27 Feb 2023

New tool launched to help small businesses reduce their environmental impact

7:09 pm on 27 February 2023
Tree growing on coins stack ,concept of investment growth.

The online toolkit was created by a public-private partnership led by the Sustainable Business Network. Photo: 123RF

Small businesses can now put their sustainability to the test and learn how to produce less waste and cut carbon emissions.

The free Docket survey, launched on the Sustainable Business Network's website, lets business owners measure their effect on the environment and learn how to reduce it.

The online toolkit was created by a public-private partnership led by the Sustainable Business Network, with input from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry for the Environment, Wellington City Council, Westpac NZ Government Innovation Fund and WorkSafe.

Sustainable Business Network regenerative design lead Holly Norton said about 70 percent of a business's sustainability impact came from its supply chain, so it was worth taking a close look at it.

"Whether you are a small-scale supplier or a corporate buying from others, Docket can help you cut carbon emissions, reduce waste, regenerate nature, keep workers healthy and safe, uphold workers' rights and eliminate modern slavery.".

She said businesses would get tips on how to reduce their carbon emissions and waste, regenerate nature, keeping workers healthy and safe, upholding workers' rights and eliminating modern slavery.

"Carbon is a really key area, all businesses need to be reducing the amount of carbon in their supply chain so we can reduce that overall impact on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere," she said.

"Waste is massive too. Pretty much everything we've bought over the past 50 years is disposable has or has quite a short lifetime and has ended up in landfills, polluting our environment and having a terrible impact on nature.

"Increasingly we're starting to see businesses prioritise products that are circular, they have an end-of-life solution or don't need an end-of-life solution because they last a really, really long time, and you can replace parts of them and keep them going for a long time."

Norton said there were about 546,000 small businesses in Aotearoa, and collectively they could make a huge difference in reducing their environmental impact.

"At the same time, being more sustainable can reduce costs, attract and retain customers and staff and help you get ahead of the competition."

Norton said aiming to be more eco-friendly could help to ease labour shortages in the long run too.

"If you're struggling to get enough employees, all of the data shows that if you're a more sustainable business, if you're showing that you're being better for the environment and better for your employees, you're going to attract more top talent and you're gonna retain people longer."

She said the younger generation coming into the workforce valued sustainable business practices and prioritised it when looking for a job.

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