(6.30pm 1 August 2011, Lord Mayor's Reception Room)
Thank you, Chris Derksema and welcome, everyone. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.
I'd also like to welcome the City of Sydney's CEO, Monica Barone, and Councillor John McInerney and Paul Mulley and David Trewin from our partner organisations, Sydney Water and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
Our Smart Green Business program began as a pilot program in September 2009, initially in partnership with Sydney Water.
It proved to be a huge success, with businesses saving - on average - 2.4 megalitres of water in the first year and saving a total of over $800,000 in annual water bills for all the businesses involved - about $6,400 a year for each individual business.
It also made us aware of the need many small-to-medium businesses in our local government area have for expert advice and guidance towards greater sustainability.
Small business makes an important contribution to Sydney's success. Eighty-five per cent of the operations in the City are small businesses, employing less than 20 people.
Medium-sized businesses, with up to 200 staff, employ a third of the workforce, while large businesses employ the rest.
Together, your businesses make a tremendous contribution to the vibrancy and viability of our city villages, and are increasingly bringing interest and a wider range of choices to our CBD.
We are well aware of your importance to the economic and social vitality of our city and we support you in many ways - from our dedicated staff who look after the business precincts and develop strategies and support networks, to September Small Business Month to our annual Small Business Awards.
The Smart Green Business program we're launching this evening adds a new dimension to that support system, helping you make your business more sustainable, and helping us reach the ambitious targets set out in our strategy for Sustainable Sydney 2030.
The great cities of the 21st century will be the ones which respond rapidly and creatively to the challenges of climate change and we are proud of the progress we are making towards reaching our targets.
We have reduced our own carbon footprint significantly, and we are here to help you do the same - and, at the same time, to make significant savings in your operating costs.
The Smart Green Business program will help us reach our target of a 70 per cent reduction on 2006 greenhouse emissions by 2030 and the new waste audits will help us divert 66 per cent of waste to landfill by 2014.
The program has been developed by the City with Sydney Water and the Office of Environment and Heritage and provides free, hands-on advice on sustainability, water and waste audits, and a referral to subsidised energy-efficiency programs.
Sustainability is smart business, and as well as saving money and saving our environment, it also engages staff and gives the edge in an increasingly environmentally aware marketplace.
Once again, I thank our partners at Sydney Water and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
I thank all those who took part in the pilot program - including Lachlan Feggans from Fuji Xerox, who'll tell us about Fuji's experience in the pilot
I'll now hand you back to Chris Derksema to tell you about the City's sustainability program and give you more detail on the Smart Green Business program.