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Published: 2006-03-14 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is offering to help local businesses become more environmentally friendly – and possibly save thousands of dollars in the process.

The council is promoting the new EnviroSmart programme, a national initiative managed by Landcare Research.

EnviroSmart is designed to help more than 500 New Zealand businesses improve their environmental performance within a two-year time frame.

Objectives include:

Reducing solid waste.
Using energy, water and raw materials efficiently.
Producing and purchasing environmentally-sound products and services.
Achieving gold level certification under Enviro-Mark NZ, a business standard for health, safety and environmental management.

Environment Waikato has made a commitment to support 10 local businesses through the EnviroSmart programme over the next 12 months.

“We will be providing funding support and can help with applications, so if you’re interested please get in touch with us,” said Environment Waikato community education facilitator Felicity Fahy.

Businesses selected for the programme will receive practical help and advice, including support from EnviroSmart consultants, access to workshops and on-line tools and guidance on health, safety and environmental compliance issues.

EnviroSmart began as a pilot scheme developed by North Shore City Council and expanded to involve 58 businesses throughout the Auckland region. It is now being supported by 22 councils across nine regions, following its national launch last week.

New Zealand Post’s Auckland mail service centre is one success story – it expects to save more than $200,000 over three years as a result of an energy audit.

Another company, Phonak New Zealand, has halved its petrol consumption through changes to its vehicle fleet, which now includes five petrol electric hybrids.

Anyone interested in signing up to the programme or wanting more information is encouraged to call Environment Waikato on 0800 800 401.

Prime Minister Helen Clark, speaking at the programme’s recent launch, said EnviroSmart was a fantastic example of thinking globally and acting locally.

“We have to act a lot more boldly on sustainability than we have been,” she said.

For more information on the EnviroSmart programme, visit www.envirosmart.co.nz.