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CitySwitch Awards 2019: Corporate Australia steps up on sustainability

CitySwitch Awards 2019

Driving a sustainability agenda in an office-based business can be a thankless task. It is often taken on by passionate individuals on top of their day job.

The CitySwitch Awards are all about shining a light on the sustainability stars of corporate Australia. The latest crop of winners has just been announced, with standout performances from engineering services firm Cundall, Commonwealth Bank and comparison site Finder.

After appointing Ben King to head up Finder’s sustainability and corporate social

responsibility agenda in 2018, the company has been awarded the CitySwitch National New Signatory of the Year.

The company, which helps shoppers compare products across a range of different categories, has switched to a carbon neutral energy plan, implemented recycling, and teamed up with the likes of food rescue group OzHarvest, and Kua, which collects waste coffee grounds for composting in community gardens. This partnership earned Finder and Kua the National Partnership of the Year award.

Finder’s Ben King said the company had been paying too much for its electricity.

“We switched to the Energy Locals carbon neutral product and immediately saved around 20 per cent on our bills while reducing our carbon footprint,” he said.

“We implemented recycling within our tenancy to match the bins at the bottom of the building and our recycling rates more than doubled virtually overnight.”

Beyond cleaning up the management of the office space, sustainability has infiltrated the company’s business model with a new Finder Green hub for making more sustainable shopping choices and other useful tips. It’s also introduced sustainability ratings on its energy comparison tables.

Commonwealth Bank was awarded the National Signatory of the Year (more than 2,000 sqm) for its commitment to sourcing 65 per cent of its national electricity needs from renewable energy from January 2019.

ANZ was highly commended in the National New Signatory of the Year category for a host of solar and waste projects.

Cundall snagged the National Signatory of the Year (under 2000 sqm) award for what the judges deemed a “holistic approach” to carbon management.

The full list of winners, including state-level awards, are available on the CitySwitch website.

CitySwitch is a free program run by the City of Sydney for office-based businesses to improve their energy and waste efficiency

The program has had impressive penetration, now representing nearly 900 offices around Australia, or 15 per cent of Australia’s office space.

“CitySwitch is a groundswell of collective local action, partnership and leadership that involves more than one million people and three billion dollars of spending power,” CitySwitch program manager Kimberly Camrass said.

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