The Great Lakes Sustainable Business Program has helped a group of committed local business owners achieve real cost savings and also improve their marketability as a "green" business.
It's a fact that the natural environment of the Great Lakes region plays a big part in how local businesses operate and present themselves.
Obviously two of the region's major industries, tourism and oyster production are totally intertwined with the local environment. Beyond this, a survey of local businesses showed that 86% of them used the Great Lakes environment to either promote or operate the business. A similar percentage believed that their business would suffer if the environment was to decline.
It's clear that local businesses benefit from having a clean and healthy environment so protecting the local natural environment is a way of mutually improving and maintaining environmental and business health. Because of that, Council has been working on the Sustainable Small Business Program. The program worked with local businesses to help them address their needs, and also to communicate the message to their customers.
The Sustainable Small Business Program operates as a network of businesses that are pursuing business and environmental sustainability. The network has received energy, water and waste assessments, workshops on resource efficiency, and one on one support.
The aim was initially to achieve a 10% reduction in energy, water and waste, and to assist with the development of educational resources for the local community and tourists.
Over a 2 year period however, the businesses had achieved a fantastic 23% reduction in energy use. This saved 130 tonnes of carbon dioxide - approximately $46,000 in savings. They also achieved a staggering 19% reduction in water use. This is almost two Olympic sized swimming pools, and almost $11,000 in savings.
Case Study Videos are available to view on the dedicated YouTube Channel - you can view it here.
How to Get Involved
If you are interested in joining this network of sustainable business partners simply get in touch with The Sustainability Officer at Great Lakes Council.
We have produced a magazine specifically for the Sustainable Business programme. You can download it by clicking below:
Another way to get involved is to follow the Great Lakes Sustainable Business Facebook page.