Agency that lends bikes to locals wins award

A Sydney real estate agency whose employees walk to most of their appointments and provides free bikes to locals has won a major sustainability award.

The 2012 EnergyAustralia Sustainability Award for community building and sustainability initiatives, part of the City of Sydney Business Awards, was won by Martin Property from Zetland, in Sydney's inner west.

The agency won the award after the judges praised the small business for its culture of energy efficiency and community responsibility by setting up an employee carpool program, and having four bikes on hand for locals to borrow.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Martin Property was a great example of a business with a far-ranging sustainability policy that was backed up by the day-to-day activities of the business.

"Martin Property impressed the judges because they established specific targets for reducing their impact on the environment and a system to measure their progress," the Lord Mayor said.

"The small business, with 10 employees, has a dedicated sustainability officer to monitor and evaluate the policy, which is an excellent initiative.

“The business has also been a community builder in the new Green Square area, establishing an annual community barbecue, providing bikes for locals to borrow and mentoring students at the nearby school."

Martin Property sales director David Bettini said the award was recognition of a decade-long commitment to the Victoria Park-Zetland area.

"The award is amazing and a great reward for all the hard work we have put in," Mr Bettini said.

"We are a pretty big business in our area so we wanted to lead by example and also create a good workplace environment for our employees," Mr Bettini said.

"We also walk to many of our appointments and bought four bicycles that are parked outside the front of our office and which we encourage the community to use - they just need to give us their driver's licence and they can borrow a bike."

The business also works with students at Green Square School, which caters to students experiencing challenges with their behaviour in mainstream education institutions.

"The school is just around the corner from the office so our managing director, Jeremy Martin, started doing a mentoring program up there about two years ago, which has been really positive," Mr Bettini said.

"This year we started getting the students into our office to help out and gain some work experience and it has been good for them to get that positive reinforcement, and it is rewarding for us, too."

Winners were judged by an independent panel made up of experts from government, academic institutes and the business community.

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