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Putting Its Money Where Its Carbon Is

27 August 2012

Putting Its Money Where Its Carbon Is

CSR, GHG and sustainability - buzzwords that are often bandied around by businesses to appease their social and environmental conscience. But one company is putting its money where its mouth is, and proving that environmental sustainability is good for business.

Two years after being awarded carboNZero certification, local IT and print solution company Hawke’s Bay Document Technology (HBDT) is continuing to reduce its carbon footprint even while the business is expanding. According to HBDT’s Duncan Wallace, sustainability makes good business sense.

“It’s not just a feel-good factor. Being committed to reducing our carbon footprint also makes financial sense. For example, we pay a nominal amount to get our recycling bin emptied each week, so are not paying for landfill which also impacts negatively on the environment,” says Mr Wallace.

HBDT was awarded carboNZero certification in 2010. To achieve that status the company measured its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to understand what its impact was on the global climate. To ensure continuation of certification, the company undergoes an intensive and expensive audit annually.

For HBDT, a commitment to managing and reducing its GHG emissions began by creating a reduction plan, with any remaining emissions that the organisation cannot avoid, being offset by purchasing verified carbon credits. The company discovered the largest source of carbon use is fuel for its company vehicle fleet.

“Our company is in growth mode, which means there are increasingly more vehicles on the road. To minimise our carbon emissions, we have implemented a travel system that ensures service technicians are maximising their trips and doing business in one place, rather than backwards and forwards. We are progressively changing our fleet vehicles to diesel as the CO2 emissions are lower. Diesel fuel contains no lead and emissions of the regulated pollutants (carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides) are lower also. Although our business is expanding, we need to match our carbon footprint. Fuel is an emission we can do something about,” explains Mr Wallace.

But fuel rationalisation isn’t the only way HBDT is dealing with reducing its carbon footprint. The company recently implemented a new computer operating system to improve the overall management of the business and with the ability to pinpoint areas of the business where efficiencies can be created. One such area is improving stock management to ensure technicians have everything they need when they go to a job, rather than having to return to the depot to get parts. The system is also monitoring stock ordering, resulting in a reduction of shipments.

Being carboNZero also fits with Ricoh, the global giant for who HBDT is Hawke’s Bay’s exclusive agency. “Ricoh has been on the environmental sustainability path for at least 10-15 years and Ricoh New Zealand has been carboNZero for four years. For its commitment to reducing GH, Ricoh has been acknowledged as one of the 2012 Corporate Knights Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies. Ricoh is also New Zealand's first office equipment supplier to have its products accredited with the Environmental Choice Tick of Approval (initiated and endorsed by the New Zealand government). We are definitely thinking global, acting local,” says Mr Wallace.

In New Zealand to date, 679 carboNZero certificates have been issued, 74.56 million tonnes CO2-e verified footprints and 283,522 tonnes CO2e have been offset by NZ businesses.


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