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Top sustainability award goes to New Zealand Post

New Zealand Post is supreme winner of the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards 2017

New Zealand Post is supreme winner of the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards 2017.

The announcement was made at the SBN black tie gala awards event at Auckland’s Shed 10 on November 30.

“New Zealand Post is going through a period of disruption in its business model, with people sending less mail and more parcels. New Zealand Post has chosen to use sustainability as a driver for change and this is paying dividends,” says Sustainable Business Network (SBN) CEO Rachel Brown. “New Zealand Post has led the way in sustainability for some time now. It produced New Zealand’s first integrated report in 2013 using an international framework and it has reported every year since. It uses electric vehicles, called Paxters, to deliver mail and parcels. And it is partnering with NZ Red Cross to help build resilient communities. These are just a few examples.”

The high level of entries to this year’s Awards reflects the growth in sustainability initiatives across New Zealand businesses at a time when sustainability is shifting to the mainstream of business and policy.

The latest research by Colmar Brunton says 83 per cent of Kiwis would stop buying a company’s products if they heard about them being irresponsible or unethical and 73 per cent want to work in companies that are sustainable.

Brown says “over the years we have seen a move from efficient resource management into real system shifts, responding to critical themes like restoring nature, renewable transport and good food, and reflecting the growth of new areas like the circular economy.

Newly elected New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Arden attended the SBN Awards, becoming the first PM in 10 years to do so.

“We as a new Government have an ambitious vision for New Zealand and one of the key foundations for that vision is that NZ becomes world leading in its environmental practises,” said Arden. “That means everything from being carbon neutral by 2050 to incentivising and supporting innovation in some of those industries where some of those challenges are the hardest, like agriculture. Making sure that we have a world leading emissions trading scheme, and making sure that our rivers are swimmable again. But we cannot do any of this alone. A problem shared is a problem halved so I’m sharing it with all of you. That is why I applaud the 15-year vision of the Sustainable Business Network to make New Zealand the model sustainable nation for the world.”

New Zealand Post and Red Cross team photo

“The finalists this year include small businesses, corporates and not for profits. This shows that all types of organisations can make a success out of sustainability,” she says.

NZI Sustainable Business Network Award winners for 2017:

NZI Greatest Contribution to a Sustainable New Zealand

Winner: New Zealand Post

Commendations:

Wishbone Design Studio, Common Unity Project Aotearoa.

New Zealand Post’s unique partnership with NZ Red Cross supports its disaster management programme to build more sustainable communities. These initiatives include emergency response, disaster relief for New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region.

When disaster strikes and the NZ Red Cross responds, New Zealand Post makes available support including logistics, postal, banking services and volunteer mobilisation.

The Awards judges said this is an impressive, world leading partnership in duration and scale. It is supporting emergency management at the full cost of New Zealand Post. It is a significant, well-resourced and comprehensive approach to increasing resilience of vulnerable communities experiencing adversity.

The partnership provides a dedicated New Zealand Post/Kiwibank account for Red Cross appeals accessible through an extensive network of retail stores. This gives New Zealanders an immediately accessible and established channel to make donations within 24 hours of Red Cross launching an appeal.

In the past year, $65,000 was raised in this way to help those affected by the Kaikoura Earthquake and $7,000 for the Bay of Plenty floods. Since 2011 more than $630,000 has been donated, with 100 per cent going to support those affected.

Bob Burnett, winner of the Sustainability Superstar award

As part of the partnership, New Zealand Post supports Red Cross’s five Disaster Welfare and Support Trucks located around the country. This support means they can be deployed quickly in response to a disaster. These trucks can unpack to become a welfare support reception, providing shelter and food for up to 150 people. In the last year the trucks assisted over 1,300 people affected by disaster in New Zealand.

Sustainability Superstar Sponsored by Westpac

Winner: Bob Burnett, Bob Burnett Architecture

Commendation: Dee and Steve West, ChargeNet NZ

Bob Burnett is an ardent advocate for energy efficient and sustainable building design. He has shown tireless commitment to create better places for the people of New Zealand.

Bob has been heavily involved with Homestar, a national rating tool that measures the health, warmth and efficiency of NZ houses. He was the first certified Homestar assessor in Christchurch. He also designed and funded the development of New Zealand’s first 10-star Homestar rated homes.

Burnett founded the Superhome Movement in Christchurch. A not-for-profit, industry-led initiative that aims to normalise energy efficient, sustainable homes through open source sharing of new technologies, design innovations and building techniques.

WasteMINZ

Communicating for Change Sponsored by Cadence Communications

Winner: WasteMINZ

Commendation: Sustainable Winegrowing NZ and The New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard

Love Food Hate Waste, overseen by WasteMINZ, is a behaviour change campaign to reduce food waste and increase resource efficiency. It is the first of its kind in the waste industry in New Zealand.

Waste reduction starts with increasing people’s awareness around food waste and their role in making a change. WasteMINZ has raised this awareness through communications tools including infographics, videos, blog content and social media. It has also included awareness raising initiatives such as the opening of the Community Fridge in Auckland, the Brain Popcorn Challenge and the Great Persimmon Rescue.

In the first three months of the campaign, awareness of the $820 million worth of food wasted by households every year increased by 13 per cent. Over the first 18 months, social media content had more than 6.5 million impressions. Hundreds of thousands of people were reached through organic visits to the website, online advertising and third-party coverage.

WasteMINZ partnered with 60 councils and community groups across the country to deliver Love Food Hate Waste, with support from the Ministry of the Environment.

Rich and Jen of Wishbone Design

Going Circular Sponsored by Auckland Council

Winner: Wishbone Design Studio

Commendations:

EcoStock Supplies Ltd and Ethique.

Wishbone Design Studio has created a multi-functional balance bike for children aged one to six, made from 100 per cent post-consumer recycled carpet. Wishbone Bike Recycled Edition is the world’s first bicycle made from 100 per cent recycled material.

The frame of the Recycled Edition bike is made from engineered resin sourced from recycled residential carpet. Each bike diverts 3.4kg of used carpet away from landfills and saves 4.7 litres of oil otherwise used in virgin plastic production.

The bike introduces very young children to a lifetime of cycling, while reducing landfill, minimising raw materials, and avoiding the consumption of fossil fuels in manufacturing.

The bike is a three-in-one product which transforms from three to two wheels and grows with the child, thanks to its patented RotafixTM seat-and-frame adjustability system. It is consciously designed for 100 per cent reparability: every component is available for after-market purchase.

Christchurch Airport pioneered the use of a large-scale New Zealand-designed system that heats and cools the building using the artesian water reservoir below the terminal.

Efficiency Champion Sponsored by Ricoh

Winner: Christchurch International Airport Limited

Commendation: Foodstuffs NZ Ltd

Christchurch Airport pioneered the use of a large-scale New Zealand-designed system that heats and cools the building using the artesian water reservoir below the terminal. This was a world first.

The Airport recognised that simply adopting the latest technology would not automatically mean the terminal was operating as sustainably as possible. Instead, the company understood the need to invest time and effort to continually refine operations and maximise efficiency.

Since the new terminal opened in 2013 the Airport has worked hard to cut total energy use. In the past year alone it has saved more than 6 per cent. Since the 2012 financial year, carbon emissions have been cut by 22 per cent.

Christchurch Airport has worked with consultant Enercon, which conducted a detailed energy audit, and with the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA) on a collaboration agreement. By January 2018, the Airport will have achieved more than 10 per cent in energy savings, more than twice the target set by EECA. This has been achieved at a time of record passenger numbers.

Zealandia attracts over 120,000 visitors annually

Restoring Nature Sponsored by Department of Conservation

Winner: Zealandia

Commendation: Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari

Zealandia is a conservation project restoring 225 hectares of ecosystem and threatened species. A world-first predator-proof fence has provided a safe haven for native flora and fauna for nearly 20 years.

Restoration of this valley in central Wellington has been an incredible success, largely as a result of thousands of hours of volunteer effort. Native species have dramatically increased, and several species that were wiped out from the area have been returned. Eighteen species have been reintroduced, most of which now have thriving, self-sustaining populations. This includes some of our most charismatic species, such as little spotted kiwi and hīhī, as well as tuatara and spotted skink. Birds once extinct from the mainland are now flowing beyond the fence. Kākā, kākāriki, tīeke and hihi can often be spotted in suburban backyards for the first time in New Zealand’s recent history.

The sanctuary attracts over 120,000 visitors annually. It is an opportunity to reconnect people with the natural world.

The project has involved a range of partners over many years including Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Department of Conservation, iwi and community groups.

Community Project Aotearoa is building a local food ecosystem to address the lack of accessible, affordable, healthy food in Lower Hutt.

Transforming Food Sponsored by Yealands Family Wines

Winner: Common Unity Project Aotearoa

Commendations:

Otago Locusts Limited and Pakaraka Permaculture.

Community Unity Project Aotearoa is building a local food ecosystem to address the lack of accessible, affordable, healthy food in Lower Hutt.

The project is developing a self-fertilising ecosystem by transforming borrowed lawns into organic, intensively productive micro-farms across the Hutt Valley. It is growing food while creating employment, feeding hungry school children and increasing accessibility of healthy food via a co-operative grocery, The Common Grocer.

The project provides training and support to community members wishing to become farmers. In return, these members contribute a portion of their harvest to the land owner, and some to the Koha kitchen (an initiative that feeds 2,500 school children every day). They sell the rest to cafés, restaurants, markets and The Common Grocer.

Since 2012, almost 7,000kg of produce has been produced for the Koha kitchen, making 21,000 lunches for school children. Through collaborations with Kaibosh and Commonsense Organics, 7,530kg of food has been rescued.

Bayfair Shopping Centre

Hardwired for Social Good

Winner: Bayfair Shopping Centre

Commendation: Little Yellow Bird

Bayfair has become the most accessible shopping centre in New Zealand, helping the one in four New Zealanders who have an accessibility need.

In October 2015, Bayfair was the first business to achieve the top rating of Platinum from Be.Accessible. In November 2015, Bayfair became the first New Zealand shopping centre to install a parking space for dogs. It then installed charging facilities for electric vehicles and mobility scooters.

By improving accessibility, Bayfair has raised awareness, demonstrated community leadership and met the needs of the growing number of people with accessibility issues. It has shown how practical improvements can be implemented to enhance accessibility.

Accessibility is now business as usual and ingrained in Bayfair’s culture. It has changed the way not only retailers, staff and centre management view accessibility, but the general awareness of the community and public.

Future plans include making shopping easier for autistic children and parents.

For 17 years Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari has been educating passengers about the importance of the Hauraki Gulf and its inhabitants.

Partnering for Good

Winners:

Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari

New Zealand Post & New Zealand Red Cross

Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari combines close public viewing of whales, dolphins and sea birds in the beautiful Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, with important marine science research conducted on board.

Far more than just seeing these magnificent creatures, passengers are immersed in important scientific research conducted on board. They are also able to enjoy an expert education about whales, dolphins, other marine marine-life, all while contributing directly to their protection. This is through a partnership with the Department of Conservation and both Massey and Auckland Universities.

Working alongside key partners, Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari has collectively achieved significant gains with respect to the preservation of species and environment through research, education and awareness all whilst simultaneously developing a unique visitor experience and thriving business.

For 17 years Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari has been educating passengers about the importance of the Hauraki Gulf and its inhabitants. Alongside this public education it has also provided its vessel the Dolphin Explorer free of charge for the purposes of marine-life and environmental science research efforts. It has voluntarily and directly contributed to dozens of PhD and Masters-level research studies. In the past 12 months alone 15,000 passengers have enjoyed this unique experience.

Vector’s 30-home residential development for first-home buyers includes a networked system of solar panels and batteries, inspiring energy conscious behaviour.

Revolutionising Energy Sponsored by EECA Business

Winner: Vector

Commendations:

Bayfair Shopping Centre and Reid Technology Ltd.

Vector partnered with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei on a revolutionary community housing project. The 30-home residential development for first-home buyers includes a networked system of solar panels and batteries, inspiring energy conscious behaviour.

The Kāinga Tuatahi housing project in Ōrakei is democratising access to new energy technology, while reducing power bills. The partnership between Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Vector enabled the technology to be part of the development, with a bespoke funding arrangement making it accessible to buyers of affordable homes.

The system is networked, meaning individual residents can share excess power with others in the community who need it more. New technology is coming which could enable peer-to-peer distribution outside the community. This would enable gifting to those with less means to purchase energy.

The community solution became fully operational across all 30 homes in December 2016. It helps Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei fill the role of kaitiaki of their land. They are able to facilitate greater self-sufficiency and have reduced the community’s environmental impact. In the first five months following installation, 47 per cent of the community’s energy needs were met by onsite generation and 2.84 tonnes of carbon dioxide was saved.

Flip the Fleet only launched in June 2017 but it’s changing the game

Smarter Transport Sponsored by Opus International Consultants

Winner: Flip the Fleet

Commendations:

Ecotricity and New Zealand Post.

Flip the Fleet aims to accelerate uptake of Low Emission Vehicles (LEVs) in New Zealand by measuring and communicating their performance and benefits.

Anyone can enroll free of charge and every month upload metrics from their LEV’s dashboard to a communal database. The software then calculates and reports metrics such as return on investment, trends in efficiency, battery state of health, and greenhouse gas emissions avoided. Users are alerted if their vehicle is performing poorly, or affirmed if they are leaders.

By using this ‘citizen science’ approach, Flip the Fleet is leveraging the passion and experience of early adopters. Uncertainty and lack of knowledge prevent many people from buying LEVs. By pooling data, Flip the Fleet brings the debate onto an evidential and scientific footing. The company connects users, business and policy makers. It launched in June 2017 and hopes to have monthly data from over 1000 LEVs by June 2018.


For more visit the Sustainable Business Network website, sustainable.org.nz

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