Balancing enviromental sustainability and financial ROI
Getting through the Tough Times
Balancing environmental sustainability, quality wildlife experiences and financial ROI
The following have been named as dilemmas for some small operators, or perhaps for everyone during the tough times (e.g, after the floods and cyclones of early 2011 which prompted many travellers to cancel their Australian holidays for months afterwards):
- affording the costs of accreditation, memberships and eco-related conferences, especially if just starting out or going through a tough period – finding the time to travel to and attend conferences is also critical for one-person business or small family-run businesses
- changing from standard energy supplies to solar and other alternatives can be prohibitive if done all at once – what are some of the pros and cons, tips on doing it etc. If going solar, is it better to be solely on the grid, a stand-alone system with batteries (and if so, which batteries) or a mix of the two?
- changing to energy-efficient vehicles - which ways are the safest, most efficient and most affordable? Which vehicles are best-equipped to run on E10 and which, if any, could be damaged by it? Is it true that all biofuel in Australia is grown and harvested in environmentally-friendly ways, with no destruction of native habitats?
- affording fencing, labour etc. for habitat restoration – what assistance might be available for this?
- affordable insurance for small operations (e.g. freelance guides, small businesses, tour that involve additional risk such as horse-riding and kyaking) and insurance for landowners whose property you may wish to use (this can be surprisingly problematical and stops us from rewarding landowners for retaining wildlife habitat). Mal Barnes of AIB has kindly suggested we look at the changes to insurance needed for taking tourists into National Parks: http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/permits/public-liability.html
- cost of advertising – sometimes overlooked by new companies working out their budgets, and a confusing array of potential ‘opportunities’ are thrown at operators in general
Attracting and satisfying paying customers while staying environmentally sound may promote dilemmas – e.g.
- providing guests with things that are often in demand but are energy-hungry such as spa baths and air-conditioning (what are some alternatives that are less wasteful but acceptable to guests?)
- feeding wildlife consistently to ensure guests can quickly see them (what alternatives are there, or how can we feed some in an environmentally sustainable way?)
- seeking grants from organizations whose environmental and social credentials may be in doubt
- other dilemmas – feel free to add your comments below
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