Eco-efficiencies save SMEs money and boosts economy

A Griffith University report has estimated that the ecoBiz program has saved Queensland businesses more than $7.4 million.

Dr Rob Hales, Director of the Griffith Centre for Sustainable Enterprise.

Delivered by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ), the ecoBiz program provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), one-on-one coaching sessions and a tailored action plan identifying energy, waste and water eco-efficiencies.

The report by the Griffith Centre for Sustainable Enterprise found on average businesses saved $80,434 per year and productivity increases averaging over 20% per annum across energy, waste and water consumption. These savings also reduced CO2 emissions by about 30,000 metric tonnes.

The report evaluated energy, waste and water consumption from 92 businesses which participated between 2017 to 2020, comparing their base year of consumption to a year after implementing the recommended eco-efficiencies.

Report co-author Dr Robert Hales says the program is a tangible example of how government and businesses can build back better using sustainability.

“We found energy use above water and waste the dominant cost of doing business, participants in the program recorded savings of about $6.7 million from energy efficiencies alone. Over 90% of businesses recorded an increase in productivity and savings.

“The idea that it always costs money to do something for the environment should be considered extinct with this report’s findings.”

Dr Hales said future regional assistance may see the program deliver its largest benefits.

“Our report found the increases in energy efficiencies from manufacturing in the Darling Downs Maranoa region contributed the greatest savings in terms of absolute and average costs avoided.”

He says a scaled up ecoBiz could contribute positively to the future economic resilience of Queensland.

“With the costs avoided and the large increases in productivity, a scaled up ecoBiz program could significantly impact on the Queensland Gross Domestic Product, but the challenge will be deciding how to scale the program to maximise the benefits of the increase in funding needed.”

ecoBiz is a fully subsidised program delivered by CCIQ and funded by the Queensland Government.

Financial and resource performance of small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the ecoBiz program 2017-2020 is available online.

Disclosure statement: Dr Robert Hales, a co-author on the report is a member of the EcoBiz advisory board.