David Risstrom - Greens Melbourne City Councillor 1999-2004
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ACHIEVEMENT: A large proportion of businesses in the City of Melbourne have taken steps to Green their businesses.

TARGET DATE: July 2004. PROGRESS: Ongoing.

DESCRIPTION: Since my election in 1999, the City of Melbourne has adopted and run strongly with the sustainability theme. Given the closeness of Melbourne City Council to business interests, this has resulted in a significant effort being put into the greening of business in Melbourne. The information below, taken from the City of Melbourne website on 8 March 2004 demonstrates how much progress has been made, and how easy it is to being Greening your business if you have not done so already.


Why Sustainability Makes Good Business Sense

Consumer demand for environmentally-sensitive products and ecologically-responsible processes is increasing. This change in community attitude and shareholder expectation towards a demand of far greater social and environmental accountability is in turn changing the way organisations conduct their business.

Businesses with responsible environmental management practices are well positioned to succeed in the new market place, through increased customer satisfaction and patronage. Simple sustainability measures, such as improvements in energy efficiency or higher use of recycle materials and reduced waste, can deliver significant financial benefits that ultimately enhance the financial, environmental and social bottom lines.

How to Improve Sustainability in Your Business

There are many tangible processes that your business can work through to improve your Triple Bottom Line. Some of the ways of tackling sustainability will overlap, so not all may be necessary but examples include:

* Produce an environmental and/or social policy, and make it publicly available. This can be a plan of action of how your organisation is working towards sustainability and ensures everyone is striving towards the same goal in the most productive way. The Body Shop for example produces an environmental policy that is available online on their website.
* Have an Environmental Management System (EMS), and have this certified by an accredited organisation. An EMS works through all parts of your organisation to see how you can improve your environmental management in simple, cost-effective ways. The internationally-recognised EMS is ISO 14001 and must be certified by an accredited organisation such as NATA Certification Services International (NCSI) or Standards Australia. In implementing an EMS to an ISO 14001 framework, there are significant opportunities to reduce production costs, benefiting both the bottom line and environmental performance outcomes.  (More on ISO14001 can be found at the 100 Green Achievement $100m worth of City business is compliant with ISO 14000).
* Have a Waste Reduction Plan and become an accredited Waste-Wise business through EcoRecycle Victoria. Waste-Wise businesses sign up to perform a list of actions specified by EcoRecycle Victoria, which they must achieve to become accredited. These are simple measures that will reduce your resource consumption and waste to landfill. Employee satisfaction and environmental appreciation is improved, and consumer awareness is drawn to you achievements through your use of the Waste-Wise business logo and a listing on the EcoRecycle website, www.ecorecycle.vic.gov.au.
* Have an Energy Management System, and perform energy-saving retrofits. There are many simple measures that can save money and are easy to implement. These include expanding the temperature range before the air-conditioning switches on, or the banking of lighting on the one switch progressively away from the windows. It is also possible to hire a contractor to perform large-scale energy reduction works. More information like this can be found on the Sustainable Energy Authority Victoria website:
* Incorporate the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) into decision-making and reporting processes. Incorporating the TBL into decision-making processes means that environmental and social implications will always be taken into consideration before a decision is made. City of Melbourne, in conjunction with ICLEI, has done this, a TBL toolkit is available at www.iclei.org/anz/tbl/tbl.htm so organisations won't have to start from scratch to incorporate TBL into their decision making processes.
TBL reporting incorporates the TBL into reporting mechanisms such as annual reports to show the environmental and social implications of the organisation's activities and how different indicators will be monitored and improved in the following years. BP Australia for example produced a TBL report in November 2000, which is available on their website.
* Have a Green Procurement Policy. Buying products that are more sustainable than those you would normally purchase will often not cost anything more, and in many instances will last longer.  Procurement decisions should take into account the durability of products, as replacing more durable products less frequently will ultimately save money.
The City of Melbourne has a policy that procurers must buy the more sustainable option of equivalent product, wherever the quality is not adversely affected. The City of Melbourne has furthered this commitment to include products that cost less than 10% extra.

Melbourne Based Organisations to Help You Improve Your Sustainability

There are several organisations and programs based in Melbourne offering support and assistance to help you improve your environmental performance. These include:

Sustainable Energy Authority Victoria

The Sustainable Energy Authority (SEAV) is a Victorian Government agency established to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases, and support and facilitate the development and use of sustainable energy options to achieve environmental and economic benefits in Victoria.

It has lots of information to help businesses, big and small, improve their energy efficiency and become more sustainable. Some of the best resources available online include info sheets on energy smart lighting and energy management systems, the Green Office Guide, and all the latest energy efficiency news.

The Green Office Guide, for example, is designed to help you buy and use environmentally friendly office equipment. It provides background information and shows easily applicable measures to save energy, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and cut operational costs. These resources, including the comprehensive Green Office Guide, can be accessed via the SEAV website: www.seav.vic.gov.au

EcoRecycle Victoria

EcoRecycle Victoria was created to bring about significant changes in the way Victoria addresses resource recovery, recycling and waste management. The organisation helps Victorians to take a lead in responsible use of resources. EcoRecycle Victoria and its many partners help by stimulating community interest and action, assisting business to create sustainable futures, and transforming infrastructure and management systems in Victoria.

EcoRecycle Victoria is involved in a wide range of programs, including:

* Household waste reduction and recycling
* Market development for recycled materials
* Litter prevention and control
* Waste reduction in industry and commerce
* Public place and event recycling
* Organics recovery
* Resource recovery and waste management facilities
* Waste wise education
* Communications and information
* Performance measurement and data

Of most interest to Victorian businesses is the Waste-Wise Business program. Through this organisations can pledge to follow simple procedures and become waste wise. Once registered and accredited, your business will be able to use a variety of resources offered by EcoRecycle Victoria, including a resource kit and manuals. Your business is listed on the EcoRecycle Victoria website and is able to use the Waste-Wise logo on promotional materials. In addition, the steps taken will usually save money for the organisation and certainly help the environment.
Information on becoming a Waste-Wise business, and all other waste or recycling issues, can be found on the EcoRecycle website: www.ecorecycle.vic.gov.au.

Environment Protection Authority

The Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) was created under an Act of the Victorian Parliament in response to community concern about pollution.   The Authority maintains standards of environmental quality through works approvals, licences, inspections, pollution abatement notices and land use planning referrals

EPA is shifting the regulatory emphasis to target polluting industries more efficiently. New approaches to environmental management are being developed to increase the operational flexibility of industry without compromising environmental standards. This would allow industry to select the most cost-effective measures to manage its total waste output, without being constrained by detailed licence conditions.

On the EPA website there much information for businesses. EPA Victoria has encouraged industry to use cleaner production as an effective means of addressing its environmental impacts since 1988. Through partnerships with companies and associations, the program has demonstrated that participating companies can reduce their environmental impacts, improve efficiency and save money. The program has demonstrated that companies can achieve triple bottom line benefits from cleaner production. Case studies have been captured from this program, and these and other information about the EPA can be found on their website: www.epa.vic.gov.au

Melbourne - a great location for your sustainable business

The City of Melbourne encourages the clustering of sustainable business in the municipality. Building on our growing strengths in the environmental management industry, the Council is keen to develop Melbourne's reputation as a centre for sustainability in the Asia-Pacific region.

Melbourne is highly accessible by public transport and serviced by contestable renewable electricity including Green Power (www.greenpower.com.au). The city has a strong financial services sector with growing capabilities in triple bottom line reporting and environmental accounting.

We encourage new small businesses with innovative approaches to sustainable development to consider applying for a low-interest loan from the Sustainable Melbourne Fund, or a grant from the Small Business Development Fund (See the Green Achievement - $5 Million Sustainable Melbourne Fund) see Melbourne's approach to sustainability).

In addition to the growing sustainable business sector, the City of Melbourne is home to a cluster of world-class research institutions involved in the research, development and pioneering of sustainable technologies, such as at Melbourne University and RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of TAFE).



Information on how to green your business is available online, having been produced by the Ethical Business Network - Australia. The kit is an on-line kit to help small-to-medium sized businesses improve their economic and environmental performance by taking action in areas such as water use, energy use, waste minimisation and ethical investment and can be found on the Ethical Business Network website at http://news.ethicalbusiness.com.au/.

If you need money to green your business, try visiting the 100 Green Achievement - Financial Support for Environmentally Sustainable Business.


Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

This site is written, authorised and maintained by David Risstrom , 377 Little Bourke St. Melbourne, Australiaand had more than 1,003,082 visitors and 3,052,017 hits when updated on Sun 23 April 2017.