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Locals making a power-ful difference

In a time where environmental responsibility is crucial, businesses have a unique opportunity to contribute to sustainability while reaping significant benefits. The Mornington Peninsula Shire’s commitment to sustainability offers valuable insights into how local businesses can make impactful changes that benefit both their bottom line and the planet.

In November 2021,  Bass and Flinders Distillery  flicked the switch on their brand new 39 kW solar system. It was a big moment for this family owned business that prides themselves on small things – small batches, artisanal products, attention to detail and small changes for the better.

Stepping up

From humble beginnings in Red Hill, Bass and Flinders moved to their purpose-built space in the Dromana Industrial Estate around three years ago. One of their key business strategies has always been around sustainability and their long-term environmental footprint. 

They started their sustainability journey by using locally foraged botanicals in their products – sea kelp, samphire and salt bush in their Maritime Gin to add uniquely Mornington Peninsula flavours. They partner with a little local truffle farm for their limited release Truffle Gin, local cherries feature in their Cerise Gin, and local pinot noir in their Heartbreak Pinot Noir Gin. Local ingredients minimise carbon miles and ensures the products are truly ‘of the peninsula’. 

The distillery also has a program in place to minimise waste from their ingredients. This means that if they need a huge amount of citrus rind for one of their delicious products (no fake fragrances or artificial flavours here!), then the remaining fruit is either turned into preserves by other local businesses, or handed over to local restaurants for chefs to work with. Minimising wastage is a win-win for the environment, so stepping up to solar was a logical addition to their sustainability platform. 

To complete the solar project they worked with the Mornington Peninsula Shire and the Sustainable Australia Fund- becoming the fifteenth Mornington Peninsula business to receive Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF)*. 

For them it made commercial sense to make use of the space on the roof. It is an ideal location; out of the way, open to full sun, and flat – allowing for the panels to be easily installed. So while the stills are bubbling away in the distillery, the solar is quietly delivering electricity to the grid.

* This program is no longer available. See The Path Forward (below) for information on current grants and subsidies

Our ‘backyard’ is really important to us. We feel the need to look after it, so it’s part of our brand approach to take a lead in the sustainability space. It also ties into our customers priorities and our partners values.

At Bass and Flinders we use the French ‘Charentais’ distillation method – it’s small scale and low energy using. But even though the distillery is not a huge energy consumer we wanted to make a positive contribution. We are proud that we are going to be generating excess energy from year one.

Holly Klintworth, Managing Director, second generation Head Distiller and owner of the business

The Path Forward

While the specific funding for the Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF) is no longer available, the commitment to sustainability remains a cornerstone for Mornington Peninsula Shire. The case of Bass and Flinders Distillery demonstrates that investing in energy-efficient upgrades can yield significant benefits, both financially and environmentally.

Businesses are encouraged to explore various avenues for enhancing their sustainability practices. By upgrading to energy-efficient appliances and systems, businesses not only cut down on operating costs but also contribute to a healthier, more sustainable environment.

The program

The Environmental Upgrade Finance program lasted from 2017 – 2023 with 18 signed agreements to allow upgrade finance, with 1,274 kW solar installed, 113 kW batteries and a range of energy effiencient upgrades.

Content updated June 2024

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