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Let’s Talk: Sustainability as a customer magnet


Businesses are increasingly recognising the importance of sustainability initiatives not only for environmental stewardship but also for enhancing brand reputation and attracting customers. 

From eco-friendly practices to social responsibility commitments, implementing sustainability measures can have far-reaching benefits that resonate with consumers and stakeholders alike.  

Let’s explore some key sustainability initiatives that can positively impact your brand reputation and draw in discerning customers seeking ethical and environmentally conscious products and services, in this week’s edition of Let’s Talk.

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Kate Dundas, Executive Director at UN Global Compact Network Australia

Kate Dundas, Executive Director at UN Global Compact Network Australia

“Aligning your brand with meaningful sustainability efforts, will not only contribute to a healthier planet but also build a positive brand image that resonates with customers, and increasingly will be expected by them.

“Many small to medium-sized organisations do not know where to start. ‘UN Global Compact Network Australia (UNGCNA) is the Australian local network of the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative designed to help organisations navigate this journey alongside other, like-minded organisations seeking to help make a bigger difference.

“The UN Global Compact Forward Faster initiative is designed to help companies accelerate action, by making commitments in one of five key areas of action selected because they all have the power to accelerate progress towards the SDGs. This initiative can help organisations step up their impact, and communicate with stakeholders about the actions the company is taking to be more resilient while building a resilient society and planet.”

Janet Menzies, Country Manager Australia at Amazon

Janet Menzies, Country Manager Australia at Amazon

“We know our customers want right-sized, recyclable packaging that minimises waste and ensures damage-free delivery. Ultimately, the most sustainable form of packaging is no packaging at all, that’s why we started the “Ships in Product Packaging” program, which are products that ship without any additional Amazon packaging. The program qualifies products that have been thoroughly tested to ship in their original packaging, without any added Amazon packaging. One way we do this is by working with manufacturers to design packaging that’s capable of shipping safely, without additional paper bags, envelopes, or boxes from us. Our research found that more than half of online shoppers in Australia indicated they would be happy for the items they order to arrive without added delivery packaging because they think it’s better for the planet. We’ve shipped more than triple the number of orders to customers with no added delivery packaging in Australia since 2021 and are working to ship even more deliveries the same way. Where packaging is necessary, we use machine learning algorithms to help make smart packaging choices for customers, so that the packaging fits well, uses as little material as possible, and protects customers’ orders.”

Terry Maiolo, Vice President-General Manager, Asia Pacific at OVHcloud

Terry Maiolo, Vice President-General Manager, Asia Pacific at OVHcloud

“The emergence and growth of new cloud technology is at the forefront of the digitalisation of businesses’ day-to-day activities. However, for some, the increased demand for higher computing power and data storage may unintentionally leave sustainability and environmental goals in the wind.

“Maintaining a balance between sustainability and digitalisation will be crucial for businesses looking to embrace new technologies, yet simultaneously adhering to supplier sustainability policies of their customers. Business leaders could begin by assessing the carbon footprint of their technology infrastructure and explore more sustainable options available in the market.

“At OVHcoud, for example, we have been implementing our proprietary water cooling technology to cool our data centres at scale for more than 20 years, optimising the use of energy of our servers and reducing the environmental impact. We also offer carbon calculators for our customers to manage, reduce or offset their energy consumption, providing greater transparency and also encouraging more responsible IT usage across the industry.

“By prioritising the environmental impact of cloud and internet-based services and communicating sustainability related decisions transparently, Australian businesses can build trust with customers and meet their business goals at the same time.”

Ray Pastoors, Founder at True Green® Hosting

Ray Pastoors, Founder at True Green® Hosting

“The unseen carbon footprint of your website presence

“Your business relies on being digital and online. And yet, we can’t see the impact this has on the environment and our planet.

“The average small business website contributes more than 211kg of C02, the equivalent of over 14,000 smartphones being charged.

“Every time someone opens up an email or loads a page, we can add to our footprint. In this episode, Ray Pastoors shares how you can reduce your energy use and footprint for a greener web.

“A few practical and easy ways for you to make a difference, and learn about the key factors that make up the dirty web.”

Amber Daines, Founder and Chief Communicator at Bespoke Co.

Amber Daines, Founder and Chief Communicator at Bespoke Co.

“Implementing these 4 sustainability initiatives can have a positive impact on your brand reputation, attract environmentally conscious customers, staff and investors, and secure a greener, cleaner future.  These include:

Community Engagement: Engage with local communities through philanthropic initiatives or volunteer programs. Supporting local causes and giving back to the community can enhance your brand’s reputation and foster ongoing and localised goodwill among customers.

Transparency and Communication: Be transparent about your sustainability initiatives and progress. Provide clear information to customers about your environmental practices, goals, and achievements. Transparency builds trust and helps customers make informed purchasing decisions.

Educational Campaigns: Raise awareness about environmental issues and encourage more sustainable behaviours among your customers. This could involve educational campaigns, workshops, or partnerships with environmental groups who are known for eco-conscious processes.

Credible Certifications and Standards: Obtain certifications or adhere to industry standards that validate your commitment to sustainability, such as Fair Trade, Organic, or B Corp certification. These credentials provide third-party verification of your environmental and social responsibility efforts.”

Erandhi Mendis, Social Impact Leader ANZ at Kyndryl

Erandhi Mendis, Social Impact Leader ANZ at Kyndryl

“Sustainability is increasingly on the agenda for organisations, particularly with mandatory ESG reporting for many Australian organisations coming into effect from 1 July this year.

“According to research commissioned by Kyndryl and Microsoft, while 85% of organisations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have actually integrated sustainability into their business strategy. A good place to start for organisations when thinking about how to reduce their carbon footprint is to understand what technology they have in place underpinning their operations. Modernising IT systems and moving away from dated, legacy infrastructure is critical for decarbonisation, and will set organisations up to be more sustainable in the long run while also allowing them to run their business more efficiently, meet compliance requirements, and better satisfy their customers.

“Measurement is often an afterthought in this area, but implementing the right tools can be hugely beneficial to track and report on all facets of sustainability such as emissions and supply chains. Using an open integration platform that can track data from across your entire IT estate will enable you to understand the impact of your sustainability efforts, avoid ‘greenwashing,’ and communicate transparently with key stakeholders including customers.”

Jessica Dwyer, CEO at Tasman Environmental Markets (TEM)

Jessica Dwyer, CEO at Tasman Environmental Markets (TEM)

“With the impacts of global warming ever increasing, more and more customers, employees and shareholders are choosing to invest their time and money with companies that share their environmental values and have strong sustainability strategies. As part of companies’ broader decarbonisation plans, one-way organisations can improve their sustainability outcomes now is via financing high-quality carbon offsetting projects, for example via the TEM Online carbon credits marketplace for small to medium sized businesses.

“Carbon projects not only avoid or remove greenhouse gas emissions; they also offer a range of other additional benefits including positive economic, social, health and community impacts. This is a positive climate story for companies to share, demonstrating their meaningful contributions to both people and the planet.

“To ensure companies positively impact their brand when telling these stories and not accidentally greenwash, it’s important to ensure they only invest in high-quality carbon credits and when it comes to communicating, be clear and not exaggerate sustainability claims, following the ACCC’s Making Environmental Claims guide.

“Companies that effectively implement these strategies can emerge as sustainable leaders within their respective industries. This enhances their brand reputation and draws in customers who align with their commitment to sustainability.”

Ana O, Co-Founder at Land Insights

Ana O, Co-Founder at Land Insights

“As an environmentally conscious company, we prioritise minimising our impact on the environment and participate in sustainability initiatives that not only benefit our business but also contribute positively to the world around us. Transparency plays a crucial role in this approach as transparency demonstrates a commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen and aligns with the values of environmentally conscious consumers. It allows a company to engage with their audience on a deeper level, and enhance a brand’s reputation as a leader in sustainable business practices. These values and initiatives, not only attract customers who share environmental concerns but also inspire others to join in the mission to create a more sustainable future.”

Daniel Hein, Chief Architect, Asia Pacific and Japan at Informatica

Daniel Hein, Chief Architect, Asia Pacific and Japan at Informatica

“Embracing sustainable practices is no longer optional for businesses with many jurisdictions around the world introducing ESG reporting mandates. Acting responsibly and sustainably has become essential for establishing a good reputation, attracting, and retaining customers and investors whilst adhering to new rules and regulations.

“At the core of accurate and timely ESG reporting is well-managed data that is trusted and of high quality. As a strategic initiative, businesses need to consider turning to AI-powered, cloud-native data management to help them handle the immense volume and variety of data required to comply with these mandates. Doing so will also help them gain the insights and agility they need to drive better business outcomes. Without a framework that can automatically integrate, consolidate, verify, and govern ESG data from various sources, complying with ESG mandates can be a costly business exercise, especially from a time and resourcing perspective.”

Lara (Vandersluis) Barnett, Head of Marketing at Logicalis Australia

Lara (Vandersluis) Barnett, Head of Marketing at Logicalis Australia

“Brand reputation has an enormous impact on an organisation’s success. However, for sustainability practices to positively impact brand reputation, they first need to be genuinely integrated into your business. For example, making a commitment to improve your environmental performance to contribute to a cleaner, healthier planet.

“It is then essential to effectively communicate your industry-leading approach so customers trust they are partnering with an environmentally responsible business.

“For example, the Australian marketing team recently won the global Logicalis ‘Sustainability in Action’ award for implementing a program that upholds our sustainability principles. The initiatives that helped win this award involved transforming our marketing events program, including:

planting a tree for every attendee badge we scan at our tradeshow events (we’ve planted a small forest of over 800 trees thus far)

sourcing sustainable merchandise, unlikely to be thrown away.

“Leading with sustainability practices that involve customers, like the tree-planting initiative, means they feel like they have made a positive environmental impact from one of their very first interactions with the brand.

“This feeling of collaboration for a good cause gives you a customer-to-brand connection built upon a foundation of authenticity.”

Konstantin Klyagin, Founder and CEO of Redwerk

Konstantin Klyagin, Founder and CEO of Redwerk

“Sustainability initiatives are often synonymous with environmental responsibility. That’s why so many businesses, including Redwerk, go paperless, get rid of plasticware in their offices, and think of optimizing their energy consumption.

“Partnering with green tech businesses and ethical suppliers can also strengthen your reputation as a sustainable business. We have two green tech projects in our portfolio – a solution for tracking the use of reusable coffee cups and a mobile app for easy bike parking. With our tech support, these startups launched successfully. Together, we’ve made a step toward making our world greener.

“Many companies frequently upgrade their hardware to stay efficient. Instead of disposing of older, still functional computers and phones, consider donating them to orphanages or foster homes. This helps extend the lifespan of electronics and allows the unprivileged to gain computer literacy skills.

“Remember that sustainability extends beyond the environment. Think of sustainable hiring, for example. Eliminate the need for headhunting because it can be quite disruptive and unethical. Instead, focus on building a strong company culture and ensuring competitive compensation and benefits.”

Laura Hill, Managing Director of Sendle Australia

Laura Hill, Managing Director of Sendle Australia

“Sustainability is helping small businesses capture a growing audience that cares about the environment, with 34% reporting that demand for locally produced products has increased. It’s easy to forget the environmental impact of our online shopping deliveries — a few clicks and just like magic, there’s a parcel on your doorstep. Yet, over 10% of global CO2 emissions are from transport and logistics.

“Switching to a carbon-neutral delivery service is a way of keeping the planet and environment healthy. We help businesses take accountability for all carbon emissions and invest in projects that prevent or remove an equal amount of carbon — like regenerating precious forests, replacing old equipment with more efficient technology or even training communities in beekeeping.

“SMBs are realising the benefits for both their bottom line and the environment, with 34% implementing more sustainable business practices and products. By shipping with a 100% carbon neutral shipping service like ours, SMBs can proudly tell their customers that each parcel is being delivered without costing the earth. Businesses can also embed a carbon-neutral delivery seal into their website or packaging slip to help give customers one more reason to feel good about their purchase. And better still — opting for carbon-neutral shipping helps businesses on their journey towards B Corp certification.”

Rob Malkin, Senior Regional Director for Australia and New Zealand at Bentley Systems

Rob Malkin, Senior Regional Director for Australia and New Zealand at Bentley Systems

“Businesses do not always realise it, but they often have the potential to utilise existing assets in new and more efficient ways, leading to power savings and a more environmentally friendly approach to resource consumption.

“Advanced software applications that are available today—such as asset performance, spatial monitoring, and digital twins—can enable businesses to more efficiently manage resources, making them go further. Cumulatively, across an organisation’s entire physical asset portfolio, such efficiency gains can add up to substantial resource savings.

“Businesses can draw upon those savings to contribute to, and even drive, broader sustainability initiatives, demonstrating a commitment to driving positive environmental change. It not only enhances a company’s brand reputation, but it also plays a crucial role in building a more sustainable future for generations to come.”

Dianne Price, Director at SlumberTrek® Australia

Dianne Price, Director at SlumberTrek® Australia

“At SlumberTrek®, sustainability isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a core value ingrained in everything we do. SlumberTrek® customers expect us to uphold these values, whether they are lounging on a beach or relaxing at a campsite.

“As proud members of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), we’re aligning our sustainability goals with the 2025 National Packaging Targets, supported by both industry and government. These targets signify a collective effort towards sustainable packaging practices that benefit not only the environment but also our communities.

“Central to our sustainability efforts is our packaging pledge. We’re revolutionising our packaging practices with the following commitments:

100% Sustainable Packaging: By 2025, all SlumberTrek® packaging in Australia across our beach, camping and outdoor ranges will be either reusable, recyclable, or compostable, minimising waste and environmental harm.

50% Average Recycled Content: We’re striving to incorporate an average of 50% recycled content across all our packaging by 2025, reducing the need for new raw materials.

Phasing Out Single-Use Plastics: Taking a firm stance against single-use plastics, we’re actively pursuing innovative alternatives to eliminate them entirely from our packaging lineup.

“Together, we believe we can make a meaningful difference towards a more sustainable future.”

Tom Cawley, Interim CEO and Exec Chair at MaxMine

Tom Cawley, Interim CEO and Exec Chair at MaxMine

“The mining sector plays an essential role in the global transition towards net zero. Mainly because it needs to increase output to help other sectors achieve their targets, notably through renewables. With the increasing pressure from governments, stakeholders, citizens and employees, it’s crucial that mining companies prioritise sustainability now.

“In addition to renewing their fleets and transforming industrial processes long-term, implementing immediate initiatives can reduce mining carbon intensity by 15% while building brand reputation and trust. These can include measuring current carbon emissions more accurately across the entire value chain, looking for opportunities to improve operations through data-driven insights and restructuring on-site production processes to increase efficiency. These actions can help reduce fuel costs, boost productivity and demonstrate the sector’s commitment to taking significant and tangible steps towards achieving 2030 and 2040 decarbonisation goals.

“By embracing innovative solutions, the mining industry can pave the way for a sustainable future and make itself more attractive to investors, partners and consumers. The future belongs to those who are prepared to change: those who embrace smart technology to get mining done differently.”

Julia Hoy, Sustainability Lead and Associate Partner at Sefiani Communication

Julia Hoy, Sustainability Lead and Associate Partner at Sefiani Communication

“A robust sustainability strategy embedded in your business and communicated effectively will improve your corporate and brand reputation and help attract customers.

“When communicating about sustainability, understanding the needs of your diverse stakeholders is critical. Our research shows that employees want to play a role in shaping solutions, consumers seek clear and tangible messaging and customers want to see how you can support their sustainability goals. Know your audiences and how you can best inform, engage, or empower them within your strategy.

“Most importantly, in an age of increased scrutiny, show stakeholders the evidence that the sustainability claims you are making align with genuine action.

“Don’t look for a quick fix – when it comes to sustainability, there simply isn’t one.”

Lea Maguero, Head of Sustainability at BioPak

Lea Maguero, Head of Sustainability at BioPak

“Significant change and truly understanding our environmental footprint requires innovation, education and critical thinking beyond the norms of what many would consider “sustainable.” All businesses need to consider an end-of-life solution and framework for their products, operations and/or services. The main question to ask is whether your business supports circularity or reusability. If not, this is where a product stewardship scheme or initiative can help  – acknowledging that anyone designing, manufacturing and selling products has a responsibly to ensure those products or materials are managed in a way that reduces environmental and human health impacts throughout the life-cycle and across the supply chain. To get started, see what is currently in the market. Compost Connect, for example, is a platform committed to diverting food waste and compostable packaging from landfill by making composting more accessible across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and soon South East Asia. A sustainable initiative of this level has the ability to build a dynamic community and taskforce, drive change through education and disrupt an industry for the better.”

Aaron Kumar, Director of Operations at Ingram Micro

Aaron Kumar, Director of Operations at Ingram Micro

“At Ingram Micro, we were inspired by the United Nations Decade of Action to create our 10 to Zero initiative, which focuses on our business achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions, zero waste and zero recordable safety incidents by 2030. Our Eastern Creek Distribution Centre, in Western Sydney, has become our flagship example of how we are putting the sustainability practices of 10 to Zero at the very core of our organisation.

“One way we’ve done this is by reinventing how we package the products we send to our customers. New machinery builds cardboard boxes of the correct dimensions – not too large or small – to package each product, resulting in a 15 per cent reduction in cardboard use. We’ve also eliminated plastic in our mailers and tape in favour of fibre-based and recycled packaging.

“Packaging is only one part of the puzzle when it comes to getting goods to customers, the other component being the transport used in shipping. By swapping out road for rail when a container arrives in Australia and moves from the port to an inland facility, Ingram Micro could reduce carbon emissions by between 20 and 50 per cent.

“By implementing these initiatives, we have taken a leadership position on sustainability within our industry and we’re proud to be contributing to a more sustainable future for all Australians.”

Greg Taylor, Founder of Step One

Greg Taylor, Founder of Step One

“As the founder of Step One, I firmly believe that sustainability isn’t just a choice; it’s a responsibility. Our commitment to sustainability has not only positively impacted our brand reputation but has also been instrumental in attracting customers who share our values. From our sourcing practices to our packaging, sustainability is at the core of everything we do. We prioritize partnerships with suppliers holding key sustainability certificates and exclusively use sustainable fabrics. Our packaging, made from biodegradable materials like corn starch, reflects our dedication to reducing environmental impact.

“We pride ourselves on being pioneers in the industry, as evidenced by our early adoption of initiatives such as the Fashion Forever Green Pact and our achievement of end-to-end FSC® certification. Through our collaboration with FSC®, we uphold stringent standards, including zero deforestation, fair labor practices, biodiversity protection, and community engagement. At Step One, our commitment to sustainability isn’t just a statement; it’s a promise to our customers that they can trust us to deliver eco-conscious products that align with their values.”

Erica Smith, Head of Marketing and Vendor Alliance at Blue Connections IT

Erica Smith, Head of Marketing and Vendor Alliance at Blue Connections IT

“Consumers are increasingly aware of the ecological and ethical footprints of their purchasing decisions, gravitating towards companies that align with their values. By implementing sustainable practices, businesses not only contribute to planetary health; they resonate with the growing demographic of environmentally conscious customers.

“To bolster brand reputation and attract a wider customer base, organisations should create and follow a strong sustainability strategy that encompasses the following key elements:

Evaluate the company’s underlying systems and operations to ensure that recycling, reusing, and achieving carbon neutrality are integral components rather than mere add-ons. These initiatives can be built into business-as-usual operations, service delivery, and head office design to contribute to a more sustainable future.

Look beyond internal operations to the environmental impact of the entire supply chain. Achieving a sustainable value chain and operational ecosystem requires working with likeminded organisations that are equally committed to their sustainability goals.

Establish an internal green committee tasked with generating and sharing ideas for sustainable initiatives that can be implemented across the company and its broader ecosystem.

“By embracing these strategies, businesses can enhance their environmental stewardship and strengthen their appeal to conscientious consumers, driving positive brand perception and fostering long-term loyalty.”

Sonia Shwabsky, CEO of Kwik Kopy Australia

Sonia Shwabsky, CEO of Kwik Kopy Australia

“At Kwik Kopy Australia, we highly value employee engagement in sustainability efforts – a crucial element for success. We promote sustainability education among our franchise network, empowering owners to integrate sustainable strategies into their daily operations. Through raising awareness, we highlight the importance of eco-friendly practices in the business.

“Energy consumption is a significant contributor to environmental impact. We introduce energy-efficient measures to reduce our carbon footprint and at the same time save on operational costs. We prioritise energy efficiency by optimising equipment usage, implementing smart lighting solutions and exploring renewable energy alternatives.

“In addition, a proper waste management strategy is a key aspect of our sustainable business practices. We encourage the use of recyclable materials as much as possible, by offering recycled paper options, promoting double-sided printing and facilitating proper recycling practices.

“We work together with the Sustainable Green Print (SGP) movement, and as a leader in the print and design industry, we continue our sustainability commitment within our franchise network by implementing sustainable strategies even with limited resources.”

Amanda Firth, Group Client Manager at BBS Communications Group

Amanda Firth, Group Client Manager at BBS Communications Group

“As Australia works towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050, and regulatory requirements continue to evolve, there is significant pressure on businesses to better understand, act and report on ESG factors like their sustainability initiatives.

“From enhancing energy and water efficiencies, to embracing reuse strategies and waste minimisation. Ultimately the sustainability initiatives which can have the greatest impact on a brand’s reputation are those which:

Align with global benchmarks.
With the movement towards global sustainability reporting standards, ensure the initiatives your business is driving align with stated priorities, reporting frameworks and future requirements.

Meet stakeholder expectations.
To ensure your sustainability initiatives resonate with clients, customers or other stakeholders, do the research – canvass their insights, preferences and opinions about which initiatives would make the biggest impact.

Can be measured effectively and authentically.
With regulators strengthening their already-keen focus on greenwashing, the stakes are growing increasingly higher for businesses to provide quantifiable proof of their sustainability claims, so be sure to resist any attempts at ambiguity.”

Stuart Wragg, Managing Director at Salterbaxter Australia

Stuart Wragg, Managing Director at Salterbaxter Australia

“Sustainability efforts create the greatest impact for businesses when they closely align to business objectives and purpose.

“I encourage businesses to start with an analysis of the societal and environmental issues that affect business priorities.  We do this for organisations by undertaking a materiality assessment – an analysis to understand what sustainability issues are most material to a business. That provides a good understanding of how an organisation can respond to issues through more sustainable practices.

“Key to this undertaking is quality engagement with stakeholders, including employees, investors and suppliers.  Surveys can help but interviews and two-way dialogues are also valuable in uncovering insight to set yourself up for success.

“When it comes to investment in sustainability initiatives, a common trap I see businesses fall into is spreading resources too thin.  This is neither good for the business nor creating a positive impact in the world.  Remember, transformational change is about building business resilience over time.  The sweet spot is where commercial objectives align with sustainable operations.”

Jake Majerovic, Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Thinkless

Jake Majerovic, Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Thinkless

“Sustainability initiatives should not be used as levers for brand reputation. ‘Initiatives’ are virtual signalling, and customers today are too savvy – they don’t fall for it. The question is fundamentally flawed. It suggests that sustainability is merely a tool for marketing, which undermines the importance of genuine environmental responsibility; sustainability is about action, accountability and the why.

“An Australian supermarket announced that their fleet of home delivery vehicles will all be EV by 2030. Authenticity is about ‘why’ you are saying your vehicle fleet is going EV. So is this a ‘sustainability initiative’, or signalling for brand attention? With a similar strategy signalled by FedEx, we need clarity on the why, not the how.

“Instead, we should be asking ourselves what responsibilities we need to embrace daily, irrespective of public perception, and how we can adapt to meet the evolving needs of our customers, employees and shareholders.

“3M’s “pollution prevention pays” program is a prime example of this reframe in action. Since 1975, the company has focused on preventing pollution at its source, saving billions in the process and gaining a competitive edge. Taking responsibility for their actions, while adapting to customer needs is the true path to sustainable business practices.

“Things that help ‘brand reputation ‘and ‘attract customers’ is the accountability to show it’s making an impact!”

Sophie Doyle, Founder of The Fable

Sophie Doyle, Founder of The Fable

“Sustainability and ethical initiatives have never been more important in business. We live in an age where information is available in seconds, so not only are customers more savvy when it comes to what to look for in a brand, but it also gives you the ability to share what you are doing right too.

“With my brand, The Fable, I create products that are timeless and intended to transcend seasons. We are the opposite of fast fashion. We ensure the product is sturdy and made to last, and it won’t date. By creating our products that way, we are reducing fashion wastage which is a huge problem in the fashion world.

“We also are very mindful of the factories that we use. We only work with factories that have accreditation by Intertek, a leading Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide. The factory we chose was audited and approved on its practices covering labour, wages, hours, health, safety, management systems and environment. I also visit the factory myself as much as I can.”

Lachlan McDonald, General Manager – Commercial Channels at Kress

Lachlan McDonald, General Manager – Commercial Channels at Kress

“We’ve joined the B-Cycle Program, an initiative by the Battery Stewardship Council of Australia dedicated to sustainable battery management. The program has over 3,200 drop-off points for battery recycling across Australia, making it easier for our dealers and landscaping professionals to contribute to this eco-friendly course. This is a friendlier way to dispose of your old batteries, helping to prevent them from ending up in landfill and reducing the risk of toxic chemical leakage.

“Having our batteries be eco-friendly as well as our partnership with the B-Cycle program have positively showcased our sustainability efforts, providing our dealers and professionals the ability to handle landscaping efficiently and sustainably.

“At Kress, we specialise in battery-operated outdoor power equipment and lead the charge in switching from petrol-powered tools. This way, we continue our mission to maintain a healthy environment with sustainable equipment. Our batteries are rechargeable and have zero emissions, reducing carbon footprints through our CyberSystem™. We’ve always placed environmental sustainability at the core of our commercial range, prompting us to develop a line of batteries suitable for commercial use.”

Lauren Hamilton, Marketing Manager at Smart Commercial Solar

Lauren Hamilton, Marketing Manager at Smart Commercial Solar

“By investing in commercial solar, any brand with the roof space can significantly enhance its reputation and attract eco-conscious customers. The visibility and simplicity of solar energy make it particularly effective for improving brand perception – there are few more obvious initiatives than dozens of PV panels adorning your roof, and sharing drone-captured footage of your system is a great way to spread the word.

“Aussies have a strong affinity for solar, with nearly one-third of households having rooftop panels, making it a widely recognised and trusted choice. Moreover, its impact is highly measurable, immediate and transparent, which appeals to consumers who are jaded (literally) from a tsunami of green washing.

“In adopting solar, brands not only showcase their commitment to sustainability, they also demonstrate a spirit of independence by generating their own power (rather than relying on the grid). All of this creates positive brand value for any business looking to publicise their sustainability initiatives.”

Jonathan Fisk, Director at 1KOMMA5°

Jonathan Fisk, Director at 1KOMMA5°

“In a world where consumers are increasingly scrutinising the environmental impact of the brands they support, sustainability initiatives are pivotal for shaping a brand’s reputation and attracting customers.

“Embracing renewable energy sources, such as solar and battery storage, signifies a dedication to reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change. This not only helps reduce operational costs but also aligns with ethical responsibilities and resonates strongly with a growing demographic of environmentally conscious consumers.

“In 2022, the International Energy Agency revealed that commercial installations exceeded residential installations as companies turned to solar to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the overall renewable energy capacity in Australia.

“While big corporations are leading the way, many small to medium-sized businesses are following suit, taking advantage of government incentives. Based on a 1KOMMA5° report, a 30% return on investment is also proving attractive to companies.

“At 1KOMMA5° Sydney & Melbourne, we work closely with our commercial clients to create custom solar energy solutions that integrate seamlessly into operations to fit the specific needs of their businesses. Our strategic approach includes meeting the energy needs of the business to help maximise efficiency, minimise environmental impact, and create a significant impact within the business operations.”

Paula Kensington, Director of Consulting Group at PK Advisory

Paula Kensington, Director of Consulting Group at PK Advisory

“All truly sustainable initiatives should lead to positively influence brand reputation.

“Savvy consumers are honed to spot green-washing.  Customers will reward those companies who are getting it right with their loyalty and will turn their back on those who continue to get it wrong.

“As business owners, it starts with us to move the focus of brand value and company success from simple financial gain to ensure long term investment in ethical values that drill down to the heart of our products, our people and the environment in which we operate.

“To communicate sustainability initiatives to our customers, every employee needs to be on board. The overarching question we should ask ourselves as a business owner, is; “Can we bring together a business model that includes every employee, every department and which identifies the work needed, the metrics that we will use to measure success and the resource required to enable that delivery?” Goals need to be clearly defined and the road-map charted.

“With new mandatory sustainability reporting coming into force next year, every organisation will need to be accountable for their environmental impact – from big business down to small. Any SME serving larger companies will find themselves in unchartered territory because large organisations will avoid doing business with smaller organisations that are operating without consideration for sustainable practices.  The risk of being left behind is real, unless every organisation, whatever size, makes changes now.  Any business that continues with ‘business as usual’ poses huge risks for maintaining loyal customers and employees.

“Keeping financial records that align with sustainability initiatives will assist in ensuring an integrated approach.  The same is true for forward planning and budgeting for new initiatives. Business owners and leaders need to investigate opportunities now to curtail activities that do not meet sustainability goals, and look into opportunities that do.  Ask yourself, “what can my organisation stop doing, and what can we start doing?”  Asking questions is the way forward to finding the answers that can help move your business forward and take your employees, your clients, your suppliers and your customers with you.

“By having a ‘whole system’ approach, you take key stakeholders on the journey with you, which in the end will be rewarded.  It’s OK to fail, fall and learn along the way. Transparency is key to brand loyalty, which will in turn, result in increased profitability.”

Paul Dunn, Co-founder of B1G1

Paul Dunn, Co-founder of B1G1

“So many things make the issue of sustainability seem complex.

“And you’ve probably noticed that seemingly complex things just don’t get done.

“Take the whole ESG ’thing’ for example (for the uninitiated it stands for Environmental, Social, Governance). It’s so complex that only larger companies even attempt it.

“Yet 90% of businesses are small to medium scale.

“So, what if we changed the definition and made it simply: Embed Social Good?

“And what if we made that really simple to do so that every business action — however small — made a real difference in our world? And what if it cost just cents to make it happen?

“We could say: “every time we send an email, a child in need gets access to pure, life-saving water.” Or “every time we’re on Zoom a tree gets planted.” That would be just 2 cents and 47 cents respectively in B1G1.

“Founded in Australia, B1G1: Business for Good is now a Global Movement accounting already for almost 350 Million positive impacts in our world.”

Josh Robinson, Founder at Garden Street Gin Club

Josh Robinson, Founder at Garden Street Gin Club

“Since launching in 2019, a core value of our business has been sustainability. Our focus on minimising waste and building a sustainable business resonates deeply with our members and is compatible with their values; allowing customers to make sustainable buying decisions successfully attracts new customers and assists dramatically with building a stronger brand presence.

“We have implemented numerous sustainability projects over the years, but our most successful initiatives have been;

Reducing plastic and all single-use packaging material, across our business and supplier businesses.

Supporting fellow Australian businesses across our supply chain to reduce carbon footprint.

Implementation of carbon-neutral shipping.

Optimising packaging design to reduce material used (saved 50%+).

Transitioning to eco-friendly ink for all printed materials.

“All of these environmental initiatives have been positively received by our staff, suppliers and members, resulting in a stronger, more sustainable brand that is appealing to both new and existing customers.”

Jane Phipps, COO at Teach for Australia

Jane Phipps, COO at Teach for Australia

“As awareness of social and environmental issues continues to grow among customers, adopting a sustainability strategy becomes increasingly crucial. Such a strategy not only positively impacts brand reputation but also plays a significant role in retaining existing customers and attracting new ones. Given the increased focus and passion on environmental issues it is beneficial to gather input from  stakeholders by engaging with customers, employees, and community members, to understand their sustainability expectations and preferences. Incorporating this feedback into decision-making processes not only demonstrates commitment and responsiveness to their concerns but also helps prioritise initiatives for maximum impact.

“Transparency about sustainability practices and objectives enables customers to make informed choices, fostering the trust necessary for customer engagement and loyalty. However, transparency requires robust underlying practices and infrastructure.

“In my experience, transparency about supply chain practices serves as a prime example of this principle. Openly sharing information about the sourcing, production, and delivery of products can establish trust and credibility with conscious customers. Collaborating with suppliers to optimise supply chain efficiency minimises environmental impacts such as carbon emissions, resource depletion, and waste generation. Furthermore, close collaboration with suppliers facilitates the identification of opportunities for improvement and innovation within the supply chain.

“Stakeholder consultation has shown that customers value waste reduction and recycling programs to minimise waste generation and promote circularity. Achieving circularity is challenging and requires engagement from various departments such as operations, procurement, and finance. However, initiatives aimed at reducing, reusing, and recycling materials across operations, from production to office management is a great starting point.”

Tom Evans, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Audience Group

Tom Evans, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Audience Group

“For our advertising services agency, striving for carbon neutrality is table stakes. Not only because this is the way we intend to run our business but because Audience Group helps our clients make advertising decisions that support their ESG objectives.

“In 2023 we became certified carbon neutral for scope 1 and 2 emissions and we’re working toward scope 3. It’s important to select a credible organisation to measure emissions and support your efforts to become a net zero business.

“We selected Trace, an Australian organisation that measures us against global standards and sources high-integrity projects that deliver measurable benefits to communities and ecosystems.

“In our first year working with this carbon neutral certification body, Audience Group funded five projects to compensate for 100% of our emissions for that period as well as the planting of 524 extra trees.

“We are committed to an annual emissions assessment and compensation process, and we’re also working to reduce emissions in various ways.

“We’ll continue to let our clients and the market know about our efforts through our certification badge in all emails and on our site, social media and media relations efforts when appropriate, and via blog updates on our continued progress.”

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