On the eve of the G20 in Brisbane, Brisbane-based company EC3 Global held an event at which South Bank Corporation was recognised for its achievement of being the first EarthCheck Silver Certified precinct in Australia.

Stewart Moore, CEO of EC3 Global which owns the EarthCheck platform, says South Bank is a world-class precinct, which is “doing some really exciting stuff”.

The Sustainable Leaders Forum at which the announcement was made, brought together global sustainable business achievers from as far away as Mexico and New Zealand. Held on the eve of the G20, it was about “recognising that it’s in our home town, it’s on our turf; we’re bringing people to Brisbane so Brisbane should be stepping up and saying well actually in our space which is about sustainable tourism we are world leaders,” says Stewart.

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EC3 Global is a South East Queensland based cooperative research centre that has grown into a company which touches six million consumers a week, with clients and partners in more than 70 countries realising $100 million dollars in savings by reducing water and energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Stewart says people’s attitudes are changing and when it comes to sustainability and the global footprint, there are changing expectations both in tourism destinations and local businesses. “A lot of people’s expectations are that where they stay should be, on their behalf, doing the right thing,” he says, “so I think the expectation is ‘you mean you’re not doing it?’ rather than ‘this is what you should be doing’.

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“Sustainability is just good business. It’s not anything other than being more effective and efficient in the use of resources, and if you’re a good business you should have been doing it anyway; you shouldn’t have to be asked to do it.” Stewart says, “If you’re more effective you use less, it costs you less money and ultimately you’re smarter with what you’re doing.”

The themes which continually arose at the EC3 Global forum were partnership, communication, cooperation and connection, both with government and other businesses in surrounding areas.

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Stewart says successful destinations work “because you have a bottom-up passion from people working together, who have to learn to cluster and share ideas”. He urges local businesses to recognise and acknowledge their local champions, like South Bank, follow their lead, and in this way work in a “top-down fashion”.

Even little businesses, he says, can achieve something just by recognising that by working together they can do better things for the community and reduce their operational footprint. “If you just get those open lines of communication and you start sharing ideas the rest just happens. It’s just organic.”

Words by Sarah Camm