CRUNCHING NUMBERS AND MAKING CHANGES
Having taken the decision to become zero carbon certified, Brendan knew the data he had already been collecting about the company’s carbon footprint would not be enough.
More data, and a wider range of data, would be required.
“Our initial focus, in terms of measuring our emissions, was on the water taxi business, with fuel being the main source,” Brendan says.
“This was a straightforward exercise for us, as our fuel supplier provides on-site delivery for the water taxis, and we simply got the invoices for these deliveries, which included the delivery price, litres and fuel type.
“We use fuel cards for our company cars, so this was again a case of asking our supplier for the transactions on those cards.”
Electricity usage was also easy to determine, with their supplier able to provide bills and consumption figures for the reporting period.
But not all the data needed was quite so easy to collect.
“We initially overlooked the refrigeration data, so we needed to source the amount of gas we were using via leakage to the atmosphere,” Brendan says.
“I ended up getting on the roof to check the condensing units for the gas type we used, then it was a case of asking the refrigerant gas supplier what our top-up rate in kilograms was for the year.”
Brendan also looked at freight emissions for goods used and sold by the company’s shop, and while it only ended up being 0.5% of their total emissions, data on the weight of the goods and the distance from suppliers was required for certification.
At the same time, Brendan and his team also worked to minimise their emissions wherever possible - by investing in digital fuel gauges and high-efficiency motors for their water taxis, setting up a recycling scheme, installing LED lighting and establishing an in-house maintenance workshop.
With this data at his fingertips, Brendan started to see a change taking place, and in the 2017-18 financial year the company’s emissions dropped by 10.7%, while their business continued to grow.
Once they had all the data they needed, they sent it off to Ekos to be converted into an emissions footprint.
With this information, Alborn could see what it needed to do to offset its emissions, choosing to buy certified carbon credits from Ekos, which are sourced from the Uruwhenua native forestry project in Golden Bay.
Alborn also supports projects in the region working to improve biodiversity and the environment, including the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, and Project Janszoon.
Certification as carbon zero - which Alborn achieved in 2018 - not only made sound business sense, with consumers increasingly expecting companies to be mindful of the environment, but it also received the backing of ANZ, the company’s bank.
ANZ New Zealand’s Managing Director of Business Lorraine Mapu says businesses that show environmental foresight - like Alborn - greatly improve their long-term business prospects.
“We’re proud to have Alborn as a customer, and we see their work in achieving carbon neutrality as a green flag for a bright future,” she said.
“ANZ is increasingly looking to back businesses that are able to show this level of foresight, as the desire from consumers for sustainable options will only grow, as will the level of regulation on these issues.”