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Cut carbon, cut costs : benefits of new certification

Cut carbon, cut costs: accounting firm Staples Rodway counts the benefits of new certification

Gone are the days when environment advocates were seen as earnest but hopelessly impractical types who cared more about trees than keeping businesses afloat. Now solid environmental practices are being embraced by once-major polluters such as Toyota, Auckland Airport and freight giant Toll, all well aware of the social capital to be gained by going green.

However, there are hidden benefits for even desk-based organisations, which can attract big dollar savings and millennial staff by becoming accredited eco-warriors.

Staples Rodway Auckland recently celebrated becoming the first New Zealand accounting firm to receive CEMARS (Certified Emissions Management and Reduction Scheme) accreditation. As financial experts, they’re keen to show clients that cutting carbon emissions makes good business sense.

“One of the first steps we’ve taken is to install LED lighting in our offices, meaning our power bill goes down,” says business advisory services director Annette Azuma.

Every carbon emission has a dollar value attached. For every percentage point your carbon footprint shrinks, your costs will reduce by the same amount. For a professional services organisation without a lot of vehicles on the road, this could mean consolidating staff travel, switching light bulbs or reducing paper or ink usage.

The average emissions saving of businesses who belong to CEMARS is 17 per cent over three years, but some organisations have achieved much more than this, such as Auckland Museum ($500,000) and Counties Manukau District Health Board ($4 million). Since switching to LED lighting Staples Rodway Auckland has shaved 30% off its daily electricity bill.

Ms Azuma says that isn’t the only reason to join.

“It also helps us recruit the best new graduates,” she says. “These days, young millennials are much more interested in the environment. If they see our ethics align with theirs, that’s a great attraction for them.”

The 2016 Colmar Brunton Better Futures Report showed 72 per cent of millennials want to work somewhere with a strong ethical and environmental ethos.

As part of the CEMARS accreditation process, which acknowledges organisations’ actions to reduce their emissions and waste, an environmental audit is carried out on an annual basis.


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