Region launches bid for sustainable firms

Hamish Heard
Victoria’s biggest program promoting environmentally sustainable business practices has launched in Geelong.
Sustainable Business Management brings together stakeholders including City of Greater Geelong, Barwon Water, G21 alliance of regional councils, Sustainability Victoria, Village Green Environmental Solutions and 80 local businesses.
Participating organisations have begun a series of audits, workshops and training to help them identify and improve their environmental impacts while reducing operating costs.
City environment and waste management portfolio holder Cr Tom O’Connor said the program focused on issues associated with waste, water, energy, chemical use and transport.
Cr O’Connor said environmental sustainability should be as big a priority for businesses as it was for the wider community.
“Not only are there obvious environmental benefits associated with adopting sustainable business practices, small firms have the potential to make cost savings as well,” Cr O’Connor said.
“Reducing waste and better managing resources makes a business greener and more profitable.”
The program officially launched last week in front of businesses from throughout the region.
With specific objectives for participating businesses including a 20 per cent reduction in water consumption, a 10 per cent cut in landfill, reduction in energy use of eight per cent and a cost saving to the businesses of $500 a year, organisers have set lofty goals for the program.
Village Green Environmental Solutions will use auditing and reporting software to record appliance usage and track energy consumption among participants.
The software will be used at the beginning of the program to generate recommendations to reduce energy and water use as well as waste.
A series of workshops will then help businesses implement recommendations.
The program’s effectiveness in reducing environmental impact and business operating costs will be measured using the results of a final audit.