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  • Anneli Knight
    Smarter Writer

    Anneli Knight is a journalist, writer and academic with a background in law and finance. She lives in Byron Bay

    Anneli Knight
    Smarter Writer

    Anneli Knight is a journalist, writer and academic with a background in law and finance. She lives in Byron Bay

    It makes smart business sense to use less of the planet’s resources.

    Many business owners care about their use of resources and understand that efficiency will also save money - but sometimes you just don’t know where to start.

    Founder of Impact Sustainability, Hayley Morris, initially created software packages to help businesses understand, monitor and control their use of resources. This evolved into a consultancy arm to work with businesses to help them align their business goals with sustainable outcomes.

    “I really encourage businesses to look at who they are as a business and try and align sustainability with what they’re trying to do within the business,” says Hayley.

    hand with piles of coins and trees growing out of them
    Sustainability can be a point of difference as a key differentiator in the market.

    Hayley Morris, Impact Sustainability

    1. Use green energy

    Energy is now a big expense – doing research to find a supplier that is cheaper and greener, is a double bonus.

    Last year Greenpeace voted Powershop Australia the greenest energy company, offering Victorians energy that is up to 30 per cent cheaper than the major suppliers. The choice varies greatly from state-to-state so the proverbial ‘shop around’ holds true when it comes to energy providers in your area.

    And the most practical and simple advice is to switch off appliances when they are not in use. You should also keep the workplace window blinds open and consider installing timers or motion sensors that kick in at close of business.

    2. Buy second-hand

    Buying second-hand not only means you’re saving your business money, it also means less landfill.

    “Usually older stuff is better made and built to last. Nearly everything we need is available second-hand.”

    The internet has made it simple for sellers and buyers to connect, you can buy just about anything second-hand on eBay and Gumtree and there are websites such as 2nds World that are dedicated to whitegoods and electronics, with liquation auctions a great source for office and restaurant furniture.

    3. Maximise resources: Collaborative consumption

    The collaborative consumption movement is all about sharing resources that aren’t being used. It’s swept across the world because it makes so much sense: share things, spend less and connect with people in your community.

    “We don’t have a never ending supply of stuff, so let’s use it smarter. Under-utilised resources such as cars, office space and machinery can be rented out for extra cash.

    “I love the collaborative consumption movement for highlighting ‘stuff’ as resources that should be maximised. It also creates community connections and contributes to bank balances. Efficient use of resources is obviously better for our planet.”

    4. Reduce food waste

    Australians throw out about 20 per cent of the food they buy. Even if your business is not directly involved with food, most businesses have some indirect involvement, whether that’s through staff meals, events or client entertaining.

    “Anyone in catering, hospitality or providing staff meals is in a brilliant position to save money and help our earth. It’s not just about saving time and money. Food scraps don’t break down in landfill and produce gases 25 times more toxic than carbon from cars.

    “Shop to a list, buy what you need, use what you’ve got, compost what you can’t. Around 50 per cent of the average bin is food and organic matter that should go back to our earth, not to landfill.”

    “The CLO’ey composter can process up to four kilograms of food ‘waste’ in just 24 hours, reducing by up to 90 per cent the volume of what ends up in their bin.” Unlike most composters CLO’ey can process the majority of food wastes, even raw and cooked meat. They also make industrial composters.

    5. Make the most of your money

    Where your business puts its money can have an impact on the planet.

    “Do you ever wonder what banks do with your money? Some take it and invest in less than awesome stuff, stuff you probably wouldn’t want to support if you knew where your dollar was going.

    “You can vote for a healthier planet by stashing your cash with a bank that loves our planet and works to protect it.”

    There are also opportunities to invest in ethical funds and make choices about your business’s investments.

    Looking for more ways to help manage your finances?

    Check out our Easy Ways to Better Manage Small Business Cash Flow.

    Find out moreLooking for more ways to help manage your finances?

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