In February 2007, ClubsNSW and the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW (DECCW) signed a three-year agreement to work together to help make the club industry more environmentally sustainable. More than 70 clubs have joined so far.
A key objective of EcoClubs is industry education. This is about raising awareness of the business benefits of environmental sustainability, or “going green” as many club managers describe it.
Many clubs already appreciate that issues like climate change bring business risks, such as price increases for food, electricity, and water. Clubs are also concerned that community attitudes about the environment may shift faster than the business responds, impacting on the club’s image or reputation. The DECCW Who Cares About the Environment research shows that almost 90 percent of people in NSW are concerned about environmental problems. Many of these people are your members and are calling for environmental action.
On the other hand, one common thread linking the existing 70 EcoClubs is the attitude that environmental improvements are also an opportunity to help secure the club’s future. Whatever their different motivations for participating, all have seen some strategic benefit, including opportunities to reduce operating costs, develop new income streams, increase membership, attract and retain productive staff, and to create a stronger perception of the club’s brand in the community.
Of course, information is only the first step. The ultimate goal is to take action. It’s not hard to start reducing water and energy use in most clubs, and to start saving money as a result.
One of the first steps you can take in moving from information to action is to join the EcoClubs / Sustainability Advantage program. Those that have taken that step are realising it’s not a big leap from “going green” to finding gold.
EcoClubs Results So Far
DECCW and ClubsNSW are currently working with over 70 clubs throughout NSW to reduce their water and energy use and their solid waste. This translates to direct savings in operating costs. Beyond the resource and cost savings, some clubs are building a stronger business by integrating environmental considerations into their staff and management systems; while others are aiming even higher to become industry and community leaders in sustainability.
The EcoClubs / Sustainability Advantage program is still open to clubs wanting to better understand and improve their environmental performance. For more information contact Ana Reilly at the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water by emailing to: Ana.Reilly@environment.nsw.gov.au or phoning (02) 8837 6397.
For further information please call ClubsNSW Member Enquiries Centre on 1300 730 001.
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