New research from Australia Post shows almost half of small businesses across the country consider sustainability to be very important to their future success, with many looking to invest more heavily in this area in 2021.

With small businesses making up 98 per cent of all Australian businesses and employing close to half the nation’s workforce, it has never been more important for small businesses to consider the role sustainability plays in their growth.

The research, released by Australia Post in collaboration with the Banksia Foundation, features in the report Small business sustainability in a COVID-19 world, and examines what the key drivers and sustainability issues are for small businesses right now.

Focusing on three key themes: operating responsibly, building resilience and regeneration in a world impacted by COVID-19, the report also provides a 10-step roadmap to help business owners prioritise sustainability and achieve their goals through methods such as committing to sustainable packaging, assessing their existing practices and adopting a principles based approach to doing business.

Australia Post Executive General Manager, Business, Government and International, Gary Starr said sustainability for businesses now extends beyond reputation and trust, and is critical to long-term survival, security and competitive advantage.

“It’s a new year, and there has never been a more important time for small businesses to be directing their focus towards sustainability and improving their overall resilience,” said Mr Starr.

“Research consistently finds that consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that are sustainable, and many are willing to pay more for products and services that protect the environment or don’t infringe on human rights, and this trend has only been accelerated by the pandemic.

“As many small to medium businesses are often occupied with the immediate concerns of running a business, sustainability isn’t always top of mind, but developing more sustainable products and operations is becoming increasingly important, and it’s easier to get started than many businesses realise.

“Small businesses are the engine room of our economy and one of Australia Post’s largest customer groups, we hope this research will be helpful to businesses embarking on a journey towards sustainability so they can take advantage of new opportunities and grow their business in a sustainable way,” Mr Starr concluded.

Banksia Foundation Chief Executive Officer Graz Van Egmond said unlike large businesses, resources are limited to assist small businesses to be more sustainable, and she hopes this report will guide them to have a positive impact by incorporating sustainability into the core of their business strategies. 

 “Now more than ever Australia needs small businesses, and we have a real opportunity to build a more sustainable and inclusive economy than the one we left behind prior to COVID-19.

 “I hope this report stimulates thought and action in small businesses across Australia,” Ms Van Egmond said.

Small business sustainability in a COVID-19 world, is part of a series of whitepapers by Australia Post to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The full report and more information about Australia Post’s approach to sustainability is available here.

Source: Australia Post