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Lead, donít follow on climate change

Lead, don't follow on climate change Australian businesses urged - Business Clean Up Day

26 February 2008 - Australian businesses must develop sustainable practices that benefit the wider community if they are remain competitive in economies rapidly changing due to the threat of climate change, leading business executives said today following the success of the national Business Clean Up Day.

Veolia Environmental Services today also urged greater effort by Australia businesses to lead on, not simply react to, the challenges posed by climate change and reduce their carbon footprint to create new business opportunities.

"As businesses around Australia are becoming more aware of the pressing issues of climate change there is a sense of reaction rather than anticipation for the impending environmental, social and economic implications," Tony Cade, Group General Manager of Marketing and Business Development at Veolia Environmental Services Australia said.

"In order to develop workable solutions towards climate change, businesses need to be one step ahead and ensure they are developing sustainable business ideologies, technologies and relationships in order to reduce their carbon footprint, and moreover encourage their counterparts to do the same."

Catriona Noble, Chief Operating Officer at McDonald's Australia said the company's long term business planning was focused on not just reducing the environmental impacts of its operations but on improving the lives of future generations as well.

"As a business leader we should also be an environmental leader. We will continue to target the areas of energy, waste and water, the production and supply of materials and products; and other practices or procedures that may have a potential impact on the environment."

"However, the major challenge for us in relation to climate change is not only analysing every aspect of our business in terms of its impact on the environment but actually implementing changes nationwide that will have a positive impact on the lives of future generations while still maintaining a high performing business."

Both companies were yesterday among hundreds involved in a range of environmental activities, such as waste reduction and recycling, as part of Clean Up Australia's Business Clean Up Day.

McDonald's Australia and Veolia Environmental Services are majors sponsors of Clean Up Australia Day alongside sponsor Sanyo and suppliers; Paramount Safety, Qantas, Shop-a-docket, Stockland Retail, BD and Look Print.

Ian Kiernan AO, Chairman of Clean Up Australia, urged business to adopt as a first step simple and cost effective measures to help them become more sustainable.

"Office recycling is not yet happening everywhere but it has a vital role to play in reducing waste to landfill and greenhouse gas emissions. It also helps to educate and change environmental behaviour across the board."

Media contact: Alana Mew, 0423 377 567