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Being green can be easy and cheap: business expert

03 November, 2009

“You can make money by greening your bottom-line,” an internationally respected de-carbonisation and sustainability expert told Australian businesses last week.

Dr Martin Blake, a business guru and sustainability veteran of 25 years, whose visit from the UK is supported by Austrade, Industry &  Investment NSW and CPA, said that implementing cutting edge carbon abatement models can deliver cost savings and attract further investment.

“Businesses that have adopted this approach are now reaping the financial rewards, proving that it isn’t just theory that a green agenda can deliver for your bottom line,” said Dr Blake.

“Cutting edge carbon abatement methods have delivered not only reputational benefits but substantial cost and carbon savings for those companies that have been smart enough to implement one.

“For example BP recently saved over a billion pounds by adopting these principles and decarbonising their business with a relatively small investment.

“From every perspective, emitting carbon costs money- you buy the fuel that contains it, you pay tax on your emissions, and if you want to become carbon neutral you have to pay for carbon credits to offset your emissions.

“So it’s a simple case of avoiding paying for the same carbon three or four times by emitting as little as possible- it makes good business sense.”

Austrade Chief Economist Tim Harcourt said Australian businesses that embraced sustainable strategies, improved their bottom line.

Just as exporters have boosted growth and profitability by raising wages, occupational health and safety (OH & S), and good employment practices, businesses that adopt sustainable are also seeing a benefit to their balance sheet as well.

“Sustainable business approaches are what the community expects and what investors want, and whilst the efforts of some blue-chip corporates like Westpac and Lend Lease are well known, there are many others who can take a leaf out of their books and tap into the international opportunities afforded by this approach.

“In fact, a recent study by A.T Kearney demonstrated that during the first six months of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) companies committed to sustainability outperformed industry averages by 15%.

“This superior performance averages out to US$650 million ($A 699 million) in protected market capitalisation per company.

“Australia has done well in the global financial crisis, as we’ve stuck to our guns as an open economy. Now the next challenge will be to ensure Australian industry is globally engaged and environmentally sustainable. Just as the baby boomers and generation X enabled Australia to become generation export generation Y will take the next step to make Australia both open and green.”

Austrade’s Trade Commissioner for Malaysia, Garth Taylor said that there are genuine opportunities for Australian companies in ASEAN.

“Nine out of ten ASEAN countries are signatories to the Kyoto Protocol and each is implementing significant emissions reduction and clean energy projects with considerable support from multilateral entities such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank,” said Mr Taylor

“A good example is Malaysia’s massive hydroelectricity complex, which will be the largest in the region.”

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