For specific information on meeting your business obligations and for codes of practice, head to the Queensland Government's Business Queensland website. No-cost programs are available to improve your energy, water and waste efficiency, such as EcoBiz and City Switch.
There are a range of sustainability accreditation programs which can assist in reducing your business impacts and build trust in your brand. This can help your business's practices stand out, as more companies and governments put sustainability procurement policies in place to guide their selection of goods and services.
However with their growing popularity, many accreditation programs have been created which are not necessarily robust or widely respected. It is important to:
- Determine which certifications are widely recognised in your industry.
- Research programs and contact participating businesses for their experience.
- Clarify the cost of certification over time.
In general, accreditation standards can provide a meaningful framework for your business and auditing can support continuous improvement. However, there must be an enduring commitment in your business to drive it consistently for brand integrity in a world of green washing - not to mention a smaller regional city.
Skilled sustainability consultants are based in the Cairns region and their expertise can be an asset to your business. These services might include:
- Developing a Sustainability Strategy: for sustainability standards and evidenced based goals that are prioritised and particular to your business.
- Energy Management: energy and emissions monitoring, demand management, identifying priority efficiency and renewable energy investment opportunities, engineering services and advice.
- Waste & Recycling: identifying waste reduction opportunities for a business's material inputs and disposal volumes to refine contract costs.
Before hiring a consultant, ensure your business is ready to prioritise sustainability action. Weigh up the life of your investment in terms of the savings potential but also inquire about any on-going services, such as software subscriptions which may lock you in. Establish whether you need a neutral facilitator, one off expert advice, a project lead or a project participant.
It is recommended to seek someone who has technical expertise in the specific area, to check their references and past projects. Your brief should be designed carefully, be clear on deliverables and sure to help build your business's sustainability capacity, to maintain momentum once they're gone. Finally, evaluate the consultant’s performance against your brief.
'Doing well, by doing good' is not just about avoiding social, environmental and economic harm, it involves building on your business purpose to foster sustainable development. Defining this mission in your business can help to address sustainability challenges - opening up new business opportunities. Here are some simple ways to start:
- Workplace Giving: Can your business be a force for good in your local community? Consider establishing a work place giving program for a cause aligned to your business. Businesses can make regular donations to match or raise the donations of staff, with tax deductible benefits. Find out more from the Australian Tax Office.
- Tell Your Story: Striving for business sustainability takes leadership and should be celebrated. Seek out networking events to form new partnerships, continue learning to unlock new savings opportunities or consider giving a presentation to showcase your business. Ensure new and existing customers are aware of the changes in your business through promotional channels such as social media.
A no-cost service which supports commercial office tenants to improve energy and waste efficiency and reduce operational costs. City Switch has various resources ranging from staff engagement tool kits to sustainable procurement, guides to purchasing renewable energy and off-setting carbon.
A fully subsidized program featuring online management tools, webinars and coaching to save on energy, water and waste. EcoBiz is delivered by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland and is funded by the Queensland Government.