Lifting environmental performance
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.”
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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