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Small business, huge climate impact

By Amy McShane

This year has certainly seen a shift when it comes to how businesses are approaching climate change. Recently, Qantas piloted the world’s first ever commercial flight with zero landfill. Paper straws are now commonplace in McDonald’s and 7-Eleven even offered free coffee to customers who brought their own reusable cup for a month.

But how can small businesses in rural areas – with less resources and less time than the big corporations – do their bit to tackle climate change? It was this very question that Jayne Thorpe CMgr MIML was asking herself last year.

And so her new business, Stablish, was born.

Stablish provides small businesses and not-for-profits with climate change business development services, grant and tender preparation and sustainability assessments.

“There’s so much business development work that you can put in to [grants and tenders] to make yourself more competitive,” says Thorpe. “I use this as a starting point to talk to businesses about their business plan, what their future is about and their supply chains. This translates over to sustainability assessments, so there’s a real overlap there.”

Innovation and positive change

It was the combined love for innovation and the earth that led the southern Queensland native to take the leap and self-fund her business.

Thorpe has been green fingered since her university days, with a Bachelor of Ecology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Ethnobotany from the University of Southern Queensland under her belt. She’s also a certified Environmental Practitioner and the current President of the Darling Downs Environment Council.

“Innovation to me is all about getting started with positive change to what’s happening now,” says Thorpe. “There are definitely changes that need to happen now around climate change, so they kind of tied up together. There’s lots of applications of innovation through all the work that I’ve done. So I was building on that, but offering it as a consultancy service.”

That previous work was done during her time at Condamine Alliance and Notomys Seeds and it was that experience that helped spark the inspiration: “When everybody is delivering current projects and services it can be quite difficult to figure out what innovations would be of benefit… so having someone look at those collectively was of really high value.”

Contributing to the local community

Thorpe is running Stablish along with her role at CatholicCare Social Services, where she works part time in business innovation. Having also run a habitat reconstruction business with her husband for the past 15 years, juggling different roles is something she is used to.

And it’s the impact on her community in Toowoomba that makes it all worth it.

“I was born here, worked here all of my career and went to university here,” says Thorpe. “It’s being able to recognise that I have something to offer that not everybody is across. Seeing people pick up on what I’m able to share and take things forward for their own business is very rewarding.”

This article originally appeared in the December 2019 print edition of Leadership Matters, IML ANZ’s exclusive Member’s magazine. For editorial suggestions and enquiries, please contact


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