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Kiwi Insurance Broker Receives Carbonzero Rating

Media release : November 23, 2012

Kiwi Insurance Broker Receives World's First Carbonzero Rating

A Kiwi company has just become the world's first internationally accredited carboNZero certified insurance broker.

Apex General Limited, a NZ-owned and operated private insurance broker based in Auckland, was awarded carboNZero certification after just 12 months.

Apex General Managing Director James McGhie says the certification is a real coup for the company as staff have worked hard to change the business model and make it more sustainable.

"At Apex General, we're interested in long-term, realistic and achievable sustainability. We're not about greenwashing the business so people like us more. The things we do are at a more grassroots environmental level.

"For the carboNZero certification, we purchased special carbon credits that go back towards regenerating our native NZ forests, a cause I am personally passionate about. I'd rather pay a bit more and give those credits back to our country - it's the least we can do anyway, if you think about it."

The goal of the carboNZero native forest regeneration plan is to increase the area of native forest on private land in New Zealand, while still providing the landowners with an income. McGhie says that this will reduce the country's net greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere while allowing native biodiversity to flourish, reduce soil erosion and improve catchment water quality.

"One day a year, I also take all the staff out on a trip to Rotoroa Island where we'll have a bit of lunch, and then get stuck into tree planting, coastal cleanup, weeding, whatever needs doing. We'll beguided by the staff on Rotoroa but do the work as a team," he says.

"I have a young family and I want to be able to take my kids out to Rotoroa Island on the ferry when they're older and spend the day there. They can look at the pohutukawa trees and say 'my Dad was involved in this'. Being a Kiwi company, we want to keep NZ clean, green and beautiful - for all the generations who will come after us."

To qualify for carboNZero certification, Apex General had to jump through several hoops, says McGhie. These included having the programme measure the company's carbon output, such as electricity and paper waste, and then providing staff with the training, tools and templates to manage and mitigate that wastage.

"The process is really fascinating by itself because carboNZero really help made us understand the kind of impact the company has at a global climate level. Little things that you do around the office can make a huge difference. It's stuff like turning the lights and computers off when not using them, having a paper recycle bin for every desk, sorting out kitchen, paper and inorganic waste, and we're also investigating how we can start printing on double-sided paper."

McGhie says that he sees the carboNZero certification as a new benchmark for the company, and hopes to come up with even more innovative ideas over the next 12 months to improve the business's sustainability model.

"We would love to be involved in more projects like the one at Rotoroa Island. The goal is not to stay at the same level as what we're doing now. I mean, that's really great, and I want to extend a big thank you to all the staff for what they've done so far - but now, we must set the bar a bit higher and aim for more, so over the next 12 months, we'll be looking at even more ways we can reduce our environmental footprint."

McGhie's commitment to the environment has seen the company become a finalist for a sustainability award at the 2012 NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards.


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