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Helping NZ business achieve sustainability

Press Release

November 2006

Shell NZ initiative helping New Zealand business achieve sustainability

Two heavyweights in the New Zealand business community have celebrated one year as a joint force initiative to help push the country towards a more sustainable future.

Shell New Zealand and the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development came together to form the Shell New Zealand Sustainability Fund, launched in October 2005.

The fund is aimed at helping small to medium enterprises (SMEs) develop and implement systems enabling them to operate in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way.

The first three of six grants were awarded in August to Futuregenz in Invercargill for an initiative to develop an environmental guideline for business; Trip Convergence Ltd to help trial a traffic congestion reduction programme in Auckland; and Range Industries in Christchurch for a plastic stream re-processing initiative.

Three more grants announced this month are to Wellington Zoo for a system to reduce solid waste; North Shore City Council for its EnviroSmart Programme to improve the environmental performance and resource use efficiency of businesses throughout New Zealand; and City Fibreglass Ltd in Tauranga for a new system to reduce the environmental effect of making car bumpers.

The six grants make a total of $120,000 in funding for environmental sustainability this year.

Shell New Zealand’s chairman, Dr Ajit Bansal, believes the fund will be of great benefit to New Zealanders.

"New Zealand is facing increasingly important environmental and social issues, and the need to preserve our environment and nurture our communities has become evident.

"The fund is a great chance for Shell to help businesses and reward initiatives that help to prepare the country for a future dependent on what we do today."

Futuregenz managing director Carolyn Dean believes the fund is a welcome initiative for small business wanting to improve their sustainability.

"A lot of smaller businesses have good ideas but not the resources to put these ideas into place, and that’s where this fund can really make a difference. It has enabled us to develop our ideas that will hopefully be a great benefit to the business community as well as the environment," she says.

New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development chief executive Peter Neilson agrees that the fund is a positive step for the country.

"By targeting the SME sector – which is the backbone of the New Zealand economy, making up 97% of all businesses – the Shell New Zealand Sustainability Fund provides an opportunity for real change," he says.

Shell is currently looking at applications for next year’s grants, visit www.shell.co.nz for further information.

--

Notes to the Editor:

Shell New Zealand and the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development are partners in the Shell New Zealand Sustainability Fund.

The Fund aims to help SMEs develop and implement systems that will enable them to operate in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way. Creating a culture of sustainable business practice across the SME sector, will have positive outcomes for society, the economy and environment.

The Fund is open to applications from:

1. SMEs requiring foundation funding to implement a new initiative/business practice that reduces their environmental impact and which is applicable beyond their own business.

2. Organisations or individuals that want to provide advice, consultancy or education services to SMEs about practices that will reduce their impact on the environment.


Project areas that would meet the objectives of the Fund include, but are not limited to:

* Emissions reduction

* Greater energy efficiency

* Waste reduction

* Reduced consumption of natural and/or non-renewable resources

* Increased recycling of materials

* Reduced water consumption

* Reduced consumption or creation of environmentally harmful products

* Improved water quality/prevention of run-off


There is no limit to the number of applications an organisation may submit, provided that each application meets the assessment criteria. However, each specific project or initiative will only be eligible to receive one award, as the Fund is not intended to provide ongoing funding. In this context, projects should be self-supporting in the long run.

Assessment Criteria:

1. Applicants must demonstrate that their project/initiative will contribute directly to a reduction of the environmental impact of SME business practices.

2. The project/initiative must be focused on changing SME business practices to achieve sustainable, long-term improvements in environmental outcomes.

3. The benefits of the project/initiative must be applicable to more than one SME.

4. Applicants that are SMEs must provide specific details of how they intend to share their knowledge or practices to other business in the SME sector.

5. The project/initiative must be self-supporting in the long run.


Fund Recipients

Futuregenz - Invercargill

Futuregenz is aiming to develop an educational resource/guideline for Southland SMEs who wish to reduce their environmental impact.

Futuregenz is undertaking an extensive consultation process with local councils and a range of businesses to determine existing information needs in the business community. When the research is completed it will be pulled together into a final resource in early 2007. The company hopes to have the resource available to all businesses in the Southland area with the help of local councils.

Range Industries Limited – Christchurch

Range Industries Limited is in ongoing development of a new proprietary system to reprocess waste plastic streams that are not currently being recycled.

Range Industries will need to invest in a cooling unit for the recycling process which will increase the volume of waste plastic being reprocessed. The remainder of the grant will be put towards sourcing waste plastic streams from local councils and waste operators throughout New Zealand.

Trip Convergence Ltd – Auckland

Trip Convergence Ltd has developed the HOVER Project which aims to reduce peak hour commuter congestion by enabling more commuters to find carpools at a time which suits them from a common convergence point.

The HOVER (High Occupancy Vehicles in Express Routes) Project aims to have over a quarter of the current estimated 40,000 commuter cars on Auckland’s main roads during peak hours parked off road within the next 10 years and Auckland commuters choosing to use the HOVER system to carpool in an aim to ease traffic congestion.

Wellington Zoo – Wellington

Wellington Zoo has planned a new waste management system that will move them towards their ultimate goal of achieving zero solid waste to landfill.

The project will build on systems that are already in place, introducing recycling pods around the site for visitor use, and purchasing a commercial composting machine that allows the conversion of organic waste into compost.

EnviroSmart Programme – North Shore City Council

EnviroSmart is a joint council initiative focused on improving the environmental performance and resource efficiency of businesses throughout New Zealand. It builds on the success of two pilot programmes and allows for the recruitment of over 500 businesses of varying types and sizes.

The grant will help minimise the cost to individual businesses to participate in the EnviroSmart Programme, which will maximise the number of businesses that will be able to take part. Other sponsors include the Ministry for the Environment, and 24 regional and city councils.

City Fibreglass Ltd – Tauranga

City Fibreglass Limited has found a new system to reduce the environmental effect of making car bumpers by significantly reducing emissions from the resins that are currently used in the manufacturing of bumpers.

The company has participated in a long period of research to find the most cost effective and environmentally sound system for producing car bumpers, and will use the funding to purchase and install the new machinery.

ENDS

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