Carrollanne O’Brien – Eco-Hero Profile

Meet our Eco-Hero of the month – Carrollanne O’Brien who works as an Executive Assistant to the Congregational Leadership Team for the Sisters of Saint Joseph in North Sydney.

Carrollanne’s passion for environmental advocacy impacts both her professional and personal life. Working for the Sisters, she is encouraged and supported to seek out environmentally friendly office supplies, catering, and hospitality goods.

“I see myself as an eco-aware consumer with an ambition to make a positive impact by putting sustainable systems in place at work,” says Carrollanne. “If what I do can inspire others to make changes along the way then that makes me happy – it all helps reduce our collective carbon footprint.”

Some environmentally sustainable systems put in place at the Congregation under Carrollanne’s resourcefulness include compostable garbage bags made of corn to eliminate contribution to landfill; under-sink filtration water systems installed to negate water coolers and its plastic cups; and staff are encouraged to fill reusable bottles so that single-use water bottles are purchased minimally.

Carrollanne is also incisive about industry-scale consumption from sustainable brands: toilet paper, tissues and paper towels are made from renewable materials and purchased from Who Gives A Crap. These products are certified to the highest standard for environmental impact and Who Gives a Crap also donate half of their profits to global sanitation projects.

For work hospitality functions, wine is purchased from the brand Tread Softly, which plants native trees for every six bottles bought and incorporates sustainable practices in their production and manufacturing.

Staff gifts encourage daily implementation of ecological sustainability: reusable canvas bags for shopping, personalised insulated drink bottles and coffee cups, and stationery, to name a few.

Carrollanne’s environmental advocacy continues at home. As a wife and mother of two daughters, she upholds the same sustainable standard for her family: using beeswax wraps instead of cling wrap to cover food and eliminate the use of soft plastics, purchasing refillable shampoos, conditioners and washing liquid from another sustainable company Zero Co, and shopping at outlets.

“If a mere 1% of the Australian population stopped buying single-use bottles this would equate to 65 million bottles not going into landfill or the ocean every year,” says Carrollanne.

Carrollanne is as compassionate as she is resolute in her initiatives. She says to younger generations: “learn to love and care for Earth, our common home. It’s harder to harm something that you love”.

For more information about the Sisters of Saint Joseph’s commitment to the environment and sustainable living, visit their Laudato Si’ Action Plan.