During 2008-09, 4% (or 40,800) of businesses had an environmental plan, policy or system in place. Of the 3,100 large businesses, 45% (or 1,400) had an environmental plan, policy or system in place. In contrast, only 3% (or 32,900 businesses) of small businesses, had an environmental plan, policy or system in place.
During 2008-09, the Mining industry had the largest proportion (41% or 1,600) of businesses with an environmental plan or policy or system in place. The Electricity, gas and waste services industry had the second largest proportion, with 20% (or 500 businesses).
The most common type of environmental plan, policy or system was a written environmental policy or plan with 3%. Large businesses were more likely to have a written environmental policy or plan, with 42%. In contrast, the proportion of small businesses with one of these policies or plans in place was only 2%.
During 2008-09, 29% (or 313,900) of all businesses undertook at least one environmental management activity. Environmental management activities include recycling or reuse of materials, environmental education and training of staff, undertaking a waste audit, and conducting an environmental impact assessment/risk assessment. The majority of large businesses engaged in environmental management activities with 75% (or 2,300 businesses) doing so . In contrast, only 27% (or 283,800) small businesses undertook an environmental management activity.
Of all the businesses operating in the Electricity, gas and waste services industry over the period, 53% (or 1,400 businesses) undertook environmental management activities. The Mining industry showed the second largest proportion with 49% (or 1,900 businesses) followed by Accommodation and food services industry with 44%. The Transport, postal and warehousing industry showed the lowest participation rate with 16%.
The main motivators for businesses to undertake environmental management practices were cost savings and ethical considerations, both 17% across the total of all businesses. Large businesses cited ethical reasons, compliance with Government regulations and cost savings as the main motivators for implementing these activities into their work practices, compared with small and medium sized businesses citing these same main motivators but with cost savings ahead of Government regulations.
During 2008-09, 22% (or 235,300) of all Australian businesses undertook water management practices. These activities included installing flow restrictors or other water saving devices/equipment/technology, reducing water use in amenity areas; undertaking staff education and training to reduce water use, and adjusting operations so that less water was required. Large businesses had the highest proportion undertaking water management practices with 60% (or 1,900 businesses). For the same period, small businesses had the smallest proportion undertaking water management practices at 20% (or 213,100 businesses).