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Small business is the missing piece in Australia’s net zero future

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Small business is the missing piece in Australia’s net zero future
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In the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) starting on 31st October Powershop wants to encourage small business to do some small things to reduce their carbon footprint. One small act like changing your energy provider can have a giant impact.

New research from Powershop Australia shows Australia’s 2.4 million small businesses can have an outsized impact on Australia’s total carbon emissions if, like many large companies at the top end of town, they commit to reducing their carbon footprint year on year.

With just over half of Australia’s 80 top emitting ASX200 companies setting net zero or carbon neutral goals and some of Australia’s biggest brands committing to purchasing 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025, Powershop has worked with data partner Geografia, to uncover the impact Australia’s small business sector could have.

The data has found Australia’s 2.4 million SMEs emit about 146.5 million tonnes of the nation's carbon emissions annually, and by making some small changes they can help take the equivalent of 15 million  of cars off the road.

Key points:

Illustration of Australia with 40% written inside
Australia’s 2.4 million SMEs emit 40% of the nation's carbon emissions

Illustration of energy, gas and food items
The data has found the average cafe emits the most carbon through their energy use and food sources

Illustration of buildings with a crane representing construction
By industry, the construction industry emits the most carbon through their material inputs and waste

Illustration of a footprint and number 30% next to it
Powershop has found switching energy providers can reduce a SMEs in the retail or hospitality spaces carbon footprint by 30%, just by switching to a carbon neutral energy retailer

Case studies:

We’ve partnered with some existing and new Powershop customers across a range of industries to understand the journey a small business embarks on to reduce their energy carbon footprint.


From Bec, co-founder: “We set up Harvey to work with businesses actively improving the world. As part of this, we’ve become more informed about the impact of our personal decisions on global environmental/social issues. We previously felt like any action we took wouldn't really make a difference. That's changed for us, partly because there's more momentum in the community, partly because of what we’ve learnt about small actions actually having a significant impact, let alone the principle of it.

The Harvey team in their office in Melbourne

What helped us was firstly acknowledging the overwhelm we felt and learning to tackle a huge issue like the Climate Crisis one step at a time. While owning an electric vehicle or getting solar panels aren’t really an option immediately, we could switch to 100% carbon neutral energy usage with Powershop in just a few easy clicks. It’s about progress, not perfection.

So when we were setting up our core business operations, it made sense to select service providers that were not only not destructive but creating a positive impact. By simply switching our bank, superfund and energy we were able to reduce our carbon footprint and our desire for a better future was made more attainable and actionable.”

Harvey is a strategic marketing team helping conscious businesses grow. Their clients (including Bank Australia, Beyond Zero Emissions, Kester Black and Jasper Coffee) are allies of people and planet, positively impacting one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Harvey exists to unlock the potential of the New Economy to leave behind a better world by equipping businesses with the tools they need to grow - from brand and marketing strategy, digital and eCommerce marketing and hands-on website building, content creation and digital ads management. They’re also a certified B Corporation committed to balancing profit and purpose.

Nobody Denim

Since 1999, Nobody Denim has been celebrated in Australia and around the world for premium denim, clothing, and jeans. Nobody believe in the longevity of our country as much as that of their collections, which is why their longstanding commitment to ethical manufacturing principles offers a unique vision of responsible design. Based in Melbourne, this year Nobody have committed to using a renewable energy retailer, Powershop, across their head office, Thornbury factory and Fitzroy based laundry, opting for a proportion of their energy to be GreenPower.

An average retail businesses carbon footprint:
Electricity - 40% Transport - 27% Materials - 22% Labour - 10% Other utilities - 1%. Source: Geografia
Retail is the second largest emitter (11.9%) with construction the largest of the four (76%), professional services (6.7%) and accommodation and hospitality (5.7%) are third and fourth, making up a total of 6.6 million tonnes emitted by the SMEs in these four industries.


HIP V. HYPE is an ethical, socially conscious and environmentally focused property developer, sustainability consulting practice and work share provider. They collaborate to resolve more environmentally sustainable, more socially responsible and more commercially intuitive solutions for a better built environment.

“At HIP V. HYPE, our aim is to influence and build the more equitable, resilient and prosperous future we deserve. We lead by example and our impact comes from demonstrating the value of our approach to customers and competitors. Our projects target 8+ star energy ratings, are 100% electric and run entirely off GreenPower. We also offset embodied carbon."

"Partnering with Powershop is a natural fit and has enabled us to provide our team and our current & future customers with an opportunity to lead and live with a lighter touch on our natural environment. We are delighted to be supporting Powershop’s pledge for greater action to achieve net zero and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.”

Guy Turland

Guy Turland is a trained International Chef, Restauranteur, TV Host & Cookbook Author from Bondi Beach Australia, who has worked in some of Australia’s best restaurants. Opening his first café at the age of 21 ‘Depot in North Bondi’ he then went on to start an international food and travel media brand Bondi Harvest.

Guy says, "Depot team believes every small step, improvement, and change we make towards a greener, more environmentally conscious world is a step in the right direction. Living by this ethos has seen us implement small and constant changes to how we operate our business; such as swapping to compostable paper cups, composting our green waste, and our latest endeavour, utilising our used coffee grinds to grow mushrooms.

While looking for our next green improvement we stumbled upon Powershop and it was a no-brainer choice to change where our power comes from and if it means reducing our carbon footprint. What surprised us the most is not only how simple it was to swap over from our existing power supplier to Powershop but that we have saved money by swapping. Making the swap was not only morally and environmentally better but from a business perspective financially smarter as well. It's truly been a win-win option for us!”

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