Sustainability a key issue when doing business with younger generation

Gold Coast companies at the forefront of social and environmental change

Sep 28, 2023, updated Sep 28, 2023
Southport's Cohort Innovation Space attracts sustainable businesss such as Little Phil

Southport's Cohort Innovation Space attracts sustainable businesss such as Little Phil

Flourishing Gold Coast businesses are shifting their vision from shareholder bottom lines towards societal expectations when it comes to appeasing the sustainable generation.

Craig Gillam, Co-founder and Head of Brand and Customer Experience for all-in-one social impact platform Little Phil (short for Little Philanthropist) said the business idea started in 2017 when a fellow founder was in Peru as part of a volunteer program.

 “Originally Little Phil set to spice up charitable giving but cutting out the middleman, who was a necessary evil for charity but there was a better way of doing it,” Gillam said.

“We are about supporting non-profits with digital fundraising tools using a better way which is scaled. We are an all-in-one digital fundraising platform which saves non-profits 90 per cent of their overheads.

“Our mission to create an all-in-one giving platform and ecosystem of giving platform with sustainable and social responsibility all in the one melting pot. It’s a big mission but one that we’re here for.”

Little Phil, which currently employs six staff, deploys a staff attraction and retention strategy by giving employees a credit to donate to their favourite charities.

Little Phil Co-Founder Craig Gillam

Based in the Cohort Innovation Space at Southport, Little Phil also allows staff to work from home 80 per cent of the time to reduce carbon emissions from driving.

Being a fully digital platform there is no need for printing and promotional materials are made from recycled materials, not plastic.

Gillam said there was “really no better lifestyle” than the Gold Coast in which to do business.

“It has always been a beautiful place to live and an amazing place to do business. The Health and Knowledge precinct, in which we work, is a real example of that,” he said.

“The Gold Coast has that laidback lifestyle of yesteryear but you can do business on a global scale.”

Most recently, the company received the Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Award for Sustainability and Social Responsibility.

Little Phil Mobile App

Griffith University Business School Pro Vice Chancellor Business Caitlin Byrne said younger generations were concerned about their own future as well as the future of the planet “in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world”.

“They are looking to business, big and small, to double-down on purpose and values beyond shareholder profit and to deliver more inclusive and healthier economies that benefit the societies we live in, while respecting and nurturing the planet. And they are not afraid of disruption, especially where technology becomes an enabler,” Byrne said.

“At the Griffith Business School we’ve been shaping our degree programs and working with industry to ensure we can provide the kind of business education experiences that will set our graduates up to be successful leaders of the future. Our MBA program – ranked #1 globally by Corporate Knights for sustainable business three years in a row – is a great example of our leadership and testament to the achievements of our graduates.

“It’s truly fascinating to think that Gen Z have only ever known a world in which the internet looms large. And they have also come through the pandemic at a formative time in their lives. These factors are perhaps the most critical to understanding Gen Z expectations of contemporary business  – from the preference for digital access, engagement and solutions through to an emphasis on the value of experience over the cost of the transaction.”

Griffith University Professor Caitlin Byrne

Byrne said corporate objectives could no longer “sit in isolation or ignorance” of community and societal expectations.

“Environmental sustainability and social equity are interdependent concepts – or put another way they reflect two sides of the same coin,” she said.

“For Australia, as well as many nations across Asia Pacific, this dual challenge recognises that improving societal outcomes must be achieved within the limits of the planet and at the same time advancing environmental sustainability will underpin new opportunities to improve the quality of life, support better livelihoods and create better future for all.

“Businesses need to bring diverse voices and perspectives to the conversation to inform key decisions that shape the culture and workplace; enact, share and promote the values you want to be known for; put listening at the forefront of communication; and be responsive, flexible and transparent when it comes to meeting the needs of your team.”

Entyr Co-Founder Gary Foster

Gary Foster, Co-Founder of Entyr, which processes tyres into high-value products used in manufacturing, said they took a waste product containing 45 per cent fuel and 40 per cent carbon and broke the components down into their original state. This results in a complete circular solution for end-of-life tyres by recovering almost 100 per cent of the raw material.

“It’s a bit like making a cake. It allows us to pull out the ingredients from the ‘cake’ that’s already been made and then we put the resources back into industries such as the asphalt industry,” he said.

This is done by utilising carbon black to produce asphalt, resulting in a safe, longer lasting, superior road surface, which has been a game changer for the asphalt industry.

“It is done with very low emissions and we are the only company listed in Australia to make the product that we do. It is relatively evident there is a groundswell from the younger generation looking for sustainable products in some form.

“They are looking to deal with and work for companies that have a conscience and that’s where we fit in. Of our staff of 50 we find that probably 25 per cent are under 30 and if they have to go and work for someone it may as well be for a sustainable company.”

Last year Entyr recycled 2 million tyres

The Staplyton company began by applying science to solve water pollution issues in India. In 2017 it started trading as Pearl Global and developed a thermal desorption process for tyre recycling – addressing the world’s largest hazardous waste issue – end-of-life tyres.

Boasting clean conversion technology patents in Australia, the US and with a European patent under examination, by early 2022 – the same year the company changed its name – Entyr had processed more than two million tyres – contributing to the decarbonisation of infrastructure across several Queensland local government areas.

Foster said the City of Gold Coast had been supportive of Entyr’s operations – 50 per cent of its tyres came from the Gold Coast tip – and the region itself was a great place in which to do business due to its population density resulting in tyres.

The City of Gold Coast also supported Entyr in securing funding from the Department of State Development to buy an $800,000 shredder which breaks down tyres.

Little Phil’s Craig Gillam will be part of a panel during Gold Coast Business Week talking about “Doing Business with the Sustainability Generation” on October 10.


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