Businesses across Queensland have been advised to act now to make sure that they meet customers and markets developing sustainability expectations so that they avoid being overlooked as the global economy shifts increasingly towards sustainable goods and services.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) chief commercial officer Alex Zafiriadis has announced that businesses that are unable to prove they were sustainably focused were at risk of missing out on small and large-scale spending.

This announcement coincides with the federal government pushed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, or else risk Australia’s economy being impacted through costs imposed on countries that fail to act on climate risk.

“For small, local businesses focused on running day to day, a national and even global emphasis on climate risk can seem beyond our control, but the reality is even small businesses will be expected to meet sustainability and carbon neutrality expectations to remain competitive long-term,” said Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) chief commercial officer Alex Zafiriadis.

“We know events like the 2032 Olympics will create billions in procurement opportunities for projects over the next 10 years and we’re expecting sustainable businesses which produce goods and services with low or offset carbon footprint will be more competitive. Even at a more local level, consumers are increasingly aware of their carbon footprint with trends towards favouring businesses which offer sustainable options right down to everyday purchases. If a café won’t accept a keep cup, for example, it’s likely that customer will take their cup, and their money, elsewhere,” continued Mr. Zafiriadis.

Alex Zafiriadis believes that businesses who are sustainable generally leveraged a more positive reputation among the business community and their staff who already valued the impact they were able to make in working sustainably.

“Sustainable and carbon-neutral businesses are ultimately making a positive impact on the social and economic environment we all depend on to do business. Equally importantly, however, it also means those businesses are more diversified,?resilient?and competitive through sustainability, which also presents significant, day-to-day cost-saving opportunities,” said Alex Zafiriadis.

Tips For Becoming A More Sustainable Retail Business

Being a sustainable business is a huge drawcard and is a factor that is taken into consideration by a large number of Australians when deciding which products, they consume and purchase. Here are some tips to help your business become a more sustainable business

Writing up a big list of ways your business can become more sustainable – This can be little things such as; switching the office paper from new to recycled, buying toilet paper plastic-free and in bulk, or getting reusable pods for your business’s coffee machine.

Re-consider your packaging – One simple thing a business owner can add to their list is eco-friendly packaging. If you use boxes, explore recycled boxes, eco padding options and paper-free tape. You can ship virtually anything plastic-free.

Offset your shipping – Clarify with your shipping provider, but if you’re using either Australia Post or Sendle, both are actually now carbon neutral.

Both Australian Post and Sendle offset the emissions from every domestic parcel sent, making shipping your deliveries carbon neutral. If you’re using a courier, check to see if they offset their shipping also. If not, switch to someone who does. That’s an easy one you can add to your list of efforts to become a more sustainable retail business.

Offer returns for end-of-life products – Does your business sell a product that can be recycled? Lots of materials (such as hard plastics) can be recycled at the end of their lifespan, yet customers generally won’t do this if it’s an unfamiliar process.

If you offer end-of-life returns, you can recycle those products for your customers, lowering your product’s environmental impact. If it’s not a simple step, you can recycle returned products in bulk a few times a year.

If you offer a consumable product, consider switching to eco-friendly packaging that can be easily recycled/composted by your customer or add an option for their packaging to be refilled.

Consider Your Materials – This doesn’t only apply to businesses who make products. If you are a fashion designer, you can consider using fewer synthetic fibres. If you are an accountant, you can consider what paper-based materials you’re using. Every decision will have the potential to have a huge impact, so considering each decision when choosing materials will have a great impact on how sustainable your business will become.

Write a sustainability page or policy -A brilliant way to share your sustainability values and efforts with both your customers and your staff is to create a sustainability policy or page and have it published on your website.

If you’re a business with many staff, a policy outlining the goals and steps to becoming more sustainable will help make sure that everyone who works at your organisation is on the same page. Your policy can literally be “Our organisation is aspiring to become eco-friendlier, here are the actions everyone in the business is required to take and the values that need to be considered when making future decisions within our business.”

If your business has a website, adding a sustainability page will help outline your values for your customers and explain what steps you’re taking to become a more conscious business.

This page can consist of a list of steps you’re both currently doing, and a list of steps your organisation is moving towards. Sustainability can be a work in progress, too as long as you’re moving in the right direction. If you don’t wish to have a whole page about your sustainability police, you can simply add a blurb or paragraph to your “About page”, “Values page” or even a blog or a post on your social media platforms.