more sustainable future with First Nations Peoples.
Our spheres of influence and the importance of Indigenous knowledge and collaboration in our work
Our spheres of influence begin with the most direct – the individuals in our team and our clients, and shift outward to organisations we work with, our communities and society in general. We are committed to doing our part to positively influence these spheres as we progress on our reconciliation journey, beginning with our direct points of influence and, over time, expanding out to society. As Karen Mundine CEO of Reconciliation Australia says “Using a business plan with strong, reportable targets, RAPs turn goodwill into action, embedding reconciliation into an organisation’s work and sphere of influence.”
Much of the work we do focuses on mitigating climate change and enables us to work directly with Aboriginal-owned clients such as Arnhem Land Fire Abatement NT and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned suppliers like the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation. These organisations specialise in carbon projects, advice, and services by supporting carbon farming projects led by Aboriginal rangers. These projects are a valuable way to not only engage Traditional Owners to bring their centuries of wisdom and knowledge to be part of the fight against climate change, but also to enable them to access the co-benefits of these projects to bring employment and funding into communities through the Emissions Reduction Fund’s Savanna fire management methods and buyers of carbon credits.
These corporations are shining examples in the field where we also excel – which is helping business transition to a sustainable future for the earth and its people by taking measurable action against climate change. Their work is a true inspiration to us, and we understand our reconciliation journey means not just consulting with these organisations but also enabling and actively supporting them to be part of decision-making processes and solutions through our wider spheres of influence.
The latest and perhaps most globally well regarded report on the state of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report also recognises the value of diverse forms of knowledge including Indigenous knowledge in understanding and evaluating climate adaptation processes and actions to reduce risks from human-induced climate change. “Indigenous, local, practitioner and other forms of knowledge, and are more effective and sustainable because they are locally appropriate and lead to more legitimate, relevant and effective actions.” IPCC.
We are excited to have taken this first official step in our journey towards reconciliation and we look forward to an authentic and committed journey to sustainably and strategically take meaningful action to advance reconciliation. We know, reconciliation – like solutions for our climate crisis – will only come when we all work together.
“Reconciliation is everyone’s business. It can be fostered in our homes, communities, schools, and workplaces. There are many different ways to contribute and start your reconciliation journey.”Reconciliation Australia
Artwork Credit: Yankirri Jukurrpa (Emu Dreaming) by Pauline Nampijinpa Singleton