CLIMATE CHANGE – Do you think twice before you fly?

28 March 2017

SBN’s recent Auckland ‘Working with waterways’ Networking event inspired one company to take a simple, innovative leadership position on company flying. What would happen if every company matched what they spend on flights with donations to environme

It was the stuff that SBN events are made of. Last Tuesday’s Auckland Green Drinks. Georgina Hart, who leads SBN’s Million Metres Project, had just finished presenting on its efforts to restore New Zealand’s waterways. Jon Brett, Founder of the TetraMap learning model, stepped forward and made an impromptu speech.

“I think we should be inspired by projects like this one,” he said. “I also think more companies should be doing more about the extent to which we fly.”

Jon then laid out his idea that all companies should set aside the same amount of money spent on business flights each year to donate to environmental charities.

“Our actions are causing the problems, so we have a responsibility,” he explained. “I will be putting this idea forward for agreement from the board tomorrow.”

A member of Tetramap’s board was present, and clearly wasn’t aware of what Jon was about to suggest. Tetramap’s board approved the move, and it will now form a key part of Tetramap’s CSR approach.

“I made the point that the motivation for contributing is not to be charitable (although it is conveniently tax deductible), and not to offset the carbon (though it does in a small way),” said Jon. “Instead, I emphasised that is a discipline to value the environment equally as much as we value international travel, and to demonstrate that financially dollar for dollar.”

The beauty of the idea is its simplicity.  There is no need to argue about whether the carbon offset is ‘enough’, or calculated correctly. Companies taking this approach will be donating far in excess of what they would pay in any existing offset scheme.

TetraMap has chosen to make its donations to Million Metres Streams.

“No-one is making a profit or a business out of the process,” said Jon. “it is a social enterprise benefiting everyone. Not only are trees being planted, but simultaneously the waterways are being improved, AND we are supporting volunteers (society) to protect the planet. Thanks for the inspiration!”

James Griffin, SBN network general manager said: “This is a cracking idea and I was delighted to get a call direct from the Board room informing me of its approval. We love this bold move to inspire others in the Network.”