Ku-ring-gai & Willoughby City Council LGA: Sustainability is easy in the Better Business Partnership

01 September 2010

The North Shore is set to be even greener. More than seventy small businesses across the North Shore have taken part in the successful pilot of the Better Business Partnership and now the project is inviting other businesses to join.

The Better Business Partnership (BBP) is an exciting new project run in partnership between Ku-ring-gai, North Sydney and Willoughby City Councils and is assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust and Sydney Water’s Every Drop Counts Business Program

The BBP offers small to medium sized business owners tailored assistance to improve the sustainability performance of their business to save money, increase profits and reduce their impacts on the environment.

The program has already helped more than 50 businesses undergo a professional energy assessment, identifying savings of more than $100,000 each year, or an average of $1,716 per business each year on energy bills alone. The participating businesses have seen the benefit of preparing for increasing energy and water bills and taking advantage of government rebates available for implementing energy efficiency measures.

Importantly, saving energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The energy saving actions implemented by the businesses have the potential to reduce their carbon footprint by more than 20 per cent which equates to an estimated 571 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, or approximately 132 cars off the road for a year.

“The Better Business Partnership is an incredibly valuable regional project that is individually tailored to suit the varied small and medium sized businesses in our region. I encourage our local business owners to participate in the program to help them reduce their environmental impacts, save money and promote themselves as sustainable businesses to their customers,” said Willoughby Mayor, Pat Reilly.   

West Pymble Shopping Centre has embraced the program with 17 of their 22 businesses participating in the pilot program. The West Pymble Chamber of Commerce is keen for the centre to become more sustainable and is eager for businesses to incorporate efficient technology with a good return on investment. The Chamber also recognises the opportunity to raise the profile of the centre while making their businesses more resilient to electricity price rises.  

Banarra, a sustainability consultancy in Gordon, were keen to “walk the talk and have implemented most of the action plan recommendations from behavioural to spending capital”.  According to Richard Boele, the Managing Director, “we are renting and didn’t get financial support from our landlord to implement the suggested actions, but went ahead. The capital costs are relatively modest compared to the energy savings we expect to make and with our new lighting, the amenity of the office has improved significantly.”

Stuart Schipp of Artarmon Vision Specialists found working with his BBP Project Officer “made it so easy, saving us the time of running around trying to find solutions”. Stuart’s team has implemented simple behavioural changes, applied low cost efficiency options and has upgraded lighting. The business has the potential to save $1,396 per year in energy bills and will access a rebate covering up to 50 per cent of the installation costs. 

The pilot has been such a success, the project is now taking registrations for the second stage commencing in August 2010. Participating businesses are provided with a recognition sticker to display in their front window and badges are awarded when their actions are checked off by the Better Business Partnership team. Businesses in the community who are already implementing sustainable actions can also receive recognition for their prior achievements.

BBP is also seeking the support of the wider community and is encouraging shoppers to support participating businesses in three ways. The first is by looking out for the BBP recognition sticker on local business windows. Secondly they can check out the BBP partner business directory and map on the website which pinpoints participating businesses and their sustainable actions. Shoppers can also suggest a local business join the project.

Local businesses and shoppers who would like more information on the project should visit the BBP website at www.betterbusinesspartnership.com.au or phone the project team on 9777 7519. 

For media enquiries, to arrange an interview or photo please contact:
Rebecca Hill
Media and Marketing Group Manager
E: Rebecca.Hill@Willoughby.nsw.gov.au
P: 9777 7703
M: 0421 492 757

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