A Very Positive Story

      16th July, 2021






















As lockdowns continue in various forms around the different states of Australia, there’s a dangerous tendency to focus on the negative and spiral into a bleak view of the world and its future. 

I believe it’s important to do the opposite, particularly at this unique time in the world, and focus on the many positive stories that are easily ignored.

I’m inspired by the work that one of my clients has been doing in his Queensland bus and coach business. Michael Baulch, owner of Emerald Coaches, has set an e-Mission Zero goal of replacing his fleet of approximately 120 diesel-powered buses with Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology by 2040. 

This is an ambitious and worthy goal and one that I am honoured to be supporting as Michael’s coach. I’m going to share more on this project in a few months time after the formal launch event of the project, so stay tuned for a really inspiring story of an Australian company that is seriously committed to contributing positively to our planet.  

In 2008 I co-wrote an article, examining organisations in the world at that time that were pioneering a high standard of environmental sustainability performance. We studied four companies: Ford Motor Company, Google, the carpet manufacturer InterfaceFLOR, and the Bendigo Bank (to give an Australian example). 

In the next series of these newsletters, I’m going to share the story of these companies and how they are making a positive difference to the planet in the area of environmental impact. 

I’m going to start with the Bendigo Bank. 

The Bendigo Bank in Australia is an example of a modern organisation that is committed to a sustainable approach. The bank has a business strategy of working for the benefit of its customers and their communities. Bendigo’s motivation is that “you can only run a sustainable business in a sustainable community”.


The bank sees that if they can help the community prosper and be an essential part of the community fabric then they are more likely to be supported and able to build a sustainable business. Bendigo has been able to build a number of successful business models by encouraging community members to purchase services from companies that are committed to retaining some of their earnings in the community.

Bendigo has demonstrated a world-class standard of environmental sustainability through a range of endeavours, including:

  • Providing “Green” home loans and personal loans at a reduced interest rate for customers who implement environmental sustainability initiatives in their homes such as installing solar hot-water heaters, double-glazed windows or water storage tanks.

  • Providing a comprehensive online sustainability guide on the Bendigo Bank website to help homeowners reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. 

  • In April 2008 the bank ran a successful “Ban the Bulb” project for communities in the Yarra Valley, offering local residents the chance to have free energy-efficient light bulbs installed in their home, with the installation also free of charge. The project was implemented in 4,500 homes throughout eight communities and involved the replacement of 63,000 globes, contributing to a saving of 63,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and a cost saving of $11,000,000 in energy bills over the next 15 years.

  • Building their head office in Bendigo to a standard that saw the building awarded the first ever 5 Star Greenstar rating by the Green Building Council of Australia. The building design includes sustainability features such as one of the first large-scale applications of under-floor air conditioning in Australia, an innovative external screening design to the large west-facing facade, and blackwater recycling. The bank subsequently built their Adelaide head office to a similar standard that also received a 5 Star Greenstar rating. 

  • Planting 18,329 trees across Australia as the bank’s contribution to the Greenfleet Program, improving water quality, reducing soil degradation and providing essential habitat for native wildlife.

  • Not lending to projects in the coal and coal seam gas sectors.

  • 70% percent of the power the bank purchases is matched against renewable sources. 

  • Implementing their Follow Me Printing print reduction initiative that allows staff to select documents to print from a networked printer, reducing unclaimed, misprinted or lost documents. The bank also has a continuing commitment to purchase 100 percent carbon neutral paper for all sites.



If you’re a business owner or executive who has a genuine interest in improving the environmental impact of your organisation, take inspiration from the work of the Bendigo Bank.


Notice how specific and measurable the range of initiatives are that the bank has implemented. There is nothing fluffy about what they have done. It’s solid, real, pragmatic work that has become part of the way this large organisation operates. 


Keep your eyes out for next month's blog to hear how Google is helping to make the planet a better place, including significant funding of renewable energy research, particularly wind and energy. 

David McDermott