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Tourism leading effort to reduce greenhouse gases

News release
November 15

Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism leading
effort to reduce greenhouse gases

Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions have seen it become the first regional tourism organisation in New Zealand to earn carboNZero certification.

“This achievement demonstrates our commitment to the environment and to providing leadership in this area,’’ says Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive Christine Prince.

“We are the first regional tourism organisation in New Zealand to achieve this status and only a handful of other tourism companies have or are working towards certification so we are definitely leading from the front in terms of helping New Zealand live up to its clean green image.’’

The carboNZero programme is administered by Landcare Research and provides a mechanism to recognize organisations which are reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and neutralizing their remaining unavoidable emissions.

As part of the certification process Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism had to measure, manage and mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions from its vehicle fleet, electricity usage, and air travel.

This involved an external audit and the purchasing of carbon credits through EBEX21 for native forest regeneration projects throughout New Zealand, including Canterbury.

“The whole process took about six months but was well worth the effort,’’ Christine Prince says. “We all need to play our part in reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions and we felt it was particularly important that we showed leadership on this issue because so much of the marketing of our country to international visitors is based on our branding as 100% pure.’’

Last week Prime Minister Helen Clark unveiled a new seven-year plan for tourism in which she challenged the industry to be the first to be totally sustainable.

She said it was vital New Zealand went the extra mile to prove its sustainability credentials and its clean green positioning because of the distance people needed to travel to come here.

Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism’s commitment to safe-guarding the environment goes beyond the carboNZero programme. Both its administration office and visitor centre have achieved Green Globe 21 certification for the past four years and the organisation is constantly introducing new initiatives to lessen its impact on the environment. For example, it has put in place a comprehensive recycling programme, only uses biodegradable cleaning products, and aims to use less paper through double-siding documents where possible.

“We’re constantly seeking ways we can reduce our impact on the environment. Something like predominantly using recycled paper for our operations might not seem like much on its own but taken together with other initiatives it does make a difference,’’ Christine Prince says.

Other New Zealand businesses involved in the carboNZero programme include Meridian Energy,Contact Energy, Toyota NZ, South Pacific Pictures, the New Zealand Wine Company, Intercity and Warren & Mahoney.

For more information on the carboNZero programme check out www.carbonzero.co.nz.

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