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Ballina, Lismore and Richmond Valley Councils have joined forces to create the Sustainable Urban Business Project, a free voluntary service for local businesses. The project has been embraced by Richmond Valley and Lismore businesses with over 135 businesses taking part in the project.

Ballina Shire Council’s Senior Environmental Health Officer Kerri Watts is the Project Manager and is excited by the response to date: “It’s an excellent opportunity for local councils and businesses to work together and achieve positive outcomes for the environment, while at the same time enabling businesses to save money and establish a competitive edge by promoting themselves as sustainable enterprises”.

Often councils are seen as mainly regulatory bodies but this project is one example of how Northern Rivers councils are looking to the future and acting proactively to ensure they continue to promote the region’s clean and green character.

One of the project’s primary objectives is to protect the quality of the Richmond River through promoting sustainable practices and procedures to business, so that the environmental and aesthetic quality of the river is maintained for future generations.

Sustainable business is good housekeeping, practices like reusing or recycling waste instead of sending it to landfill. It makes sense in today’s economic climate to look at ways to streamline business practices and identify opportunities to reduce business costs.
Kerri comments: “The response to the project by Richmond Valley and Lismore businesses has been fantastic! So many of the regions business owners are proactive in managing improvements to their business and can clearly see the value that this particular project provides. In turn we promote businesses in the project with our businesses of the month, and profiles of our champion businesses in the local press.”

Tree planting days have also been organised in each local government area for businesses involved in the project.

The Sustainable Urban Business team is doing assessments in the Lismore area until December and will be available to Ballina Shire businesses from January providing;

  • FREE voluntary environmental assessments
  • FREE information packages on how you can improve the environmental performance of your business and reduce operating costs
  • Business specific recommendations to improve your environmental performance

There are also sustainable business workshops being planned for early 2009. So if you want your business to contribute to the region’s sustainability, and save money in the process call your local council’s Environmental Health Section and ask for the Sustainable Urban Business Project.

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