The Ministry for the Environment is supporting the NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards by assisting us in providing sustainable catering.
Why the Ministry for the Environment is passionate about sustainability
The Ministry for the Environment is the Government's primary adviser on the New Zealand environment and international matters that affect the environment. The Ministry also has a growing leadership role in relation to sustainable development.
As part of this leadership role, the Ministry has a range of responsibilities in measuring and managing its own environmental performance in line with targets set out in the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy 2007 (NZEECS), and international best practice benchmarks.
Particular areas of focus for measuring and managing the Ministry's environmental performance, under the umbrella of the Govt3 Programme, are the Carbon Neutral Public Service Programme and the travel planning process.
The Govt3 programme is designed to give practical effect to the government's sustainability policies. Within the five Govt3 topic areas, the Ministry for the Environment measures a set of indicators designed to represent the effectiveness of the Ministry's sustainable business practices.
Achievements by the Ministry for the Environment from a sustainable point of view
The 2007/08 financial year yielded significant improvements across the Ministry's set of sustainability indicators showing positive improvement in air travel, distance travelled by ground transport, waste and paper consumption.
The major outcomes of this year's environmental performance include:
• waste to landfill per full-time equivalent staff member has decreased by 38 percent
• distance travelled by ground transport per full-time equivalent staff member (including Ministry fleet vehicles, taxi's and rental cars) decreased by 20 percent
• domestic air travel per full-time equivalent staff member decreased by 6 percent
• international air travel per full-time equivalent staff member decreased by 31 percent
• paper consumption per full-time equivalent staff member has decreased 12 percent
Air travel and electricity consumption continue to contribute significantly to the Ministry's carbon footprint, and remain the areas on which to focus improvements for the 2008/09 year.
Future Ministry for the Environment plans in sustainability
The Ministry can be proud of its environmental performance in a number of areas. Reductions in annual greenhouse gas emissions for 2007/08 indicate the Ministry is continuing to make positive improvement across all areas of the business. Policies continue to be developed and implemented to help to further raise staff awareness of areas for improvement. A focus on reducing the Ministry's energy consumption and domestic and international air travel will help reduce the Ministry's carbon footprint in line with our commitment to be carbon neutral by 2012. Attention will be given to these indicators to achieve a further 10 percent reduction per FTE in 2008/09.
Why the Ministry for the Environment have got behind the SBN Awards
The National Sustainable Business Awards are an opportunity to recognise businesses, regionally and nationally, for their efforts in sustainability.
The Ministry for the Environment has partnered with the SBN for a number of years and recognises the value that the SBN provides to New Zealand's society, economy and the environment. The SBN continues to build an effective network of business members and has developed a range of sustainability tools to assist firms in translating sustainability into their activities.
Starting last year, the Government will provide $750,000 in funding (over 3 years) to the SBN under the Business Partnerships for Sustainability project. The funding will assist the SBN to:
1. Improve the Get Sustainable Challenge and increase the number of businesses participating in the programme across each of the 5 regions.
2. Increase operational capability to deliver high quality business advice on sustainability.
3. Continue holding the National Sustainable Business Awards.
4. Develop a Sustainable Design Cluster to build capability in sustainable design practice amongst New Zealand's design community.
The funding of the SBN is the first stage in a wider area of work to build the capability of New Zealand firms to deliver sustainable business practices.