Published 5 March 2006
Prime Minister Helen Clark launched the EnviroSmart programme for businesses nationally this week after 4 years of trials by the scheme’s originator, the North Shore City Council.
7 North Shore businesses took part in the first pilot, BusinessCare Enviro-Mark, which was started in 2002, and another 59 have joined the programme since it was expanded to the rest of the Auckland region in 2004, with funding by councils in the region, Landcare Research & the Ministry for the Environment.
The 2-year regional pilot offered businesses expert personal & practical advice about environmental management, recognised environmental certification through Enviro-Mark NZ and assistance towards programme costs.
Landcare Research is managing the national EnviroSmart programme, which aims to improve the environmental performance & resource use efficiency of more than 500 recruited businesses.
Landcare Research said they would benefit from:
cost savings by working smarter to reduce operational expenses such as energy, water, solid waste & raw materials
improving compliance by implementing systems for health, safety & environmental management
reducing their environmental risk by having a programme to reduce environmental impacts
improving their reputation, demonstrating to stakeholders that they’re serious about improving their environmental performance
motivating staff through participation in a programme that benefits the wider community, and
building capacity & in-house skills through ongoing staff training & development.
“People take pride in taking part in initiatives like this because it makes a difference â€“ and it does make a difference to the bottom line,” The Prime Minister said.
“Initiatives such as EnviroSmart are very practical and there is a growing market worldwide for products which are sustainable & eco-friendly.” She said 43 government agencies with a total procurement budget of $2 billion were looking now not only at whether a product or service fitted the purpose, but also whether they were eco-friendly options.
Landcare Research chairman Rob Fenwick said: “So many New Zealanders are realising that environmental protection is a critical part of their business.”
The big difference in a project like EnviroSmart was that in recent years the science had improved. Mr Fenwick said Landcare Research had morphed in the past 10 years from simply focusing on biodiversity. “The trick is not just how to lay these measures out, but how to make them business-friendly. Unless you get engagement of business it isn’t going to happen.”
He said EnviroSmart was a classic example of public-good research at work in partnership with local government and making Government policy come to life.
Mr Fenwick also said that although Landcare Research was managing the project now, long-term guardianship wasn’t necessarily its role and the programme might be sold.
Website: Landcare Research Envirosmart
Attribution: Project launch, council press release, Landcare Research website, story written by Bob Dey for this website.