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Lifting environmental performance

Tom O'Leary Nov 11
Lifting environmental performance
Yealands Winery engaged Enviro-Mark Solutions before it had dug the first spade full of soil to create its winery.

If you are a business there is every possibility you are not aware of the full extent of your carbon footprint – your impact upon our precious environment.

Environmental performance is key for a successful business to maximise performance, minimise risk and engage with stakeholders.

The use of energy, fuels and inefficient appliances, freight transport, air travel and waste materials feeding the landfills, are just some of the business activities that contribute to an organisation’s carbon footprint, created simply through the daily operation of a business.

But help is just around the corner in the form of Enviro-Mark Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Crown owned research institute Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, which was instrumental in the development of carbon trading in New Zealand.

Using established ISO standards, Enviro-Mark Solutions provides robust but practical programmes tailored for a business to manage its carbon, environmental and energy impacts.

Headed by chief executive officer Dr. Ann Smith, Enviro-Mark Solutions is the only body accredited to provide carbon certification in Australia and New Zealand. “We have four certification schemes,” says Dr. Smith.

“We have two management system programmes – Enviro-Mark® and Energy-Mark®. And we have two carbon programmes; carboNZeroCertTM and CEMARS® – which stands for Certified Emissions Measurement And Reduction Scheme.”

Both carboNZero and CEMARS require a company to measure its footprint in accordance with an ISO standard specified by Enviro-Mark Solutions and prepare a management plan with emissions reduction targets.

“Then year-on-year the business is measured against those targets. If the business is carboNZero certified it offsets any emissions that it cannot reduce through certified carbon credits.”

Other solutions offered include guidance on preparing a carbon roadmap, gap analysis and science based targets.

“When clients measure their footprint they are often surprised about what activities generate the most emissions.

“For an office based business or a Government Department the largest source of emissions is often air travel. Whereas for a manufacturing, site it will be the use of electricity, waste to landfills and freight.”

For many companies freight is another big source of emission – delivery of materials and distribution of products to market. “Freight logistics can result in significant reductions in emissions through more efficient routes and maintenance of vehicles.

“Bringing electric vehicles into the fleet is another way that companies can reduce emissions if they have a big car fleet.”

With 400 clients worldwide across Enviro-Mark Solutions’ four programmes, Dr. Smith says the main reason that businesses go through certification is that they believe it to be the right thing to do.

“They’re concerned about climate change and they want their companies to be leaders in their sector or business community. Cost savings are not high on the list, but it helps.

“Almost every company that we work with makes cost savings because if you can reduce your emissions you are being more energy and fuel efficient and pay less for landfi ll.”

Companies also see an opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competitors, establishing a marketing advantage targeted at an increasing number of consumers looking for environmentally friendly businesses and products. For some businesses, it enables access to international markets because the supply chain demands it.

“Taking action is important for staff recruitment and retention because millennials are really concerned about climate change and they want to know that the companies they work for share the same values and have sustainable practices.

“Many reduction activities require behavioral change and this can motivate staff to become more engaged in sustainability projects.”

Dr. Smith says Yealands Winery is an example of a business that engaged Enviro-Mark Solutions before they had dug the first spade full of soil to create their winery.

They have been measuring their carbon footprint since inception and many of their wines are carboNZero certified products.

“For all certified wine ranges they measure the whole lifecycle of how a bottle of wine is produced, including production, transport, packaging, waste and everything that causes emissions between cradle to grave stages of the product lifecycle Enviro-Mark Solutions carbon certification is also approved by the British Government for carbon and energy compliance reporting in the United Kingdom.

“We’re one of a small number of organisations that can provide accredited carbon certification in the UK. For example, around 100 UK companies are certified through Enviro-Mark Solutions CEMARS programme including Eurostar, High Speed Rail, Anglian Water and Costain.”

Lifting environmental performance

Anne Smith: “When clients measure their footprint they are often surprised about what activities generate the most emissions.”

Dr. Smith says their UK CEMARS certified clients have a combined carbon footprint larger than the whole of New Zealand.

“New Zealand has a relatively small footprint and through businesses like Enviro-Mark Solutions, New Zealand can have a much bigger impact on reducing emissions to the atmosphere by selling know-how and expertise overseas.

“The more big overseas companies that use our programmes, the more influence we have over reducing emissions.”

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