Like all Banksia functions, the recent 2016 Banksia Sustainability Awards Launch at Ernst & Young in May was dynamic and inspiring. Conversations among attendees ranged from sustainable mobility programs to how disruptive technology fuels the purpose economy.
But beneath it all was a message the wider business community needs to hear; that sustainable practises are not just for specialists, big corporates or environmentalists.
Sustainability can and should be part of every Australian business and community, large or small. It doesn’t require a working group of experts in sustainable development or corporate social responsibility. The proof was right there in the line up of panellists – each a former Banksia Sustainability Award winner with plenty to say about the benefits of being involved with our program.
Kalleske Wines – a family run winery in South Australia that produces award-winning organic wines and has embedded sustainable practises across its entire operations.
“Entering Banksia Award offers good opportunity to look back and reflect on all you have achieved.”– Troy Kalleske, Kalleske Wines
Australia Post – the iconic national postal delivery service that is embedding sustainable activities across all its operations.
“Applying for an award is like sitting an exam you already know the answers to.” – Andrew Sellick, Australia Post
The Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley Resort – a carbon neutral eco resort based in rural NSW with a worldwide reputation for sustainable practises, including a minimal environmental footprint.
“The award has opened a lot of doors and because of this we’re now being approached by a number of different people.”– Brendan Millett, Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley
Sustainability Victoria – a government body setting the bar for sustainable education through their ResourceSmart Schools program.
“ You can’t put a price on the impact this Award has on confidence and motivation.”– Kate Greer, Sustainability Victoria
Australian Dairy Farmers – working with Dairy Australia and the Australian Dairy Industry Council to make dairy food sustainable for the long term.
“Don’t be daunted. It’s a positive exercise whether you win or lose.” -Irene Clarke, Australian Dairy Farmers
Each organisation couldn’t be more different, or have more diverse products, markets, internal structures or business strategies. But all have shown what sustainable outcomes can be achieved within their unique frameworks.
An example is Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley’s use of Australia’s natural assets to introduce and educate tourists on the importance of environmental conservation. Another is the Australian Dairy Industry Council’s roll out of an industry-wide sustainability framework that tackles everything from environmental impact and animal care to OH&S.
All make equivalently purposeful contributions to the economy and set benchmarks for their respective industries. And along the way, they all build their bottom line and business reputation.
Our panellists demonstrate that sustainable practises are not only within the reach of every business, they are a quantifiable way to make individual businesses more socially and environmentally responsible, and more successful.
Sustainable practises are not one size fits all. Nor are they only for the most cashed up or zealous organisations. They’re simply a way to do better by whatever means that works. They’re like a cholesterol check, a 10,000km service for your car or de-cluttering your home.
It’s why the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals come with a tool kit for business – the SDG Business Compass http://sdgcompass.org. The SDG Compass explains how the SDGs affect business and offers five ways to get sustainability into the heart of business strategy. If this sounds too theoretical for your operations, Banksia’s suggestion is to go through the tools first and then decide.
We think you’ll come to the same conclusion as us; that the SDG Business Compass is a sensible, workable methodology. We believe it will help make sustainable practises seem less daunting. We hope it will encourage a greater diversity of Australian businesses to follow in the footsteps of our award winners – one small step at a time and entirely in their own way.
This blog was written by Andrew Block.