Barney Maple urges businesses to become sustainable

Barney Maple combines his passions of photography and sustainability.

“SUSTAINABILITY is now business as usual.”

That was the message to attendees from Nicole McLennan, Section Leader, Economic Development and Tourism for the City of Coffs Harbour at a 6 Degrees seminar at the National Cartoon Gallery on June 1.

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Ms McLennan was introducing Barney Maple, a business sustainability expert and landscape photographer who combines both with his passion for helping organisations overcome sustainability challenges.

“’We take, we make, we waste’ is the traditional business model,” Mr Maple told the audience.

He talked briefly about the circular economy, whereby products or the materials from which they are made, are kept in use through repairing, recycling and redesign for as long as possible, so they can be used again and again.

Mr Maple spent a significant part of his presentation stressing the need for organisations and businesses to decarbonise, warning that businesses that do not decarbonise will have ‘stranded assets’.

He said that decarbonising is a major part of ‘future proofing’ a business.

For example, he said that transportation costs need to be factored in and that electric vehicles (EVs) are now nearing price parity with traditional vehicles, which will result in fleets of fossil fuel driven vehicles being unsaleable.

Businesses must be planning now to understand their emissions and carbon footprint, said Mr Maple, and that there was government support to help them.

For example, he shared that any form of ‘destination’ business, such as a café or winery, can get a 75 percent rebate to install an EV charging station.

Mr Maple concluded by telling the audience that sustainability was something that should be part of our whole lives, not just an aspect of business planning.

He urged them to be leaders in their areas and collaborate with like-minded others.

Mr Maple said it is essential that we connect with place, with the nature around us, to appreciate the need for sustainability in our lives.

Participants also had the opportunity to chat with other local sustainability experts, Lynn Delgado from Low Carbon Consulting, Jessica Steinborner, a community sustainability educator and Jess Eggeling from the Waste Office and City of Coffs Harbour.

Economic Development and Tourism newsletters can be found at and Mr Maple’s website is

By Andrew VIVIAN

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