Last week we opened our new office in Melbourne. To help our team familiarise themselves with the new city, we asked Abigail Forsyth, Co-Founder and Managing Director of KeepCup, for her thoughts on Melbourne’s sustainability scene.
Melbourne has the reputation as a city with a strong sustainability community. Is that justified?
You’d probably be disappointed to hear that I don’t really consider myself as a sustainability professional, but as a team we have deep connections around our expertise in single-use plastic mitigation – I know members of my team get involved in a lot of local events and initiatives, so I guess it must be pretty active.
What I would say is that I don’t feel that any city can really boast about sustainability credentials based on where we are and where we need to get to. That said, the 2026 Vision for The City of Melbourne is excellent. We now have an unparalleled moment to change course, lift quality of life for all citizens and build a society that is more enjoyable, inclusive and equitable. Let’s not waste it.
How has the community responded to lockdown? (i.e. has it remained strong? Were there online events to retain connections?)
It’s difficult to say when I’ve lived the lockdown and some form of restrictions since March! I think I might have lost a degree of perspective and, as I say, I’m not much of a networker these days.
Personally, the lockdown has provided a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with health, family and home at a different pace and intensity level. On a professional level the move to online remote work at KeepCup has increased our connection with the UK team and we have smashed through some big projects.
I have participated in a number of online events, however two lockdowns deep and I think we can all appreciate how important incidental social activity is to our mental well-being – seeing work colleagues, customers, suppliers, friends and extended family and in-real-life yoga classes!
Throughout the period there has still been a lot going on, and we have continued to work to support projects across Australia’s sustainability community (not just Victoria’s) that align with our sustainability objectives – Plastic Free Foundation, Bob Brown Foundation, B Corp Climate Action group and supporting Zali Steggall’s climate bill as well as being a key sponsor of the Australian Circular Economy Hub. We are thinking about better ways to engage our team and our customers and community around these opportunities.
That you know of, are there any major differences between the sustainability landscape across Sydney and Melbourne?
Again, I’m not sure I’m the right person to ask, but I don’t really see any major difference. Across Australia (and the world), it’s hard for any city to make progress when there is simply not enough Federal government vision and intervention to drive process and systemic change. We see fantastic things going on at community level and have seen just how quickly action can be taken and money can be spent. Now is the time to hold all leaders to account and demand by justice for the planet and its people.
What difference will it make to the KeepCup team to have an Edge team based locally?
We’ve worked with Edge for years now, and it’s never been a huge barrier to have work delivered from Sydney. We’ve always had a good experience! But we manufacture and assemble in Victoria, to have the Edge team on the ground will provide a deeper understanding our people, operations, and processes and in turn drive better outcomes for our business. There’s no substitute for regular, face-to-face and informal contact if you want to build a long-term relationship.
Any top tips for our team to speed up their integration into a new city?
Coffee! It is embedded in our culture and a part of what makes this city so wonderful. Pre-COVID Melbourne was home to over 1600 cafes and restaurants, it is more important than ever that we continue to support small business. Grab your KeepCup and get exploring!
Our Melbourne office is now open! If you’d like to catch up for a coffee with our new Victoria team, drop us a line.