9 Sustainable Australian companies to learn from

Aug 18, 2022 by Mark Dingley

Thinking packaging improvements that are good for the environment? We are too


Consumers are demanding that brands be more sustainable. More than eight in 10 Australians (81%) agree that clearly demonstrating a commitment to sustainability adds value to a brand, and 77% say that they want brands to demonstrate their actual sustainability record alongside their commitments, according to a BBC study.

They’re willing to pay for it too – almost three in four (73%) are happy to pay more for brands with strong sustainability and eco-friendly practices. And 40% of Asia-Pacific consumers plan to increase their spending on sustainable products in the next three years, according to the latest sustainability research by Bain & Company,

To deliver what consumers want, there’s a growing group of forward-thinking companies in Australia who are evolving with them. Big and small, these companies are doing more than jumping on the green bandwagon, they are exploring and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the sustainability space to propel their industry forward.

Wherever you are in your sustainability journey, it’s worth looking to the brands that are leading the way in sustainability and learning some different ways to approach the challenge.

Sustainable Australian Companies

Credit: Planet Protector Packaging


In no particular order, here’s our list of sustainable Australian companies to be inspired by:

Goterra: Waste Management Ecosystems

Australia wastes some 7.3 million tonnes of food each year – it’s a growing problem faced by businesses in hospitality, retail and food processing.

Since it is difficult to control how food is wasted, Australian company Goterra has found a way to control how food waste is processed. Founded by Olympia Yarger in 2016, Goterra has created a robotic technology that uses maggots to offer a new way to manage waste.

Officially known as “Modular Infrastructure for Biological Services” (MIBs), the technology uses insects to process food waste. Over the course of 12 days, black soldier fly larvae convert food waste into high-value, low-impact protein and fertiliser. This reduces emissions from landfill by up to 97% while also producing a third less emissions than composting.

Woolworths Group has already partnered with Goterra to help achieve their zero waste target by 2025. Currently, Goterra handles food waste produced by Woolworths’ Canberra stores that, for various reasons, cannot be donated to hunger relief charities such as OzHarvest, or used for animal feed.

Councils are also looking to the waste solution, with Albury City Council being the first LGA in Australia to process waste using insects at a commercial site. The Albury site, just over the Victorian border into NSW, is set up to process food waste from Woolworths, retail, hospitality and community operators, along with food producers from the region.

Sustainable Australian Companies

Credit: Goterra

Woolworths Group: Sustainability Plan

Speaking of Woolworths, the company is leading the way when it comes to sustainability goals. In 2020, Woolworths Group released its Better Tomorrow 2025 Plan, outlining its sustainability ambitions across the pillars of people, product and planet.

Then, it put its money where its mouth is. Over the past two years, the company has launched a raft of initiatives including: ? Transition to 100% renewable energy by 2025 ? Commitment to become net carbon positive by 2050 (if not sooner) ? Validation of its climate targets by the Science Based Targets Initiate ? Conversion of meat trays to be 100% recyclable ? Removal of single-use plastic picnicware ? Launch of paper shopping bags

The supermarket was also the first Australian supermarket to start using 2D barcodes in August 2019. It started with fresh meat and poultry products, making it easy to view each item’s batch, supplier and use-by date.

As a result, Woolworths has reduced its food waste by up to 40%. Using the codes, retail teams can identify if a product is approaching its expiry date and proactively mark it down, so it can still be sold rather than thrown away.

The company even announced the launch of its latest in-store collectible, the Disney “Fix-ems”, which are made from at least 80% recycled material.

With all this, it’s no surprise Woolworths topped the list in the inaugural The Australian Financial Review ‘Sustainability Leaders’ list in June 2022, while being crowned the overall 2022 Sustainability Leader for impact.

Lavo Energy: Hydrogen batteries for the home

Lavo’s mission is to change the way people live with energy – nothing too ambitious then! Developed in partnership with the University of NSW, their LAVO hydrogen hybrid battery uses cutting-edge hydrogen technology to store more than 40kWh of electricity – enough to power the average Australian home for two days.

It can also integrate with people’s rooftop solar systems and can last for around 30 years, which is three times longer than many lithium batteries – even the celebrated Tesla Powerwall.


Containing both a water purifier and electrolyser, the battery enables the solar energy to separate the hydrogen from the water, let the oxygen go, and then store the hydrogen safely as a solid material by combining it with an absorptive metal. The hydrogen is then leaked out through a pressure reduction and diverted into a fuel cell.


The company has also recently secured $5 million in funding from the New South Wales Regional Job Creation Fund, as it will create up to 250 local jobs in the Hunter Region.


Planet Protector Packaging

Topping The Australian Financial Review ‘Sustainability Leaders’ list for innovation in 2022 was Planet Protector Packaging.

The business is setting out to eliminate polystyrene by making a sustainable thermal packaging, using waste wool, that doesn’t harm the planet. Founder and CEO Joanne Howarth was inspired six years ago when she saw first-hand the problem with polystyrene packaging. She had a contract with what is now Australia’s largest meal kit provider and couldn’t believe the volume of polystyrene moving through the warehouse.

So Howarth set about creating an alternative. The result is Woolpack, which uses natural thermal properties of wool to protect temperature sensitive products. It also diverts waste wool from landfill and transforms it into a valuable commodity. The wool liners can also be reused multiple times and have been proven to keep content below five degrees Celsius for well over 24 hours, and between 2-8 degrees Celsius for 72 hours and more.

The company has big ambitions. With Australia and New Zealand only making up 1.3% of the global market for packaging, they want to expand overseas to accelerate their impact.

Qantas: Carbon Offset Program

The carbon-offsetting market has grown tremendously over the past few years. A growing number of companies is looking to purchase credits from projects that help avert or remove greenhouse gas emissions through things like turning methane seeping from landfill sites into biogas or keeping carbon-storing forests standing.

One of the first Australian companies to launch carbon offsetting in a big way was Qantas. The Australian airline has been offsetting emissions for more than a decade, with the Fly Carbon Neutral offsetting program now one of the largest of any airline in the world.

The company recognised that simply asking consumers to “tick the box” to offset their carbon emission wasn’t enough. So in 2019, they started rewarding Qantas Frequent Flyer members and Qantas Business Rewards with 10 Qantas Points for every dollar spent on offsetting. Best of all, Qantas matches dollar-for-dollar every contribution, which effectively doubles the program’s impact.

Then, last year, they announced Qantas frequent flyers will be awarded loyalty points and “green tier” status if they offset emissions from not only their flights, but their cars and homes.

It’s not only consumers who can offset their emissions; through the Qantas Future Planet program, they have offset emissions for more than 40 businesses, including Australia Post, DHL, T2, Allens Linklaters and KFC.

Brookfarm: Kerbside recyclable spout pouch

Brookfarm has launched a world-first kerbside recyclable soft plastic pouch with its “Roll ‘N’ Recycle” program.

Put simply, the design turns two-dimensional soft packaging into a three-dimensional shape, allowing it to be sorted correctly at the recycling facility. Because they can go straight into the home recycling bin, they don’t require the consumer to drop off soft plastic packaging to a REDcycle point, which ultimately encourages them to recycle more.

As a result, Brookfarm has the opportunity to divert up to two million bags from landfill per year.

Designed by OF Packaging, the packaging includes a green “Roll ‘N’ Recycle” logo on the front and easy instructions on how to “Roll ‘N’ Recycle” on the back of the pouch:

Roll it up. Put the sticker on. Pop it in the recycling bin.

Sustainable Australian Companies

Credit: Brookfarm

At the same time, the packaging can still keep the product fresh. Rather than using complex lamination, Brookfarm has been able to move to a sophisticated mono polymer created by Close The Loop to create a fully recyclable pack (Recycle 4 LDPE). As a result, Close The Loop has won the top global sustainability award for packaging, the Diamond Award for the 2021 Dow Packaging Innovation Awards.

Who Gives A Crap

We can’t make a list of sustainable Australian businesses without including our favourite eco-friendly toilet paper company, Who Gives A Crap.

Founded by Simon Griffiths, WGAC contributes a massive 50% of all profits to funding sanitation solutions, and has donated more than $10 million to impact partners around the globe.

The company now sells products in around 40 countries, naturally using carbon-neutral shipping to reduce environmental impact. WGAC has recently raised $41.5m in capital to fund expansion and provide sustainable sanitation solutions to two billion people. The funds are to be used for expansion into new countries, upscaling its sustainability initiatives, and to accelerate its mission.

Sustainable Australian Companies

Credit: Who Gives A Crap



Lark Distillery: Carbon Neutral

Lark just took home the honour of Sustainable Distillery of the Year in the World Whisky Awards, testament to their efforts to remain 100% Carbon Neutral.

As head distiller Chris Thomson says, “Tasmania’s climate is extremely important to the way we produce and develop our spirits. At Lark, we believe it is our duty to reduce the impact we have on the local climate and preserve the conditions that have shaped our spirits and brands in the past so that we can continue to grow in the future.”

The distillery has reduced its ecological footprint to receive a climate-neutral certification from the Australian government’s initiative, Climate Active – the most credible carbon-neutral certification in the country.

Here’s what they are doing: ? Purchased a whopping 1,500 tonnes of carbon credits by the end of autumn 2021. ? Reduced the size of their outer packing by 30%, which includes removing all foam inserts used to stabilise the bottle while shipping. ? Replaced plastic bubble wrap in online shipments with the purchase of a cardboard recycling shredder. ? Aiming to finalise the purchase of “green gas” from their energy supplier, making Lark one of the first companies in Tasmania to switch to “green gas.”

CSIRO: Printed flexible solar film

An honourable mention goes to the CSIRO, which continues to find new ways to advance sustainable actions. With global energy demands continuing to rise, CSIRO predicts that a range of low-cost solar technologies will be crucial to meeting the energy needs of both the developed and developing world. That’s why they are developing new materials and processes to produce thin, flexible and semi-transparent solar cells based on printable ‘solar inks’.

These inks are deposited onto flexible plastic films using a range of processes such as slot-die coating and screen printing. The solar panels are lightweight and thin, which means they can provide immediate power for remote outback locations and developing communities. And because they are flexible, the solar panels can be integrated into windows, tents, awnings, backpacks, and even consumer packaging. It’s no surprise then that the CSIRO is now keen to partner with Australian businesses to propel flexible solar manufacturing in Australia.

The most inspirational part of the story? Victoria’s ‘second-wave’ COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 meant top researchers could not use their labs and had to innovate from their homes!

This work has been carried out by the Victorian Organic Solar Cell (VICOSC) Consortium, a research collaboration between CSIRO, Monash University, the University of Melbourne, BlueScope Steel, Innovia Films, Innovia Security and Robert Bosch SEA, and is supported by funding from the Victorian State Government and the Australian Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Over to you

These are just some of the Australian companies that aren’t just talking the talk when it comes to green action. Here are some more companies doing great things with sustainable manufacturing and here are some of the top innovations with biodegradable packaging, from popcorn packaging to Skittles packets that you can compost at home.

As London Tech Week 2022 recently showed, “What is good for the planet is good for business”. So, how can you prove to customers you are making decisions based on their environmental impact?