Collabforge started consulting on the Carbon Down program in September last year (2008) and has forged (no pun intended :-) a close working relationship with its team. Our input is aimed at helping develop and refine the program’s Web strategy, which is designed to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions on part of SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises).
Carbon Down is three year, $10m collaboration between the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) and Sustainability Victoria. From the website (CarbonDown.com.au),
Carbon Down is a partnership between business and government dedicated to reducing Victoria’s carbon footprint through innovative, practical solutions.
I feel this program’s objectives are of great importance to our local and global community. While big business is increasingly recognising the importance and opportunities of addressing resource efficiency and sustainability, small and medium sized business (as I know all too personally) rarely have the time to take a strong stance in this area, even when the intention to reduce carbon is genuine.
An additional challenge in engaging this sector is the fact that it is very large (est. 500,000 in Victoria alone), diverse, fragmented and difficult to communicate with due to the high demands placed upon those running their businesses – and the current economic climate doesn’t help matters.
Yet another challenge (there are many) is the lack of political leadership in this area. Many SMEs we speak with mention the importance of government taking a strong stance in this area, and while there is the soon to be introduced carbon emissions trading scheme, at this point it doesn’t look likely to deliver the outcomes that we need – it focuses on big business (rewards heavy polluting industries) and does little if nothing to address SMEs.
In coming months, the Carbon Down program will be launching its online program – we’ll blog here when this happens. If you are reading this as an SME and are interested in getting involved, please contact me (Mark.Elliott ~At~ collabforge.com) or post a comment below.
I’d also love to hear from you regarding anything relating to the intersection of sustainability/carbon reduction and SMEs – thoughts, opinions, solutions, opportunities, initiatives, websites, etc…