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Turning Over A New Leaf

Organisations around the world are realising that their customers have a keen interest in environmental issues, but consumers are also savvy enough to know when a big corporate is ‘greenwashing’ in the interests of marketing. First National has made a huge commitment to its members, clients and the environment with its new energy efficiency initiative.

At its recent National Convention, First National Real Estate launched one of its key initiatives for 2009, an environmental strategy which places it in a pioneering position amongst Australian Real Estate networks.

All around the world there is significant and growing support for action to address climate change. First National believes a majority of Australians want to see immediate action from government, but remain uncertain about how and where they can contribute to change in their own domain.

Recognising we can each make a tremendous difference, just by making basic behavioural changes within our homes and offices, the network has determined it can play a positive role by educating homeowners, and making adjustments within its own offices around the country.

As one of the country’s largest Real Estate networks, First National helps thousands of people find homes every day of the week. Making small changes to the way they live in their homes, the appliances they choose, and the renovations they might be planning, can all play a role in lessening energy consumption. That’s good, not just for the planet, but also for family budgets.

An Energy Efficiency Kit provided to nearly 500 offices around Australia is the start to First National’s commitment to assist in educating its members and the general public on the importance of energy efficiency. By providing a comprehensive range of information booklets and guides that show people how to live with a greater level of energy consciousness, First National estate agencies are demonstrating that instead of just selling homes, they want to make the effort to help raise awareness about how those homes consume energy and the resulting impact on the environment.

Our Energy Efficiency Kit provides our members with documents and tools that explain to people how energy ratings work, the multitude of steps they can take to reduce their energy consumption, and the enclosed Australian Native Gardens booklet helps consumers establish or improve their own garden in a way that benefits Australian flora and fauna. says Chief Executive, Ray Ellis.

The Energy Saving Guidebook provides a pocket sized reference that tenants or homeowners can immediately and easily understand while Making Your Office More Energy Efficient concentrates on what our businesses can do.

All of the above adds up to Real Estate agents taking steps, beyond commercial interest, to help improve the environment. We all have a role to play in mitigating the effect we have on the environment and this kit presents First National members with the opportunity to begin playing a role, while at the same time showing corporate responsibility within their community.

Well-known and respected Australian television personality and geomorphologist, Rob Gell congratulated the First National Network on its commitment to adopt sustainable business practices at the network’s National Convention.

Presenting to the network’s members from Australia and New Zealand, Mr Gell said he was impressed with the level of knowledge and understanding from First National management that ‘greenwash’ was not something that will be entertained into the future.

First National has really grasped the notion that to be sustainable a lot of concentrated effort and dedication is required from all levels of management. Mr Gell said-The driver towards taking on a new corporate culture is that it will be good for business and they are embarking on a process to discover opportunities to grow their business with a new ethic and a positive commitment.

While the way the business world has been operating over the last fifty years has served us well, there is now a sense that business as usual may not achieve the outcomes we, as a society, wish for the future. The forward thinking of organisations like First National is what is required to make the words a sustainable future take on real meaning and to leave a planetary inheritance we can all truly be proud of.

First National Convention delegates were treated to a presentation by Mr Gell that challenged their conventional thinking on sustainability. They also investigated the new performance scales required to both understand and operate to in coming years.

First National CEO, Mr Ray Ellis, said the Network were extremely fortunate that Mr Gell agreed to present at their Convention. “Rob’s presentation covered the latest science on climate change, the impacts on the economy and the environment, what businesses, communities and individuals can do in both the short and long term to address climate change issues and what the benefits will be from a commercial, personal and future generations’ perspective.” Mr Ellis said.

In September, the network will build on its energy efficiency theme with a lead generation web campaign that will feature an online game and other tools that its members can utilise to assist in generating business from vendors and buyers. The campaign will be structured to provide prizes to local community bodies, instead of an individual. There will also be State and National prizes.

Last year’s web based eMarketing campaign generated in excess of 11,000 listing leads for our membership. says National Communications Manager, Stewart Bunn. “The appeal of web based games and competitions to generations X and Y has certainly been proven, but an unexpected bonus we’ve found is that their appeal extends way beyond that which is traditionally expected. For example, the winner of our ‘Win $25,000 towards your mortgage, rent or renovation’ competition was a grandmother from South Australia.

Mr Bunn further commented, First National is a transformed organisation and recognition of the fact that we can play an influential role in helping Australians to reduce their carbon footprint helps set the scene for the network’s future. As a corporate entity, we’ve adopted a strategy that will reduce significantly reduce our energy consumption and the tools we’ve provided our offices will help them duplicate that change in their own operations while they spread the message throughout the community.

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