Local businesses are following international trends to shift to cleaner technologies and improve efficiencies to reduce their water and electricity usage. The Central West Catchment Management Authority recently ran a program for local businesses which turned up some signigicant savings in energy, water and resource usage and a boost to sustainable business practice in our region. The CMA launched it’s Resource Efficiency toolket for medium to small business at the Bathurst Sustainability Expo last Saturday.

The move to clean technology is an international trend and ‘clean tech’ as it is known is fast becoming the big growth industry for this century. The Australian clean technology industry now generates revenue of nearly $30 billion a year and employs well over 50,000 people. The biggest growth sectors in the cleantech industry were found to be solar power, water (management), energy efficiency, and green building.

This substantial revenue base makes clean tech one quarter the size of Australia’s whole manufacturing sector, and bigger than the nation’s auto manufacturing sector. According to a new study by advisory firm Australian Cleantech, the cleantech sector employs five times as many people per dollar of revenue than general manufacturing does.

In case you were wondering, the cleantech sector is defined as products and services that have both economic and ecological benefits. Some of these products and services include renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste and recycling, water management, and carbon trading.

Not surprisingly, the states of NSW and Victoria were found to be the most active states in cleantech, with solar, water, wind, and environmental services all creating more than a billion dollars in revenue last year. Overall, the cleantech industry generated 2.0% of Australia’s GDP in 2012, which was up from 1.8% the year before.

In coming Sustainable Bathurst Columns we will share with you some of the steps towards sustainability taken by a number of successful local businesses who are embracing clean technologies.

Tracey Carpenter is President of Bathurst Community Climate Action Network