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NZ businesses front up to Smarten up

NZ businesses front up to Smarten up

Prime Minister Helen Clark could be forgiven for thinking she had walked into a construction zone when she arrived at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna yesterday. She was greeted by an array of trucks, vans and company vehicles for the roll-out of an environmental business programme which is set to change the way hundreds of New Zealand companies run their business.

The EnviroSmart(tm) programme will focus on improving the environmental performance and resource use efficiency of over 500 businesses throughout the country.

Twenty-two councils in nine regions will promote the national programme which builds on the success of a pilot programme developed by North Shore City Council in which seven businesses participated. The council went on to develop an Auckland regional programme involving multiple funding sponsors and 58 businesses.

The vehicles at the launch represented the diverse range of businesses that have been involved in the pilot programmes showing that building, manufacturing, communications and other industries can all make changes to their business that will directly benefit themselves and the environment.

"EnviroSmart(tm) is an ambitious next step involving a wide range of business of all types and sizes in a variety of different locations across the country," says North Shore City Mayor, George Wood.

Case studies from participating businesses in the two pilot programmes show how different actions can bring benefits.

The Auckland mail service centre of New Zealand Post expects energy savings of more than $200,000 over three years following an energy audit.

Phonak New Zealand, a Swiss-based hearing instrument company that has produced specialised equipment for the police and Team NZ's on-board communications system, has halved its petrol consumption by changing its vehicle fleet. It now has five Toyota Prius petrol electric hybrids, the largest known hybrid fleet in New Zealand.

Soar Printing found that 11 per cent of its solid waste is recyclable and has made 10 to 15 per cent savings in electricity costs. Flink Ink discovered that 44 per cent of its solid waste is recyclable and has changed chemical storage and stormwater systems.

The five-year, $3 million dollar* EnviroSmart(tm) programme, to be delivered by programme manager, Landcare Research, promises to benefit participants and the country. Businesses will sign up to reduce solid waste and use energy, water and raw materials efficiently, as well as to produce and purchase environmentally sound products and services.

Programme costs are shared between business participants and the funding sponsors which include local and regional councils.

The Prime Minister praised the EnviroSmart(tm) initiative and North
Shore City Council for developing the programme saying it was a fantastic example of thinking globally and acting locally.

She said that most businesses would like to be more environmentally friendly but need the sort of guidance offered by the EnviroSmart(tm) programme to help them along.

"I'm a great fan of what's happening, it's the way forward for advanced economies like ours," she told the audience.

Pointing out that around 20 per cent of Kiwis had indicated that they are willing to purchase 'environmentally-friendly' goods, it would be good if we could raise this figure to 100 per cent, Helen Clark said.

"We have to act a lot more boldly on sustainability than we have been," she said.

For further information about the EnviroSmart(tm) programme, please visit the website at http://www.envirosmart.co.nz/

(ends)

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