Our Green Biz Certifications

Office Certification

GreenBizCheck Office CertificationBest suited for office based businesses

Achieve Gold, Silver or Bronze certification and become more accessible to government and environmentally conscious business partners and clients.

Areas covered include: paper usage, recycling, water, energy – computers, lighting, air conditioning, information technology, supply chain, transportation and more.

 

 

Retail Certification

GreenBizCheck Office CertificationBest suited for retail outlet based businesses

Achieve Gold, Silver or Bronze certification and increase on your bottom line while attracting new customers.

Areas covered include: recycling, water, energy – computers, EFTPOS terminals, lighting, air conditioning, packaging, supply chain, service area and more.

 

 

Hotel Certification

GreenBizCheck Hotel CertificationBest for the Hotel Industry

Achieve Gold, Silver or Bronze certification and reduce your consumption of resources and increase your bottom line.

Areas covered include: recycling, water, energy – lighting, appliances, air conditioning, packaging, supply chain, service area and more.

 

 

Food & Beverage Certification

GreenBizCheck Office CertificationBest suited for restaurants, Fast Food Outlets and Cafes

Achieve Gold, Silver or Bronze certification and reduce your consumption of resources and increase your bottom line.

Areas covered include: recycling, water, energy – lighting, appliances, air conditioning, packaging, supply chain, service area and more.

 

 

The Benefits of our Green Business Certification

  • Rapidly increase profits
  • Reduce costs and wastage
  • Create new revenue opportunities
  • Gain market share by standing out in the market place
  • Independent verification of green credentials
  • Utilise for PR and Marketing
  • Create a healthier work environment
  • Take the lead and help protect our planet

SMEs Struggle with Sustainability Expertise, Quantifying Benefits

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) create 80 percent of Canadian industrys harmful environmental impacts and more than 60 percent of commercial waste, according to a report released today by the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS), Canadian Football League team the Montral Alouettes, World Wildlife Fund, Quebec furniture manufacturer Artopex and 10 other organizations. SMEs also create more than 80 percent of new jobs in Canada every year, according toSME Sustainability Challenges 2012.

In the report, small businesses share challenges they face in being environmentally responsible.

Lack of time, finances, human resources and expertise in sustainability prevent SMEs from implementing sustainability initiative, according to the report, which found SME managers are overwhelmed by the number of corporate social responsibility tools and their varying credibility.

Developing internal expertise or having access to a knowledgeable third party would help SMEs implement sustainability practices, it says.

The report is the result of a one-day roundtable with small business leaders from various sectors of the economy, facilitated by Dr. Marie-France Turcotte, director of the French Office of the Network for Business Sustainability.

The other 10 organizations that participated in the discussion were small businesses IGA Cookshire, Insertech Angus, Jas Filtration, JS David Consultant, Quartz Nature, Savons Prolav (Bio-vert), Soder, St. Jean Collision Centre and Victor Innovatex, along with the Ministry of Finance and Economy.

Translating intangible benefits of sustainability initiatives improved corporate image and reputation, for example into monetary benefits is also a challenge for SMEs, according to the report. It says SME leaders need help selling stakeholders on the business value of sustainability.

While big companies have the budgets to launch large-scale advertising campaigns promoting their sustainable products, services and business practices, SMEs must find more creative ways to inform customers about their environmentally friendly initiatives, according to the report. SME leaders want to know what information will entice customers to buy sustainable products and services instead of their traditional and sometimes less expensive counterparts.

A study funded in part by the Network for Business Sustainability last year found most companies efforts to improve their supply chain sustainability is focused on managing risk and public relations, not on actual improvements to the environment or worker safety.

As an independent third party, ARTA Advisors can help you start your sustainability journey. Often clients are unsure of how to start implementing changes and place the task in the too hard basket. With our comprehensive assessment and action orientated system our report will give you small tasks that will help you get started. Recommended actions will also start you saving on costs immediately. Contact us and sign up for a FREE 1 hour Consult valued at $250 to find out how we can help.

The Benefits of Green Business

With publicity surrounding the threat of global warming on the rise, environmental consciousness is at an all-time high. Here are some benefits of “Green Business”.

1) Capture the business of the ‘Eco-Conscious’ consumer:

The eco-conscious consumer market is becoming a larger demographic in Australia. Becoming more environmentally friendly will help businesses gain a competitive edge by appealing to the growing share of consumers seeking greener products and services. Green consumers globally had an estimated annual buying power of US$500 billion in 2008 (Sustainable Growth, Sensis). Green consumerism is also expected to grow rapidly over forthcoming years despite the economic crises.

2) Enter the Sustainability Supply Chain

Australian SMEs are discovering that companies already on the path to sustainability increasingly prefer to do business with other sustainable companies. Consequently, embedding sustainability into their supply chain operations. Many organisations are now looking at supply chain sustainability and extending evaluation to their suppliers. Companies are no longer only measuring the sustainability of their own business operations.

3) Help Save the Environment

Changes to a business’s everyday activities will help reduce the strain on the environment and promote sustainability to the wider business community.

4) Save Money

By paying attention to the social and environmental bottom line, you can run your business in a more efficient and effective way. This can have a positive impact on your financial bottom line (Sustainable Growth, Sensis). At ARTA Advisors we help businesses save money by helping them quickly implement sustainable environmental practices which conserve energy, water, resources and minimize waste. DLA Piper undertook ARTA Advisors’ certification program at their Brisbane office. In 6 months they saved 38% on their electricity and 20% on office consumables.

Being sustainable means taking into account the impact your business has on the environment and communities in which it operates (Sustainable Growth, Sensis). Sustainability is set to soar and businesses that are involved will be reaping positive benefits.

 

Sign up for our 1 Hour-Free-Consultation to find out how you can start saving immediately.

Making Your Sustainability Program Sustainable

Depending on whom you ask in a company, the word sustainability can have different meanings. It can be used in relation to finances, long-term programs, or the environment. But when you’re looking at a sustainability or environmental program, it has to be set up to endure.

Put simply: your sustainability program has to be sustainable.

Being eco-friendly was once considered trendy, but I believe it is a practice that is here to stay. Its no longer a nice to have. Employees and customers expect it.

Many companies are at different points on their sustainability journey. For those who are just starting, there are some tips that will help ensure that your sustainability program remains sustainable.

  • Top Level Endorsements: For a program to work, it must have the support of your companys top leaders. They are the ones who can turn thought into action and make it clear that being an environmental steward is a priority. The leaders can also help create internal partnerships for you with other departments.
  • Low Hanging Fruits: Sometimes you have to crawl before you can walk, and this is often the case with sustainability programs. If you try to tackle everything at once or take on too many large-scale projects, you quickly run out of budget and enthusiasm. Build your program up by starting with small successes that lead to larger projects. One simple project? Set printers to automatically print double-sided.
  • Business Impact: Look at where your company has a large impact and create projects to focus on that area versus a broad approach. For example, if you have a large fleet, look at how you can green the fleet. Theres often an up-front cost, but the results are favorable for the bottom line and the environment. Fuel-efficient vehicles and reduced mileage cut down on carbon emissions and out of pocket costs to operate the vehicles.
  • Incentives: Once youve started working on larger-scale projects such as generating alternative energy, look for government incentives. Sometimes, you have to choose between multiple locations for a project, and incentives can help you make the decision. And, the dollars saved can be used for additional projects.

These tips can help ensure your sustainability program remains sustainable. And, by showing a good return on investment, you can know that your program is good for the environment and for the business.

ARTA Advisors can help you implement and maintain your sustainability policy with our annual certification program based on the actions you take within your business. The user friendly assessment program is designed to start saving your organisation on costs immediately in addition to the long term benefits. Contact us now and sign up for a FREE-1-hour-consultation valued at $250 to find out how we can help you on your sustainability journey.

Buy Only The Market’s Very Best Companies When You Invest

When you buy a stock, you want to buy the very best merchandise possible. Don’t go for fourth or fifth best. Buying a leader will likely give you better performance.

Many investors like to buy the laggards in an industry for a variety of reasons. First, laggards are usually priced lower than the No. 1 or 2 in a group in dollar terms.

If you have $20,000 to invest, you could buy 400 shares of a $50 stock. But some investors would rather own 2,000 shares of a laggard trading at $10 a share. Well, if you’re dining out, would you rather have six tasteless ground-beef patties or one tender, juicy, flavorful rib-eye?

Laggards may also entice buyers because they’re cheaper on a relative basis, using price-to-earnings and price-to-sales ratios.

Why pay 40 times earnings for a certain stock when there’s one trading at only 10 times earnings? The leader is “overvalued” and the laggard is a much better bargain, right? Not necessarily.

In stocks and most things in life, things tend to be priced at what they’re worth. When you buy a car, you can’t expect the performance of a Porsche if you paid the price of a Yugo.

If you want to drastically outperform the market, put only the bona fide leaders in your portfolio. This means buying the top few companies in their industries. These are the firms with the most innovative products and services that are light years ahead of their competitors.

“The top one, two, or three stocks in a strong industry group can have unbelievable growth, while others in the pack may hardly stir,” wrote IBD Chairman William O’Neil in “How to Make Money in Stocks.”

Apple (AAPL) is king of the Computer-Hardware/Peripherals group. The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm has consistently delivered blockbuster products that people line up for hours to buy.

The company has the highest possible EPS Rating of 99 and has posted solid double- to triple-digit profit growth quarter after quarter. Rivals Dell (DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) have much weaker EPS Ratings and both have lackluster growth.

Even today, after making strong gains since its early 2004 breakout, Apple has gained as much as 14% from an early-August breakout. Dell and HP are down from their early August levels.

Read More At IBD: http://education.investors.com/investors-corner/627113-apple-has-stellar-growth-and-hit-products.htm#ixzz27k1kSgqh

Keeping Losses Smaller Than 8% Is Path To Stability

The investment world is full of ideas on how to reduce portfolio volatility.

From fixed income to shorting your long positions as a hedge, most are white-flag strategies: Accept smaller gains.

Yet, the smaller-gains idea is completely backward. Smaller losses, not smaller gains, are a better way to achieve stability.

Volatility in itself isn’t bad. If a stock is gapping up, that’s volatility, but no one’s complaining. What you don’t want is the roller coaster portfolio that rises and then takes you back to the starting point — or somewhere lower.

One tool for fighting that kind of volatility is the 8% loss rule.

Now some folks say the 8% sell rule is flawed. If you take three 8% losses in a row, it will take a 28.4% gain to break even. How is that different than holding a stock through a 28% correction?

The criticism, though, involves an improper understanding.

What’s missing? Several things.

First, the disciplined IBD investor doesn’t need to invoke the 8% sell rule all that often.

Let’s say the portfolio is concentrated on five potential positions of 20% exposure each.

The market is in an uptrend. When a quality stock in a quality industry group breaks out, the investor opens a half position (10% of the portfolio) in the stock. If the stock doesn’t rise at least 2.5%, no additional shares are bought.

In most cases, the stock is sold — sometimes for a small loss, and sometimes for a tiny gain. The investor does not wait for the stalled stock to sag to minus 8%.

Note also how the initial half-position protects the investor. A mistake costs half what it would if he began with a full position.

A second rule can also help the investor avoid the 8% loss. This rule says the investor shouldn’t let a profit cycle into a loss.

For example, suppose a breakout works. The stock rises 15% in three or four weeks. But then the stock begins to fall. A 15% gain becomes a 12% gain and then an 8% gain. At some point, the investor has to start thinking about selling before the stock cycles into a loss. Under no circumstances should the stock be held until it reaches minus 8%.

A third strategy also helps the investor steer clear of the 8% loss. The investor will sell a weaker stock to add shares to a stronger performer as opportunities on the chart develop.

Suppose you have a stock that is up or down by a puny percentage. Selling this stock will raise cash for your stronger performer. It also will help you avoid the minus 8% situation. Your worst stock has a higher probability of becoming a minus 8% position than your best stock does.

Fourth, the investor who misfires on several trades in a row should study not only the failed stocks but the overall market situation.

An investor sometimes blames failed or incomplete trades on his or her stock-picking skills. In some cases, picking second-rate stocks is the problem. But a series of failed trades also could be sending a message that the market is perhaps turning wobbly. If so, the investor needs to start raising cash, and that also means not waiting for a position to turn to minus 8% before selling.

Your portfolio will become more profitable and more stable if you learn how to use defensive rules to limit the downside in top-rated growth stocks.

Read More At IBD: http://education.investors.com/investors-corner/626795-limit-volatility-by-keeping-stock-losses-small.htm#ixzz27k0SrDhn

Concentrating Money In Fewer Stocks Is Key To Investment Success

Many investors believe that buying a wide range of stocks is the key to reducing risk. IBD research shows the opposite is true.

IBD-style investors thoroughly research a stock’s fundamental and technical characteristics before buying, and then continuously monitor its behavior afterward. This takes time, but it tends to produce a highly focused, high-quality portfolio.

Using such a disciplined approach makes it almost impossible for an individual investor to select and manage a portfolio of, say, 20 or 30 stocks or more. Only big institutions have the resources to evaluate and keep tabs on such a large group of stocks.

“Keep things manageable. The more stocks you own, the harder it is to keep track of all of them,” IBD founder and Chairman William J. O’Neil wrote in “How to Make Money in Stocks.”

People with $20,000 to $200,000 to invest should spread their cash over just four or five stocks. Those with $5,000 to $20,000 should consider buying no more than three stocks, and those with $3,000 should buy only one or two, O’Neil writes.

When you’re right, you want to be right in a big way.

“The winning investor’s objective should be to have one or two big winners rather than dozens of very small profits,” O’Neil wrote. “The best results are achieved through concentration, by putting your eggs in a few baskets that you know well and watching them very carefully.”

The table accompanying this column shows how four stocks can sharply outperform a portfolio in which each position makes up just 5% of the entire stake.

Investors should start building a list of stocks to watch, focusing on leaders of strong industry groups. Each stock’s key fundamental and technical characteristics can be found by clicking on the Research tab at Investors.com and selecting Stock Checkup.

Always check the Market Pulse box accompanying the Big Picture column to make sure the market is in a confirmed uptrend before buying any stock. When a carefully chosen stock hits its buy point in volume that’s at least 40% above average, it’s time to buy.

Also, remember to keep monitoring your stocks for follow-on buy points or sell signals that can help you either maximize your gains or limit your losses.

Read More At IBD: http://education.investors.com/investors-corner/627291-concentration-is-key-to-investment-success.htm#ixzz27jyS22Sf

Whats your best chance of becoming a millionaire

Inflation may be inexorably eroding the value of a dollar, but achieving millionaire status is still an impressive and motivating goal. More importantly, it’s an eminently attainable goal with hard work and careful planning. Here are some of the best ways that a younger person can think of earning a seven-figure net worth over time.

Three Key Questions

When thinking about how to accumulate a million dollars or more, there are three key issues that people must consider. First, a job must be accessible for it to offer a high likelihood of millionaire status. For instance, playing in a professional sports league dramatically increases the odds of earning enough to become a millionaire, but professional sports employ less than 5,000 athletes (among the big four North American leagues). Likewise, virtually every Fortune 500 CEO gets a million-dollar pay package (or better), but there are only 500 of those jobs available.

What’s worse, while I do not understate the importance of hard work for athletes, there’s an element of natural talent that must be present for this to be an option. Likewise, while being an A-list movie star or musician certainly pays well, it too relies on an all-too-rare combination of talent and luck. Accessibility can also refer to the training required and the number of opportunities that exist in a given field. Economics can indeed pay quite well at the upper echelons, but that often requires a degree from one of a very limited list of PhD programs. Likewise, while there are academic disciplines that can pay surprising well (astronomy, for instance), relatively few jobs come available in a given year.

Clearly, a job must pay well if one is to build a seven-figure net worth from it, so salary is a significant factor. It’s not all about salary, though. It is also important for a career to have the duration necessary to build the requisite amount of wealth.

Sometimes It’s True What They Say

There’s an old cliché that parents want their kids to be and/or marry doctors, lawyers or engineers. It may be clichéd, but there’s an element of truth and logic to it. Physicians, surgeons, lawyers, engineers (e.g. civil, electrical, industrial) and many other professions do in fact boast median pay of over $75,000 a year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, making them some of the highest-paying professions out there.

It’s not quite that simple, though. While all of these professions can look to long careers (and pay usually increases with experience), there are sizable entry demands, including multiple years of expensive post-graduate schooling. It’s also worth noting that median pay does not mean a guarantee – while practicing law can indeed pay very well, many lawyers make much less than the median pay.

CEO? DIY

Looking at income tax and net wealth data, the largest percentage of American’s attain their wealth by running businesses. A person can take multiple paths to become the CEO of a major company. CEOs have come from the ranks of engineers, marketing managers and financial analysts. Often the common denominator is an MBA degree from a top-flight MBA program – a path that demands not only a fair bit of upfront monetary investment, but also a superior academic and professional background.

Running a large public or private enterprise isn’t the only option, though. Starting and running your own business not only lets you put yourself in charge (and pay yourself whatever your business will support), but you also benefit if/when your business grows in value over time. You don’t have to be the next Bill Gates or Michael Dell; even a modest local business can support a healthy salary for many decades.

Of course, it’s not that simple. While many of the wealthiest Americans can tie their wealth to running a business (either their own or someone else’s), there are plenty of entrepreneurs who struggle to make it from month to month or go out of business within a year or two of starting.

It’s also very difficult to handicap the odds here. While anybody can start a business, the success of that undertaking is going to depend on the quality of your idea, your willingness to work hard at it and the conditions of the local market. Consider that while many people have made themselves into millionaires through starting engineering, construction or real estate development companies, that hasn’t been a very easy path over the last five years or so.

It’s What You Keep That Counts

While readers may be hoping for a map to careers where the roads are paved with gold, these maps just don’t exist. That’s due in part to the fact that there are so many different ways to get ahead and build towards that target of $1 million. Consider the following: a person who makes $60,000 and saves 20% of it will get much further much faster than someone who earns $100,000 and saves only 5%. Likewise, prudent investing is crucial. Even a doctor who saves $15,000 a year free and clear will need to work for over 65 years to have $1 million without any gains on those savings. Consequently, developing the skills and the discipline to save and invest effectively is almost as important as developing the skills for a six-figure salary.

Nevertheless, people need to take a lesson from Willie Sutton and go where the money is. Political scientists, economists and nuclear plant technicians may all potentially earn a lot, but there are not many positions available in a given year and there’s not much job growth. On the other hand, demand for medical professionals and computer engineers continues to grow at above-average rates.

The Bottom Line

While no one should choose a career solely based upon its earnings potential, it’s still a valid consideration. At the same time, aspiring millionaires need to consider how difficult it is to train for a profession, how likely it is that they can get jobs in their chosen fields and whether they will enjoy the work enough to stay at their jobs for decades. When all of those factors intersect, and you’re willing to save and invest carefully, there are dozens of careers that can lead to a net worth in the seven figures before retirement.

Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/investing-personal-finance/

Is Your Financial Situation Sustainable And Renewable?

Two words that have attracted a lot of attention are “sustainable” and “renewable.” These words are generally used in an environmental sense when discussing energy and natural resources, but they should also be applied to your personal financial situation. Using sustainable and renewable sources of energy, for example, can create a secure supply of energy upon which people can rely. Similarly, ensuring that your lifestyle, savings rate and income can be sustained and/or renewed will help you achieve long-term financial security.

Your Lifestyle

Let’s start by examining the spending portion of your financial equation. Do you know how much money you spend each month? If you don’t, there’s no time like the present to take inventory.

Even if you don’t know how much you spend, you should certainly know how much you earn. Starting there, do you know what you would do if your next paycheck did not arrive? How long could you continue to support your current lifestyle? Even if you can’t bring yourself to create a budget, at the very least you need to stash away some cash in case you find yourself unemployed.

Your Savings Rate

Now let’s look at the savings portion of your financial equation. How much do you save each month? Include all sources, from money set aside in your checking or savings account to your 401(k) plan or other employer-sponsored plan. Don’t overlook the cash you stash in the cookie jar.

Now figure out how difficult it would be to save that same amount if you were unemployed or were forced to accept a lower-paying job than the one you have today. When you are saving for long-term goals, such as retirement or the cost of a child’s education, the amount you end up with is significantly impacted by the amount you put away early on because of the effects of compound interest. Any interruption of the steady stream of savings could significantly reduce the likelihood of achieving your goal.

When you put your savings plan under the microscope, be sure to view it in the context of your income. Are there places where you could cut your spending if times get tough? Is there a way to cut other expenses before you reduce the amount allocated to savings?

Your Income

Now, let’s examine your primary income source. If you are counting on a paycheck from your job to finance your expenses, you should put some thought into where your job ranks in terms of sustainability. Are your skills likely to be in demand five years from now? 10? 15? Is your present employer stable? If not, are your skills easily transferable to another employer? Could you earn an equal or greater paycheck if you changed jobs?

If not, are you taking action? Remember, today is the best time to start preparing for tomorrow.

Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

Although the future is unknown, taking inventory of your life will certainly let you know where you stand today and take the stress off your tomorrow. If your current level of income would not be easy to replace, spend some time contemplating the merits of living with less.

Simplifying your lifestyle without reducing your income is a great way to free up some cash to build up your emergency fund or give your investment plan a major boost. With a little forethought, you can be prepared for any eventuality.

The Bottom Line

Of course, if your cash inflows are steady, your savings plan is on track and your source of income is secure, there’s nothing wrong with living the good life. Just do so responsibly. Don’t buy more than you can afford, keep your debt-to-income ratio low and have a backup plan in the event that life rains on your parade.

Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/investing-personal-finance/

Advisors’ Bad Behavior

Advisors’ Bad Behavior.

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