A wonderful local program called Better Business Partnership is assisting our businesses to be even better via sustainable practices. It’s free for businesses to participate and can even save them money!
You may have heard of Better Business Partnership (BBP) due to their recent bi-annual Better Business Awards. The leading local sustainable businesses are recognised and it’s a hot ticket on the local calendar. What you may not know is what makes for a ‘’Better Business’’, and the amazing work being done by each business involved due to BBP.
Funded by local councils, BBP’s aim is to promote and support businesses to be more successful through sustainability. The advice from BBP is completely free and they work with the business to implement their suggestions. The result not only achieves environmental and social gains for the business, but economic gains as well.
“Better Business Partnership was created in 2009,” says Program Coordinator Amanda Choy. “The concept was built on existing sustainability programs to make it easier for small to medium local businesses to make sustainability improvements, as well as the encouragement of good environmental and social practices.”
“Start-up funding was initially through a NSW Government Environmental trust grant and it has been supported since then by Ku-ring-gai, North Sydney and Willoughby Councils.”
While many business owners will want to take part in the program for its positive environmental outcomes, they’ll also be happy to know about the economic gains that can come from participating.
“BBP educates our member businesses on how to become more energy efficient and resourceful with waste, which translates into real cost savings,” confirms Amanda. “We guide on the benefits of setting up a business plan, establishing your sustainability philosophy and provide a practical sustainability action plan. With our connection into all levels of government, we are knowledgeable on the latest money-saving initiatives or business upgrade offers that specifically target small business. All of this makes a difference to a business bottom line and have longer term success.”
The support and benefits of the Better Business Program don’t stop there, however. BBP actively assists with promoting its member businesses. “We want our businesses to flourish and we proactively help to grow their customer base with promotion via BBP communication channels and our business directory, council networks and their marketing channels, networking sessions, and holding the Better Business Awards which generates broader community publicity,” says Amanda.
“Excitingly we are launching a new community initiative end of October called ‘Buy Better Buy Local’. Here we will be encouraging individuals to support and buy from their local Better businesses who are all for planet, people and prosperity. We hope to see the public supporting and encouraging BBP businesses”.
Nicole Inskip owner of Sessions Hairdressing located in McMahon’s Point and the overall business winner for the 2021 Better Business Awards says, “The BBP program is great because it provides a nice simple framework for you to follow and implement improvements based on your initial score. It shows that the long term benefits of incorporating sustainable changes within your business far outweigh the cost and if you have a long term vision you don’t lose anything from your bottom line.”
So how does a business become a better business? It’s not only worthwhile but very simple.
“As long as the business operates or is registered in one of the three council areas, they are eligible. Whether a sole trader, or small or large sized business we have broad categories of business types and industries. Our business categories are (but not limited to): Childcare, Retail services, Retail products, Office based, Food services (including cafes, restaurants, take away food businesses and catering companies), Light Industrial and Manufacturing, Shopping Centres and Markets, Pubs, Clubs, Leisure and Fitness, Social Enterprise and Community Groups, Accommodation and Aged Care.
To begin the process, any business can undertake the free online assessment ‘How Sustainable is my Business?’ You’ll find this located on the www.bbp.org.au website at www.bbp.org.au/assessment. A feedback report with ratings and suggested next steps is emailed immediately following the completion of the assessment, and businesses can build their own Action Plan which is also emailed out to them directly.
The process begins with the online assessment followed by a 1:1 session with a trained sustainability expert to assess the business baseline in up to 9 key areas of business sustainability. These are Energy, Water, Waste, Single Use Plastic, Staff Engagement, Community Engagement, Sustainable Transport, Sustainable Purchasing and Business Health.
Businesses are awarded badges on the key areas and provided with a certificate of accreditation for the year. Action plans are agreed, and there are regular follow ups by a BBP Program Manager to provide support in implementation.
BBP has successfully worked with around 800 local businesses over the last ten years, and their assistance is now considered a real bonus for businesses. “The Better Business accreditation is a reputational tick of confidence that assures all stakeholders (staff, suppliers, customers, community) that this business is one that wants to do better, to do the right thing by the environment, by the community, and to be a good business citizen,” says Amanda.
If you’re ready for your business to become a better business, click through to the free online assessment below…