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Excellence in Environmental Management

28 February 2006

Excellence in Environmental Management strongly linked to Company Performance

The top five recipients of the Corporate Environmental and Social Responsiveness Awards announced tonight realise the impact a strategic approach to environmental management can have on their performance, reputation and long term viability of the company.

Watercare Services Limited, Methanex NZ Limited and Mobil Oil New Zealand tied for top place in the awards, followed by Works Infrastructure and Sanford Limited.

“Traditionally companies from these sectors are associated with high impacts on the environment,” says Dr Delyse Springett, Director of the Centre for Business and Sustainable Development, Massey University, who managed the self assessment survey and report. “Now, however, these and many other companies operating in New Zealand recognise the importance of a strategic approach to environmental management, and have acknowledged the breadth of the sustainable development debate in terms of economic, social and environmental responsibility.”

The awards, which were presented by Hon. Steve Maharey, are based on an annual survey, ‘The New Zealand Survey of Corporate Environmental Responsiveness’ – an important benchmarking tool for companies involved in strategic environmental management.

The survey assesses how systematic a company’s approach is to environmental management with the key parameters of the survey being: Corporate Governance, Corporate Environmental Policy, Environmental Objectives, Environmental Targets, Regular Communication with Stakeholders, Employee Environmental Action Plan, Environmental Management System, Environmental Audit Process, Environmental-focused Supplier Programme and Environmental Stewardship.

Harvey Weake, Managing Director, Methanex New Zealand Limited, explains “Sustainability is crucial to the operation of our business. We produce Methanol throughout its life cycle – literally from cradle to grave. This involves governance, product stewardship, and having a sound environmental policy.”

ExxonMobil strives for flawless execution and continuous improvement in all parts of the business including its global environmental programme.

“For Mobil Oil New Zealand this means that our environmental goal is to drive operational incidents with environmental impact to zero. This benefits our business and also the communities in which we operate. The survey is important because it is an avenue to benchmark our approach and performance against other New Zealand companies in a wide range of industries.

Watercare Services Limited says its responsibility is to provide the Auckland Region with clean safe drinking water, while operating at a minimum cost, and maintain the long term integrity of its assets while supporting the environmental and public health of the region’s people.

“The challenge for Watercare is to apply sustainability business principles in such a way as to achieve optimal balance of all those imperatives,” says Mark Ford, CEO, Watercare Services. “The survey contributes to our knowledge which helps the company’s decision making.”

Works Infrastructure is a provider and maintainer of essential infrastructure services.

“We’re sensitive to the potential and actual impact of our business on communities . We have an important role to play in delivering sustainable development both through the infrastructure that it provides and with a productive use of materials and natural resources,” says Brent Waldon, Chief Executive, Works Infrastructure.

Sanford Limited’s Chief Executive, Eric Barratt, says that reporting performance is part of their commitment to ‘sustainable seafood’, and that the survey enables them to inform their increasingly health and environmentally conscious stakeholders of the progress that they have made.

“The business case continues to be made by encouraging customer loyalty, maintaining and enhancing relationships in communities in which we operate, reducing environmental impacts and the costs of resource consent as well as attracting and maintaining loyal employees.”

For the first time there were five questions about Corporate Social Responsiveness in the survey, which were developed by a team of managers from the Core Leadership Group. The focus of the questions addressed the overall social impacts and effects of companies; social responsibility towards employees, the local community, clients, customers and suppliers.

ENDS

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