For Cheeky Monkeys its hip to be cool ...
By RACHEL AFFLICK
WHAT could dancing on tables and helping the environment possibly have in common?
Byron Bay's Cheeky Monkeys has become the first night club in Australia to neutralise its carbon emissions, according to its owner Monique Phillips.
And she couldn't be prouder.
"It's contributing (to the environment) while you're being naughty!" she said.
"I also think we're marketing, in a way, a good idea. We've got such a young, pumped generation coming through our doors, I think if we can do something good for the environment maybe it will influence them too."
As a child, Monique lived in a self-sufficient environment with no electricity and no connection to the power grid.
She opened Cheeky Monkeys seven years ago, but has become increasingly aware of the way her goals on a family, personal and business level were creating a negative effect on the world. "Every day I still have to drive the kids to school, feed the family, make a dollar, pay the mortgage, run a business," she said
"There's a lot of guilt associated with that. For me, it was just about saying 'I need to make some changes'."
Cheeky Monkeys, which attracts 2000 people through its doors each week, recently calculated its annual carbon emissions to be 225 tonnes.
To offset that, Monique has purchased carbon credits with local business Cool Planet.
Monique said some of their investment would go towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from pig and dairy farms in Brazil, Mexico and North America.
The rest would go towards a project to reduce landfill gas in Australia.
"Cheeky Monkeys has decided to lead the way in changing attitudes in the Byron Shire. On an annual basis this investment is not much to absorb. It is certainly viewed as a valuable investment by the management, staff and patrons of the venue," Monique said.
Cool Planet owner Daniel Harper, of Byron Bay, is helping half a dozen local businesses offset their carbon emissions.
He believes in the future more and more businesses will realise the value of such an investment.
"It's a new industry but it's growing rapidly, along with the growing world-wide awareness of global warming," Mr Harper said.
"A few years ago people were saying maybe it's happening, maybe it's not. There's been a huge shift in awareness and carbon offset has sprung from that."