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Published: 2010-10-01 00:00:00

Following on from the success of last year’s trial “Carbon $ave” programme for business, Environment Waikato is reminding local firms that its Sustainabiz programme is continuing to offer advice on how to integrate sustainable practices into business operations.

The reminder follows the release of research by the Waikato Management School which identified a major “sustainability divide” developing between firms who continue to benefit from integrating sustainability into their business practice and those who dropped it during the financial crisis.

Last year, with $35,000 funding from the Ministry for the Environment’s Sustainable Management Fund, EW worked with 17 Waikato businesses as part of a trial to help them understand and manage their carbon footprint.

The trial was supported by Hamilton City Council and the South Waikato, Taupo, Waikato and Waipa district councils through the Sustainabiz programme.

Some of the results included:
· Tokoroa firm Holsters Engineering and Taupo Airport upgraded lighting systems, reducing their carbon footprint by an estimated 2.5 tonnes a year and making a combined annual forecast saving on energy of $2000.
· First Credit Union in Hamilton reduced energy use by 10 per cent, and was expected to save up to $1000 a year, by implementing a range of initiatives, including an organic waste collection system.
· Patrick’s hairdressing school developed a sustainability training module which is being adopted as an industry standard.

“The 17 medium-sized businesses were provided with tailored plans to help them reduce waste, and energy and fuel use, and save money in the process,” said EW sustainable business facilitator Barnaby Smith.

“All the businesses provided positive feedback and appreciated council efforts to work alongside the business community.”

Sue Paris of First Credit Union in Hamilton said: ”We have all learnt from this project and changed or improved systems to benefit the environment.”

Mr Smith said the Sustainabiz programme remained available on an ongoing basis to assist other businesses in developing sustainable practices.

“Carbon $ave has been a really useful exercise for us all and we want to work with a wider range of businesses now to help them save money and achieve competitive advantage, as well as doing the right thing by the next generation by preserving our resources.”

The website www.sustainabiz.co.nz provides a good overview of what support businesses can access or call Barnaby Smith on 0800 800 401 for more information.