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Businesses rise to the Sustainability Challenge

June 2006

Businesses rise to the Sustainability Challenge

Greener buildings and cleaner paints are just some of the initiatives that will be highlighted in the inaugural Get Sustainable Challenge, launched in Wellington today.

Businesses in the lower North Island are being invited to take part in the Challenge, which recognises their efforts to become more environmentally and socially responsible. Run by the Central Region branch of the Sustainable Business Network, it is open for entries until June 30, with the winner - announced on August 31 – going to the National Awards.

“By getting involved in this challenge businesses interested in sustainable development can celebrate their achievements so far, and get practical help on how to take the next steps,” says Marion Wood, Sustainable Business Network (Central Region) chairperson. “It’s also a great chance for small businesses who would like to start on the journey to sustainability, but feel they haven’t got the time or resources to make it a priority.”

The Challenge is designed to be easy to enter, with a representative of the Sustainable Business Network doing most of the form-filling during an interview with the entrant.

Businesses that have already signed up for the Challenge are involved in a broad range of environmental initiatives, Wood says.

For example, Resene has encouraged responsible decorating by producing environmentally-friendlier Environmental Choice paints, and by actively encouraging customers to replace solvent-borne paints with water-borne ones. The company also runs an education campaign encouraging decorators to reduce the amount of paint they buy and to dispose of it responsibly.

Another entrant, Architecture firm Studio Pacific Architecture, is developing guidelines that will help ensure that the design and materials used in future buildings it creates are as environmentally sustainable as possible. The firm has already helped prepare an environmental assessment of building materials, which was published to help other architects select the most environmentally sustainable materials.

The Get Sustainable Challenge is open to small, medium and large businesses, and its principal sponsor is the Greater Wellington Regional Council, with other sponsors including the Hutt City Council and Wellington City Council.

The Challenge is a great way for businesses to measure their progress towards sustainability, says Ian Buchanan, chairperson of the Greater Wellington Regional Council. “This is a great way for businesses to benchmark against others on the road to more sustainable practice,” Buchanan says.


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