Tauranga Centre Takes Next Step In Sustainablity
Media Release August 2008
Tauranga’s Bayfair Shopping Centre Takes The Next Step In Its Nation-Leading Sustainable Practice
Retail isn’t famous for its eco-friendliness, but one regional shopping centre is changing all that by showing that turning a profit and caring for the environment don’t have to be mutually exclusive – that in fact, a green retail ethos is better for the bottom line.
The Bay of Plenty’s Bayfair Shopping Centre has spent five years showing it can be done, becoming the nation’s leading innovator in shopping centre recycling and sustainability. What centre management has learned has led to the plan for a comprehensive ‘sustainable culture’, in which staff are trained in environmental initiatives, encouraged to take leadership roles in maintaining and furthering the centre’s sustainability, and incentivized with a reward system.
The centre has some serious coin to show for its development of a wide-ranging sustainability programme over the past five years, having saved more than $270,000 thanks to recycling and energy conservation measures.
“We’ve reduced our waste costs by 44 percent in that period, too,” says Bayfair’s Operations Manager Steve Ellingford. “Bayfair is committed to being a leader in sustainability and to encouraging others to follow suit. If it’s possible for us, as a large regional shopping centre, to successfully institute such a strategy, it’s possible on a large scale across New Zealand.”
Mr Ellingford says staff buy-in to the programme is critical for the centre to maintain and advance its leading sustainable status. “It’s about people, and creating a culture where our cleaning and security staff – the ones whose work makes Bayfair a pleasant and safe place to shop – are given the opportunity to lead and manage.”
The development of a sustainable culture isn’t about being prescriptive and issuing instructions, he says. “The staff are the ones who drive it and make it work. It has been a step-by-step process to get Bayfair to this point, and we are taking it further by giving staff responsibility where they want it. This level of buy-in is what gets the results we’ve had. It’s all about creating a culture where people want to come to work, are involved and see the value of their role in Bayfair’s sustainable practice.”
The building of this culture includes the following initiatives:
• Every two months, there are three days of sustainability training for retailers and delivery people, addressing waste audit (what retailers are disposing of that can be recycled), health and safety, and what Bayfair is currently recycling and steps for improvement on the existing systems;
• A question-and-answer session for visitors to the waste collection area, which evaluates their current practices, takes account of their ideas for upgrading their practices, and proposes areas for improving their specific recycling system;
• An environmental induction for all cleaning staff, giving an overview of Bayfair’s practices, what is being done regionally and nationally, and what the expectations are for sustainable operations at the centre;
• The appointment of an environmental warden, which cycles among staff each month and requires the appointed person to provide guidance on recycling and lead and upskill other staff;
• A reward system based on an award for the sustainable person/s of the month, to incentivize staff members to go the extra mile. Staff are given vouchers that can be used at any of the centre’s 90-plus stores.
About Bayfair Shopping Centre
More than 90 of the Bay’s best stores are conveniently located under one roof, with seven-day opening and two late nights to accommodate busy lifestyles. Large-format stores include Farmers, K-Mart, Countdown and Woolworths. Bayfair provides a full range of services for customers, including a parents’ room, wheelchairs, strollers and kiddy karts. We also have free interior and exterior parking for 1700 vehicles.
Bayfair is committed to the local environment and is a strong supporter of the paper4trees project, which rewards 60 schools in the local area with trees for their recycling efforts.