Eco-savvy business is environmentally-sustainable business – business that operates in ways that, at best, benefit the environment and, at least, do minimal harm to it.
- This planet is the only one we have! It’s not in anyone’s best interest to put in place practices or sell products that damage it.
- Products and services that are healthy for the planet are healthy for consumers. There’s always a market for healthy products and services, and that market is growing.
- Eco-savvy businesses draw on products that are sustainable rather than those that are destructive to our environment (coal, oil, and plastic).
Sutherland Shire Environment Centre supports and encourages eco-savvy businesses by sponsoring the ‘Sustainability Award’ in the Sutherland Shire Local Business Awards – we’re so pleased to announce the winners and highly commended entrants for our 2020 Awards. We had some fantastic entrants – it’s wonderful to recognise the work that they do.
Tradies – The Sutherland District Trade Union Club
In June 2019, Tradies eliminated all plastic straws from their venues. They now use BioPak packaging for all takeaway items including containers, takeaway cups & lids, cutlery and napkins, as well as BioPak cleaning cloths and garbage bags. All soft drinks are now sold in glass bottles and they offer reusable glass bottles for table water and water refill stations for personal reusable bottles. To encourage the use of reusable coffee cups, the club offers a 50c discount for anyone who brings their own cup. All Tradies venues sell glass Keep Cups for $20 with a free coffee. (The recommended retail price for these is $26.) Since January 2018, Tradies have diverted 5,003 takeaway cups from landfill (calculated by the number of ‘BYO cup’ 50c discounts applied).
Solar and Energy Saving
Since 2016 Tradies have invested over $250,000 in solar installations. At Caringbah they have a 40kw system; at Tradies Helensburgh, 176kw. The Helensburgh club now regularly operates off 100% solar energy during the day and the panels provide 45-50% of their overall energy usage. In 2012 Tradies also installed energy monitoring devices – their clubs are now consuming less energy than they were in 2012, even though they increased trading hours and added a restaurant at Tradies Gymea. All their venues have energy efficient lighting and sensor lighting wherever possible (e.g. in the carparks and toilets).
Both Gymea and Helensburgh venues have water tanks installed and use the rainwater to water the gardens. To reduce our water usage in bathrooms, all taps are fitted with aerators and male toilets feature waterless bio-urinal systems.
iPromise Sustainability Grants
Tradies have their own grants program to recognise sustainability initiatives. Since the program was introduced in 2013 they have provided $104,000 to help fund sustainability projects across NSW, including bushland regeneration, school vegetable gardens and chicken coops, composting programs, sustainable irrigation systems and native bee hives. Early on the aim was to encourage and inspire sustainable innovation and education by providing financial assistance, assisting environmental sustainability projects in local schools, early learning centres and community organisations. In 2020 the $20,349 grants focused on water conservation programs, allocating the funding to 9 water conservation projects across NSW. The projects include rain water tanks, water-wise irrigation systems, wicking beds and mulch to help edible gardens retain water.
Bushfire relief funding
Following the horror of the recent bushfires, in early 2020, the Tradies Board of Directors further committed $100,000 to bushfire relief and Tradies management actively sought to include environmental organisations in the list of recipients. Recognising that bushfires not only affected human lives and homes, but also destroyed habitats and killed billions of native animals, the team researched organisations that would provide both immediate relief and long-term environmental solutions. As a result, the club donated $10,000 to Treading Lightly, a grass roots environmental movement based on the South Coast who used the money to replant and regenerate areas of the south coast, $10,000 to WIRES to assist injured animals and $5,000 to Aussie Ark which went towards the opening on their new 400 hectare Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary.
To minimise food waste and greenhouse gas emissions Tradies now uses CAL Tech to produce composting material to be used in soil regeneration. Tradies management was impressed with CAL Tech’s commitment to maintaining a minimal carbon footprint.
Choosing suppliers and business partners
Tradies are one of the larger organisations in the Sutherland Shire and they are currently developing a new procurement policy to prioritise local goods and services with strong sustainability and ethics credentials. Tradies already choose their suppliers carefully, not just based on price or quality, but also on their alignment with tradies organisational values, particularly sustainability. One example of a new local supplier is Three Pence Coffee Roasters – chosen for their commitment to producing sustainable and ethical coffee. Another standout example is a cleaning company Tradies use, Pickwick Integrated Facilities Services, who in turn are committed to green cleaning products, recycling and biodegradable products.
Tradies Caringbah is currently undergoing extensive renovations – choosing environmentally friendly building practices and design has been a key element in these renovations. Tradies has committed to providing the community the first Green Star Certified club in NSW. Design elements contributing to environmental sustainability include:
- Ceramic battens covering the facade of the building. As the building is north facing, in the past, considerable energy has been used to cool the building. The battens are designed to naturally regulate the temperature which will dramatically reduce the need for heating/cooling.
- The club will feature 3 Junglefy green breathing walls and 2 Junglefy green breathing totems. The Junglefy Breathing Wall is an active, modular green wall system, scientifically proven to accelerate the removal of air pollutants. It also acts as a sound barrier and cools the surrounding air temperature, resulting in energy efficiency and reduced air conditioning costs.
- The existing solar panels on the roof of the club have been maintained and will continue to provide (estimated) 10-15% of the club’s energy.
- Energy efficient lighting will be used throughout the building.
- Paint for walls and ceilings will use environmentally friendly and VOC free paints.
- Louvres on Level 2 of the building will allow for natural air flow.
- Energy efficient equipment and appliances will be installed throughout the building.
Encouragement and education for staff to adopt positive environmental measures
Supporting staff to use reusable containers, for shampoo, soap and body wash by purchasing sample products for their own use, as well as Keep Cups and reusable drink bottles with their induction packs. Sustainability, recycling and waste management is covered in all new employee induction sessions and on the floor training. Employees are also encouraged to participate in environmental volunteering through National Tree Planting Day and Clean Up Australia Day. Through 2019/2020 over 35 Tradies employees volunteered their time at these events.
Raising Community Awareness
Tradies use their social media, enews and in-venue communications to raise awareness of environmental issues, and support initiatives such as World Environment Day, Plastic Free July, and Clean Up Australia Day. Their Annual report includes a section dedicated to sustainability results.
It’s wonderful to see such positive measures being adopted in our community. The work these businesses do deserves to be supported.
The Point Preschool – 2020 Winner of the ‘Sustainability Award’ in the Sutherland Shire Local Business Awards
The Point Pre-School, a not-for-profit, community-based preschool, has worked consistently over many years to embed sustainability into the daily practice and curriculum of children and staff. The school’s long-term commitment to environmentally responsible practices includes: sustainable and ethical procurement; energy conservation; rainwater recycling; composting, worm farming and growing vegetables; tree planting; and, creating wildlife havens. Even its dolls house has solar panels, a recycle bin, clothesline and water tank.
It is this outstanding track record, as well as its impressive new initiatives, that has earned this organization the Sustainability Award. In the past year the school has not only enhanced it’s passive solar design by adding block out blinds to improve energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint, it has also replaced its old solar panels with a new, more efficient 6.6kW solar system. The school celebrated Planet Ark’s National Tree Day by planting 100 native trees, bushes, and grasses in a nearby reserve and it hosted a workshop, attended by 65 teachers and educators, on Bush Tucker gardens at early childhood centres and schools. The children themselves initiated “The Brave Bird Watchers Group” to keep an eye on local birds.
Director of the preschool, Catherine Lee, told us:
“We are so honoured and proud to be awarded the Sutherland Shire Local Business Award for Environmental Sustainability. As a very small, not for profit, community preschool, established in 1956, this is wonderful recognition for our sustainable practices. We know early childhood is a great time to involve children in education for sustainability and develop lifelong practices to ensure the respect and protection of each other and our planet.
Thank you to all our beautiful children who are amazing custodians of our land. Thank you to all our families and community for the support you give us every day. And a special thank you to our Management Committee for their time, energy and continued support.”
And student, Chloe, had a message to share on behalf of all the children:
“Please be a good custodian of our land. Please love our land.”
Congratulations to The Point Preschool for setting an excellent example for Sutherland Shire businesses and for educating our children so that they in turn will protect, respect and appreciate the beautiful natural environment that we call home.
Address: 89R Greenpoint Road, Oyster Bay NSW 2225;
For our previous winners and runner ups please see the post entries below for more information.
- Bella Cibo – Winner 2019 Sustainability Award
- The Point Preschool – Highly Commended 2019 Sustainability Award
- Congratulations Loaf Sandwiches – finalist – Sutherland Shire Environment Centre’s 2018 Sustainability Award
- Congratulations Arete Organics – finalist – Sutherland Shire Environment Centre’s 2018 Sustainability Award
- Congratulations Honua Drink – finalist – Sutherland Shire Environment Centre’s 2018 Sustainability Award
- Highly-commended – Sutherland Shire Environment Centre’s 2018 Sustainability Award – Cheeky Wipes Australia
- Winner – Sutherland Shire Environment Centre’s inaugural Sustainability Award 2018 – Mr Paisleys Cafe
- Eco-savvy business – is that you?