October 24, 2023

Ana Marinkovic: Why it pays to go green

Understandably, the last thing small businesses need is another overhead. But what if it saved you money in the long term – a lot of money? NAB Executive Small Business Ana Marinkovic explains the financial upside of reduced carbon emissions.

Many small businesses are working hard at the moment. It’s why it’s not surprising that ‘going green’ simply isn’t a priority for so many of the clients I meet with.

They may be concerned about the environment and would like to contribute to the move towards ‘net zero’ emissions, but it’s labour shortages, interest rates and the next tax bill that are front of mind.

The problem is, ignoring the push to reduce emissions is selling them – and their businesses – short.

That’s because going green isn’t simply about saving the planet; it’s a real opportunity for cost-cutting – the natural by-product of a more efficient business and better use of energy.

And not only does going green save you money in the short to medium term, it also goes a long way to ensuring the long-term sustainability of your business – particularly in this rapidly changing climate of ours.

The financial upside

It’s why I believe it’s imperative we engage small businesses on this issue. Above all, you need to be aware of how much you stand to gain, now and in the future.

According to clean tech startup Greener for Business, switching to LED lighting could save the average small business $2,300 or more a year, while installing rooftop solar could mean upwards of $7,000 saved each year within the space of just five years.

And there are other savings to be had. Take a customer from Western Australia involved in demolition work. They invested in electric mini dumpers with the aim of lowering their costs and emissions.

According to them , the new dumpers are rechargeable by any external 10 amp power source, which reduces fuel costs significantly. They are also quieter, emit no harmful emissions, and require very basic maintenance compared to a combustion engine – another great opportunity to save them money over the long term.

Then there are the customers, also from Western Australia, who run a cafe and recently bought a new Loring coffee roaster. Sourced from California, it uses a single flame to heat the air, which is then recirculated. This not only ups our customer’s green credentials –– it also saves them a huge amount of time and money. Funnily enough, the roaster failed its first inspection because the inspector couldn’t believe a coffee roaster could be that energy efficient!

Finding the help out there

 Granted, such investments come at an upfront cost. But they can be minimised by tapping into the numerous grants and deals currently available.

For example, there’s the Federal Government’s instant asset write-off. The (soon to be extended) $20,000 threshold applies on a per asset basis, so small businesses* can instantly write off multiple assets in the same financial year.

There’s also the proposed small business energy incentive. This would provide small businesses# with an extra 20 per cent deduction on spending that supports electrification and more efficient use of energy.

Then there are the many deals from various energy companies and other organisations seeking to improve their own green credentials

Buying time

Clearly, it’s not just about the money though.

I know that small businesses are chronically time poor, which makes the transition to net zero one more administrative headache.

This attitude was made clear in a recent survey of small businesses in the US. It found that 95 per cent of small business owners believed sustainability was important. However, over one in three (35 per cent) admitted they weren’t trying to reduce their carbon footprint because, essentially, it was too hard.

This is why I believe there’s a responsibility to make the transition to net zero as simple as possible.

Some groups are already doing their bit. Take Queensland’s ecoBiz, a free program that helps businesses develop an action plan to save money and increase efficiencies.

Then there’s Greener for Business who give businesses access to their own simple, step-by-step climate action plan, providing practical tools and resources to help them get greener and reduce their carbon footprint.

In fact, NAB has partnered with Greener in recognition of the important role banks also need to play in helping our customers go green.

The big picture

 Small businesses represent nearly 98 per cent of businesses in Australia. It’s important we support them to get on board to help meet our country’s transition to net zero, and we all need to play our part.

Going green, sooner rather than later, could well help your business survive – and even thrive – now and in the years to come.


NAB Ventures Pty Ltd currently has a minority shareholding in Greener Global Pty Ltd ABN 70 644 562 014 (Greener). Greener does not form part of, and operates independently of, the NAB Group. The NAB Group does not guarantee the services of Greener.

*With an aggregated turnover less than $10 million. Eligibility criteria applies.  The increased threshold is awaiting formal approval. For information see www.ato.gov.au/General/New-legislation/In-detail/Direct-taxes/Small-Business-Support—$20,000-instant-asset-write-off/

#With an annual turnover less than $50 million. The incentive is not yet available. For information see www.ato.gov.au/General/New-legislation/In-detail/Direct-taxes/Small-business-energy-incentive/

Ana Marinkovic – Making the most of holiday trading

Ana Marinkovic – Making the most of holiday trading

29 November 2023

The holiday season shopping flurry can offer some small businesses the opportunity to prosper… and others a time to take stock for the new year. Both call for careful preparation – particularly in the current environment. NAB Executive Small Business Ana Marinkovic shares her top tips.

Ana Marinkovic – Making the most of holiday trading