Consultancy firm opts for sustainable offices

By Wright Communications

Sustainability is a growing focus for businesses and the Environmental Choice green and black globe and tick symbol is a sought-after label. As customer requirements change and responsible approaches begin to make good business sense, businesses are working to reduce the environmental impacts of their products, services and their workplace. They are seeking solutions from ways to decrease power consumption to methods to manage waste.

Tonkin & Taylor's Hamilton Environmental Champion, Joanne Ferry says the office had already incorporated sustainability principles into their projects and office activities and working towards the Environmental Choice licence had full support of the company's leadership.

"We were already engaging in sustainable practices but wanted to take the next step of formalising our activities and seeking external validation that we were doing the best we can for the environment. The Board of Tonkin & Taylor and our local management team gave us their full support."

They believe that Environmental Choice New Zealand sets high standards for environmentally preferable products and services. "We wanted a rigorous process that would give us the reassurance and confidence that we had taken all the possible steps to meet the highest environmental standard," she says.

"We looked at areas such as our energy consumption, waste generated, company vehicle policies and staff commuting behaviours. We also changed our procurement policies for purchasing products, including cleaning products, and now have a formal process in place of collecting data to better understand our environmental impact."

The 380 square metre building located in Hamilton's CBD houses 18 staff. Mrs Ferry says the staff response was great and one surprising outcome was the boost in team morale.

"We were able to involve staff in the preparation of the application which resulted in staff sharing innovative ideas. They began to consider their choices at home, their purchasing choices and whether their daily commute impacted the environment. The process was equally about self-awareness as well as informed decision-making."

Casey Giberson, Tonkin & Taylor's Hamilton Operations Manager says: "I am excited by the enthusiasm that the Hamilton Team has shown towards gaining the ECNZ licence. I am confident that this achievement and our ongoing commitment to being a sustainable business will set us apart in the market place."

Robin Taylor, Environmental Choice New Zealand (ECNZ) General Manager, says consumers and staff are making the connection between their purchasing decisions and how that product or service impacts the environment.

"New Zealand consumers want to purchase products and services that are better for the environment and they want to know their employers have the same values. The Environmental Choice label enables businesses to reduce the environmental impacts of their products and to provide that better work environment.

"We find that many New Zealand businesses already have some practices in place but the Environmental Choice label provides that strong proof and validates the work that they are already doing."


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