Helping SMEs Take Action Now for a Carbon Curbed Future
Reducing carbon emissions now, makes logical and economical sense, says Megan Stuart, VECCI Sustainability Services.
We know that energy prices will continue to soar, we also know that the Federal Government plans to introduce a carbon price. Those two things we can be sure of.
But there is still a lot of work to be done in defining the detail and modelling the likely impacts of a carbon price on business, especially small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). There are some concerns that small business has been left out of the discussion surrounding the introduction of a carbon tax thus far and ill informed decisions could widen the already considerable gap between small and large businesses.
Detail aside, we will live in a carbon restricted future and small businesses will need to adapt to this. Rather than wait for the facts to be ironed-out, if there’s ever a time for SMEs to start future proofing their business, the time is now. It is clear that cutting the carbon emissions from your business makes logical – and economical - sense.
Many Victorian SMEs are already leading the way in reducing their carbon footprint and increasing profitability at the same time. Typical businesses are pushing forward to achieve extraordinary sustainable outcomes. They are doing this through a range of simple but effective measures that other businesses can easily replicate.
For example, recent participants in the Grow Me The Money sustainability program have saved an average of almost $4,900 on water, gas and electricity bills over six months, and achieved a reduction of 44 tonnes of carbon emissions – the equivalent to taking 10 cars off the road each year, per business.
The 12 step online program helps SMEs reduce operating costs by identifying where they can use less resources, generate less waste, reduce carbon emissions and improve the bottom line. The initiative is a partnership between the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria.
Our research and insight shows that many businesses are conscious of their environmental footprint and eager to implement environmentally friendly practices but aren't sure where to begin.
But small businesses don’t need to ‘go it alone’. Employer bodies like VECCI exist to help lead business into the future. VECCI Sustainability Services, through its partnerships, has a range of programs designed to help SMEs succeed in a carbon curbed future, making sustainable action easy and profitable for their business.
We know there are keen sustainability advocates among the Victorian business sector. So the best way for SMEs to begin their path to sustainability is to nominate green ambassadors within the business to form a team, engage staff and drive action.
For example, Melbourne’s regional tourism organisation, Destination Melbourne, participated in the Grow Me The Money program with the aim to become 100% carbon neutral. They appointed a ‘Green Team’ within the business and sustainability is now included as an agenda item at team meetings and incorporated into all twelve of its employees’ Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Similarly, McManus Real Estate (now trading as PRDnationwide Lara) chose a small ‘Green Team’ amongst its twelve staff members that has been overseeing the introduction of energy and paper saving initiatives. The company demonstrated that even the smallest of changes can make a huge difference when you add them all up.
VECCI Sustainability Services also offers a resource called ‘What Can I Do Right Now?’ through Carbon Down, a partnership with Sustainability Victoria. The online resource provides a selection of quick, easy to implement and practical carbon reducing solutions for businesses that can be undertaken immediately.
When you know where to start, taking action can be easy.
July 2012 may seem like a long time away, but every day it gets closer, is another day that the carbon footprint of your business could be reduced – making your business more profitable and much less vulnerable to the potential impacts of a carbon price.
Details or no details - action is the answer.
For more information on the Grow Me The Money program, please visit: www.growmethemoney.com.au
For more information on What Can I Do Right Now? please visit: www.whatcanidorightnow.com.au