Tassie Success with EcoSmartBiz

by Cameron Neil

The EcoSmartBiz program has helped Launceston businesses save money and reduce their environmental footprint. It has also changed minds around the value of building sustainability into everyday business operations. The program, built on the success of the 2007 EcoSmartBiz program, ran throughout 2010 and 2011. Net Balance worked with partners NRM North, the Launceston City Council, EPA Tasmania and the Launceston Chamber of Commerce to deliver the program. The program assisted a number of small to medium sized enterprises in Launceston to reduce the use of resources in their everyday operations.

Education, retrofittng of devices and shifts in behaviour all helped to achieve efficient use of energy, water as well as reducing waste sent to landfill. The businesses that participated in the latest round of EcoSmartBiz saved an average of over $1,000 per annum on electricity. In total the program saved Launceston businesses almost $10,000. This is a great result given the tough economic conditions for retailers and small businesses in Launceston. The program also saved almost 15tCO2-e of greenhouse gas emissions. These results demonstrate that participating in the program was not only good for the environment, it was also good for the bottom line.

And this is just the beginning. The cumulative impacts of the program will over time add up to further costs savings and continued reduction in environmental impact. With energy prices predicted to increase substantially over the short and medium term, neutralising price increases was an important result of the program. This is a clear demonstration that looking at resource efficiency not only helps the environment. It also makes good business sense.

This program is a great example of the Net Balance team working at the grass roots level on environmental behaviour change initiatives. It was a great experience working with each of the businesses in Launceston. These included Atrium Café, Fuji Xerox Business Centre, Harcourts Real Estate, Mojo Music, Neil Pitts, Philcam, Route 66 and Stompin. We would like to thank the participants and the project partners who helped us to make the program a success. A great deal was learnt by us about the challenges that small businesses face in everyday business. These challenges are not unlike our own. At the end of the program it was great to see that our eff orts helped each business realise real cost savings and measurable environmental outcomes.

What a great success story.

Cameron Neil is a Senior Associate of Net Balance (cameron@netbalance.com), 
one of the world’s leading sustainability advisory firms.
Cameron is based in Melbourne.