Features

How small businesses can have a BIG impact on wildlife conservation

- March 2, 2023 4 MIN READ

 

Friday, 3 March, is World Wildlife Day, so we’re taking the opportunity to share a few easy ways businesses of any size can support the conservation of our native Aussie wildlife.

Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world, with thirty native mammals becoming extinct since European settlement and more than 1,700 species and ecological communities currently threatened or at risk of extinction. Some major factors affecting our threatened species are the loss and degradation of habitat, invasive species, unsustainable land and water management, and climate change.

Thankfully, we have a secret weapon up our sleeve – our small business community! With the vast majority of Australian businesses classified as small to medium enterprises (around 97 per cent), their collective capacity to generate change is enormous.

Ariahne Thompson, WWF-Australia’s Impact Partnerships Manager – SME Program says, “Small businesses are perfectly placed to pursue innovative sustainability strategies and bring about real environmental change. Just because your business is small, it doesn’t mean your impact is inconsequential. All acts of conservation are powerful – from running a paper-free office to making the switch to a sustainable packaging strategy.


“There are so many ways your business can help to regenerate Australia and protect our precious wildlife and wild places.”

Easy ways your business can be more-eco-friendly to protect wildlife

And those changes don’t have to be huge or difficult – with so many small businesses keen to be more sustainable and ethical, each small act of conservation makes a real difference.

WWF-Australia suggests:

  • Invest in an environmental audit to see what you can do differently in both the long and short term.
  • Consider switching to responsibly sourced materials in your production and packaging.
  • Introduce a reduce, reuse, recycle policy within the company and develop a process to facilitate it. Remember to include things like batteries, electronics, and soft plastics.
  • Swap to renewable energy sources in your workplace where possible.
  • Create a paper-free office policy if you haven’t already.
  • Set reachable and measurable conservation goals – then stick to them.
  • Make eco-conscious swaps wherever you can – from toilet paper to light bulbs to cleaning products.
world wildlife day 2023 official social image

Image design by Xavi Reñé | wildlifeday.org

Great Aussie wildlife conservation organisations to support

Aside from implementing everyday eco-conscious business practices, here are a few excellent Australian wildlife conservation organisations to support, either through donation, partnership, or patronage.


WIRES

WIRES is Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organisation, providing rescue advice, education, and assistance for over 130,000 native animals annually. Businesses can take part in a WIRES Wildlife Warriors corporate volunteering event where groups work together to produce helpful items such as joey pouches, possum boxes and wombat burrow flaps.

WWF-Australia

WWF-Australia’s business program, Partners in Purpose, is open to all small to medium-sized businesses. WWF-Australia launched the Partners in Purpose program with the aim to encourage smaller businesses to join forces and become part of the bigger solution to regenerate Australia.

“During the 2019/2020 bushfires, we received an overwhelming amount of support from small and medium businesses who wanted to amplify the work that we were doing,” says Ariahne Thompson. “We knew there must be a way to harness this power as a collective – and this is why we developed the Partners in Purpose program. It’s a simple yet powerful way to bring together a community of committed small to medium businesses and enterprises to join forces and create a brighter future for people, the planet and wildlife.”

Landcare Australia

Landcare Australia supports many projects that help to protect native wildlife, from improving local habitats and installing wildlife corridors to monitoring species communities for education and training. Participants in their Corporate Environmental Volunteering program have propagated and planted thousands of trees and plants, cleaned up beaches, learnt about land management from First Nations people, participated in citizen science activities, and removed tons of weeds across Australia.

Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors

Steve Irwin’s legacy lives on in the original Wildlife Warriors – the wildlife conservation project founded by Steve and sponsored by Australia Zoo. Small businesses can get involved by fundraising for the organisation, joining the Backyard Campout fundraiser, or becoming a Corporate Wildlife Warrior.

Support your local wildlife conservation organisations and operators too!

While the above corporations are very worthy of your backing, many small regional businesses are dedicated to wildlife education and conservation, so we also suggest looking local when on the hunt for a great organisation to support.

Here are a few local operators we love:

Sea Darwin

Top End eco-tourism operators Sea Darwin are dedicated to sustainability, education and eco-friendly practices. From low-emission vessels to sustainable marketing materials, this brilliant Aussie biz are the real deal – they even conduct annual marine rubbish collections prior to the local turtle nesting season. Book a team-building turtle or dolphin tour or charter a private boat for your next Christmas party.

Check out Sea Darwin’s story:

Hands On Wildlife

Hands On Wildlife is a mobile wildlife exhibitor that run educational workshops and events in the Townsville area. From hands-on experiences and pop-up zoos at birthday parties and schools, to online courses and professional training in wildlife relocation and handling, these guys are worth supporting.

Majestic Whale Encounters

Finalists in Australia’s Favourite Family Business 2020 competition, Majestic Whale Encounters is an Aussie eco-tourism business offering swimming with whales adventures all over the world. Dedicated to protecting the oceans and marine life in every territory they operate in, the company work with local programs and charities that help support communities as well as wildlife and environment conservation in each country they tour. They also run a Citizen Science program where guests can take part in data monitoring and collection programs to increase scientific knowledge of global ecosystems.

Earth Sanctuary

Earth Sanctuary is an Alice Springs-based tourism business where visitors can experience native wilderness coupled with sustainable living education and learn about technologies like wind and solar energy, water catchment and harvesting, horticulture, waste management and eco-domes. Book an informative astronomy tour, or an Outback Survivor program for your team.

If every small business in Australia took part in one of these great wildlife initiatives or supported an eco-friendly organisation, imagine the difference we could make?


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Now read this:

Six steps to building a successful profit-with-purpose business strategy