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Real Estate Industry Significant Polluter, Needs To Do More For Environment

Real estate agents driving petrol or diesel vehicles emit 10’s of thousands of tonnes of C02 each year, and more than 500,000 native trees would need to be planted and grow for 20 years to offset just one year’s worth of emissions.

New Zealand’s fastest growing real estate company is calling time on fossil fuelled cars and other environmentally harmful practices, as it begins rolling out its EV fleet – and is issuing a challenge to the industry to do more for the environment before it's too late.

Tall Poppy is working with Carbn Asset Management (Carbn) to assist with the transition of the company’s internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles (EV’s). Based on a sample of Tall Poppy Sales Consultant’s vehicles, Carbn’s analysis revealed an average distance travelled of 22,400 km’s per year with each individual vehicle emitting approximately 5.9 tonnes of C02 per annum.

Michael Cummins, COO for Tall Poppy, says when you consider the potential impact of fossil fuelled cars across the entire industry, it reveals a serious problem.

"The Real Estate Authority reported 14,234 active license holders in New Zealand in 2019. If each of these agents drive a similar average distance of 22,4000 KM, in a similar type of vehicle, they each may also emit 5.9 tonnes of C02 per year.

“Real estate agents spend most of their time in their cars, travelling to meet vendors and buyers. Emissions are a sleeping giant in our industry, and one I don't think people want to openly address," says Michael Cummins.

Tall Poppy's newly created Photography/Videography national workforce is the first team to receive the new cars, and sales consultants who switch to an EV will become 'Eco Agents' and receive incentives. Mark Ruddlesden from Carbn says moving to a fully electric vehicle has an immediate positive impact on the environment and the cost of running an EV makes good economic sense as well.

“EV's typically cost less to maintain and less to ‘fuel’. Travelling the average distance of 22,400, the total fuel cost is currently estimated at $3,850 per year for an ICE vehicle. In comparison, the annual electricity cost for an EV travelling the same distance is estimated to be $740," says Mark Ruddlesden.

The ongoing cost to service an EV is also significantly lower than an ICE vehicle, mainly due to the lower number of moving parts.

Tall Poppy is also rolling out several other initiatives to reduce its environmental impact. Solar-powered reusable signs are next, replacing the corflute plastic that has been used for generations on real estate signs across the country.

Michael Cummins says its head office is also moving to become a paperless office later this year.

"In just one month at our head office, we use 90kg of wood, 2,873 L of water, creating 18 kilograms of solid waste and 629 pounds of greenhouse gasses, just to print on paper. Over an entire year, we could operate 12 fridges with the energy used.

"When you consider the hundreds of real estate offices around the country, and what they each use every day across more than 14,000 active agents, we have a problem. Part of our model has been to have one main office, with our national teams working mostly from home, to reduce overheads and our footprint.

“For too long, the industry has ignored and downplayed its impact. Now is the time for us all to step up and do our bit to look after the environment," says Michael Cummins.

New Zealand has made climate change commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Convention), the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol, which includes reducing our emissions to 50% below 1990 levels by 2050.

About Tall Poppy

Tall Poppy is New Zealand’s fastest-growing and award-winning Real Estate Agency, headquartered on the Kāpiti Coast, north of Wellington. It has been voted first equal for Customer Satisfaction 2021 by Canstar, and Agency of the Year 2021 by RateMyAgent. Founded in 2012, it operates throughout New Zealand and has saved New Zealanders more than $65 million in fees. It is working to create a fairer real estate industry for all Kiwis and prides itself in being an active member of the communities in which it operates.


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