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Real Estate Agency has Real Heart

A real estate agency with an employee car-pool program and four bikes on hand for locals to borrow was last night recognised for its community building and sustainability initiatives at the City of Sydney Business Awards 2012.

Martin Property from Zetland was awarded the 2012 Energy Australia Sustainability Award at a gala dinner at The Westin Sydney, with the judges praising the small business for its culture of energy efficiency and community responsibility.

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.”

The City’s 2012 Business Awards are the biggest yet, with a record 883 business nominated and 60,000 Sydneysiders casting a vote.

Winners were judged by an independent panel made up of experts from government, academic institutes and the business community. This year’s panel included Greg Hayes of Hayes Knight, Starfish Consulting’s Kate Groom and Paul Wallbank from Netsmarts.

All finalists are required to submit detailed business plans and are judged on criteria including industry innovation, community participation, strategic planning and environmental sustainability planning.

Martin 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 pride ourselves on giving back to the community because we love the area, so getting this award has been a great honour.”

Mr Bettini said the business embarked on the sustainability initiatives because they believed everyone had a responsibility to the environment.

“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.

“Then it was just a matter of putting good systems in place, such as making sure we re-use as much paper as possible, recycling and car-pooling.

“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.”

Martin Property also started a community barbecue five years ago, which has now grown into the Green Square Gourmet Food Festival attracting 700 people last year.

The business also works with students at Green Square School, which caters to students experiencing challenging 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.”

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