Home > News > carboNZero news > Issue 14, November 2011

carboNZnewz Issue 14, November 2011

In this issue:

Graham's column

GrahamIt has been a very busy few months for carboNZero Holdings. We have successfully become a separate legal entity and wholly owned subsidiary of Landcare Research. We have moved into a new office in Parnell, Auckland. We have also seen good uptake in participation for our CEMARS and carboNZero certification options.

Our license partner LRQA in Australia got their first client signed up for CEMARS certification. In the UK, our license partner Achilles have had some outstanding results with now 130 companies now registered on the CEMARS programme in the UK. We have also appointed Laurence Wade as our first UK Country Manager.  

We look forward to finishing what has been a busy year and are excited about what next year will bring.

Carbon tax in Australia – What does this mean for business?

The Senate voted by 74 to 72 to finally pass a controversial package of 18 new laws, which will result in a national carbon tax on Australia’s most carbon-intensive firms being introduced from next year.

The landmark legislation has been hailed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard as a major victory, after her coalition government defied intense political debate to guide the package through the upper and lower houses of parliament.

‘This comes after a quarter of a century of scientific warnings, 37 parliamentary inquiries, and years of bitter debate and division.’ she told reporters.

The bill raises the prospect of Australia providing the world's third large-scale emissions trading scheme, following the EU and New Zealand.

So what are the key features?

  • Carbon price to start on July 1, 2012, starting at A$23 a tonne rising at 2.5 per cent a year.
  • It will be replaced by an emissions trading scheme from July 1, 2015 with a price ceiling and floor to apply.
  • Price covers about 500 of the biggest polluters.
  • Agriculture is not subject to carbon price, farmers to benefit from generating abatement.
  • Transport fuel excluded, but heavy transport to start paying carbon tax in 2014.
  • Impact reduced by tax cuts and increases in allowances, payments and benefits.
  • Most trade exposed industries such as steel, aluminium, zinc, pulp and paper makers will get free permits representing 94.5 per cent of industry average carbon costs, with specific funding for certain industries, such as steel and coal.
  • A $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation will be established to invest in new technology.
  • $3.2 billion has been allocated to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
  • Most households will be compensated in the form of tax reforms and increases in allowances, payments and benefits; some households will be over-compensated.
  • Closure of 2000 megawatts of dirtiest power generators by 2020.
  • Climate Change Authority to advise on pollution caps and meeting emissions targets.

So, what does this mean for business?

For the top 500 companies facing a direct carbon liability, the impact mainly depends on whether they are trade exposed, and whether they are eligible for specific industry assistance, such as for steel, coal and food processing. Major emitters have been required to report their emissions since 2008, so they should have a good understanding of their exposure.

The accuracy of reporting becomes very important when a price is applied, or assistance provided. One would expect the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency to increase oversight of this in line with the powers already available to it under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act, such as the ability to require a business to seek an independent verification of its emissions report. Boards and executive management will also be having a closer look at their numbers.

Now that businesses have a price, they should have a reasonable idea of their exposure and will be looking at how to minimise this and/or pass on the cost. Although, there are opportunities to reduce their liability by sourcing abatement from the land sector, these credits will be in relatively short supply and the amount sourced can only represent 5% of an organisations total liability. Australia’s major organisations will now be starting to take a more active interest in international credits with their eye on 2015. Applying a price also means organisations are incentivised to invest in efficiencies and cleaner technologies.

Businesses that are not directly affected by the liability will see impacts to their bottom line through increased electricity prices. Businesses that have a good understanding of how carbon and energy flow through their organisation are the best placed to manage these impacts and secure competitive advantage.

An independently verified and certified greenhouse gas footprint should therefore be seen as an essential business tool to identify risks and opportunities. Such an assessment should include “scope 3” indirect emissions to identify where costs are likely to be passed on by the supplier actually liable for the emission. For example, domestic aviation is included in the scheme and the airlines have already indicated that the carbon price will be passed on to their customers; freight will be included from 2014. Virtually all products will see price increases as a result: businesses that know what services, products and materials in their supply chain carry high levels of embodied emissions are already at an advantage.

The Government are also giving more powers to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) with regard to passing on the carbon price to consumers. The better an organisation understands the flow of carbon through their supply chain, the better placed they will be to be in a defensible position.

Graham Carter
carboNZero Holdings


Ann's column

Ann SmithRecent technical team activity

carboNZero Holdings Limited has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Landcare Research since 1 July 2011. These have been very busy months for all our staff. The Auckland team has moved into new offices and we have implemented our own separate systems for running the business. While all this has been going on, we have had an audit from JAS-ANZ (the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand) and gained a big tick for the way we have set up the version 2.0 scheme documents and our system for certifying products to the PAS 2050 standard. PAS 2050 is the UK publicly available specification for assessing the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of goods and services (jointly referred to as “products”).

We have also been keeping up with international developments and responded to many consultations including commenting on the methodology developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) for measuring some 15 different scope 3 sources of emissions. The revised PAS 2050:2011 has been published by British Standards and two new GHG Protocol standards have been launched by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). These are:

  • Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard
  • Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard

We will be evaluating the changes to existing standards and the implications of the new standards and reporting back to you on these.

During the past three months, we have also updated the emissions factors in E-Manage with the new data sets released by the New Zealand, Australian and United Kingdom government departments responsible for managing the factors for voluntary corporate reporting.

We have been running training and updating for our authorised greenhouse gas auditors and external consultants in New Zealand and in Australia. The “authorised” auditors and “qualified” external consultants are listed on our website under About.

Our priority going forward is to continue improving our systems to make them more accessible and easier to use so that our clients can focus on what is important, reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and reaping the multiple benefits from doing that in a robust and credible way.  We believe that carbon matters and that it matters to you and your stakeholders how you deal with your carbon responsibilities.

Compliance Versus Voluntary Action

We often get asked whether companies are paying twice for carbon when they become carboNZero certified – firstly through the cost of carbon that passes into the economy from the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ-ETS) and again through the voluntary offsetting for carboNZero certification. There is a significant difference between meeting compliance obligations and taking voluntary action. The debate on this issue tends to polarise people so I’ll state the facts and let you decide for yourself.

  • The NZ-ETS has been designed to cover all greenhouse gases and all sectors.
  • The purpose of the scheme is to reduce emissions but there is no cap and therefore no reduction requirements for companies. The presumption is that companies will reduce emissions because they are being charged for their emissions.
  • Forestry has been participating since 2008 and Energy, Fishing, Industry and Liquid Fossil Fuels have been participating since 2010.
  • Synthetic Gases and Waste will participate from 2013 and Agriculture from 2015.
  • Except for Forestry, only a small number of companies participate in each sector. The majority of New Zealand companies have no regulatory obligation under the NZ-ETS. The only way that the majority of companies participate in the NZ-ETS is by paying higher energy prices, similar to a tax. This energy use has not been offset and is not carbon neutral.
  • Some companies are required to surrender New Zealand Units (NZUs) equivalent to the emissions that they are required to report e.g. Energy sector.
  • Some companies do not have to report their emissions and surrender NZUs but they receive an allocation of NZUs to compensate for the increased price of fuel due to the cost of carbon passed on by the Liquid Fossil Fuel sector e.g. Fishing sector.
  • Some companies are obliged to report their emissions and surrender NZUs but they also get an allocation of NZUs e.g. Industry sector.
  • The emissions reported are only some Scope 1 and Scope 2 sources. Each sector has its own reporting requirements and measurement methodologies under the NZ-ETS.
  • Companies required to offset their emissions, surrender 1 NZU for each 2 tonne of carbon dioxide equivalents or they may keep the NZUs and pay $12.50 per tonne of emissions that they are obligated to offset.
  • The NZUs that are surrendered are held in retirement account on the New Zealand Emissions Unit Register. NZUs are not acceptable compliance units for our international obligations. They must be converted or linked to Allocated Allowance Units (AAUs) that can be internationally traded and then surrendered to the United Nations at the end of the first Kyoto Commitment Period when New Zealand must meet its obligations based on our 1990 level of emissions. But the NZUs may also be recycled back into the New Zealand system and become future allocations to trade exposed industries or to Agriculture.

To summarise, only some sectors, only some companies, only some emissions sources are included and only some of these emissions are offset with one NZU per two tonnes of emissions and the NZUs might be cancelled sometime in the future after the end of 2012 or they might be reused. The cost of carbon is passed down the supply chain to the fuel and electricity that you purchase but the increase in cost is small compared with what would be paid if all the emissions from the fuel and electricity was offset.

So how does this compare with voluntary action?

  • The carboNZero programme has been designed to cover all greenhouse gases and all sectors.
  • The purpose of the scheme is to reduce emissions and offset all the emissions remaining after efforts to reduce.
  • Companies from all sectors have been participating in the carboNZero programme since 2006.
  • Companies aiming to be carboNZero certified must offset all remaining emissions with one verified carbon credit per one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
  • The emissions reported are all Scope 1 and Scope 2 sources and mandatory Scope 3 sources for business travel, freight, waste to landfill, water and wastewater.
  • Each sector is treated in the same way. Consistency is an important principle for certification.
  • The carbon credits must be cancelled in our account in a public registry.  This means that the carbon credits cannot be used again. A carboNZero claim cannot be made through forward purchasing carbon credits that are not yet verified or not yet cancelled. This is reinforced in the guidance provided by the Commerce Commission.

We are also asked whether we can account for the proportion of fuel and electricity that is already “offset” by the NZ-ETS when a company goes through carboNZero certification? It is possible to calculate the cost of carbon that has been added to fuel and energy; however, because we cannot be sure that there has been an offset rather than a cost added, and where there has been an offset, it has not been yet been cancelled, we are unable to demonstrate additionality and certification based on recognising that proportion of the footprint as being offset through the NZ-ETS would breach the Commerce Commission guidance with respect to carbon neutral claims. The cost of carbon that has been added to your fuel and electricity is just that, a cost or a tax.

Our recent case studies (www.carbonzero.co.nz/why/casestudies.asp) and stories from our clients indicate that most clients are making significant cost savings through the systems that they are implementing to meet the requirements of certification. And these savings are far more than the cost of certification and the cost of carbon in the economy due to the NZ-ETS. Because carboNZero clients offset all the remaining emissions after efforts to reduce, through investing in projects that are reducing emissions, these companies are reducing 100% of their footprint.

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme is very important to New Zealand as one of its tools to address the national Kyoto commitment. Equally, voluntary action taken by carboNZero certified companies is very important to their corporate social responsibility strategies. Voluntary action is not replicating what has already been done in the compliance scheme; these two actions are complementary. Although the scale and scope of the actions by individual companies is not comparable, the carboNZero certified companies have taken bottom-up complementary action to the top-down regulatory requirements. The voluntary carbon market is a valuable tool for incentivising the uptake of cleaner technologies and voluntary action makes a significant contribution to perception of New Zealand Inc to shareholders, customers and overseas markets. Companies aspire to be carboNZero certified to gain greater market access or because the company considers it the right thing to do as its challenge of addressing the impacts of climate change. Voluntary action helps the country meet its compliance obligations at a lower cost and encourages transition to a more energy efficient, lower carbon economy.

Professor Ann Smith
General Manager, Technical
carboNZero Holdings


Carbon Expo 2011

The timing was impeccable for the 2nd Annual Australian Carbon Expo which was held in Melbourne on November 7th – 9th. The event coincided with Australia finally passing landmark legislation that will result in a national carbon tax on the country’s most carbon intensive firms being introduced from next year. Prime Minister Julia Gillard addressed delegates on the final day, affirming the package as a major victory after a quarter of a century of scientific warnings, 37 parliamentary inquiries, and years of intense debate and division.

The conference comprised keynote plenary and panel sessions, and technical workshops addressing cutting-edge issues in evolving carbon markets and low carbon technologies. The expo attracted many of Australasia’s top business professionals, politicians and thought leaders.

We were proud to be a Platinum sponsor as it enabled us to achieve heightened brand exposure at this all important time. Graham Carter chaired our own panel session on “carbon footprinting – achieving credibility and leverage”. He was joined by an esteemed panel, including:

  • Andrew Walker, Executive Chair, VnC Cocktails, New Zealand
  • Dr James Galloway, Chief Executive Officer, JAS-ANZ (Joint Accreditation System – Australia and New Zealand)
  • Richard Smith, Climate Change Manager - Australasia, LRQA
  • Sheree Hardy, Principal Consultant, Sustainability & Climate Change, ERM
  • Nadya Krienke-Becker, General Manager, The Shaper Group  

The topic questioned whether organisations are committed to taking credible action and if they understand how to leverage it. The panel examined how businesses are capitalising on the opportunity carbon creates. Turning the sometimes negative debate into positive action that fosters businesses to reduce operating costs, provide assurance for stakeholders, gain a competitive edge, market exposure and demonstrate proactive environmental leadership. Action that is good for the planet and good for business ... so businesses can be confident that they will look back in 2050 and be proud of the achievements and legacy created within your organisation.

We also hosted the welcome function, where we showcased two CEMARS certified businesses – VnC Cocktails and Villa Maria wine, while networking with fellow delegates.

The event achieved carboNZero certification – to once again confirm its commitment to understanding and reducing the environmental impacts of the event. And our CEMARS certification was showcased with partner LRQA in the trade fair.

CEMARS and carboNZero certification ensure local relevance, international acceptance, and a focus on delivering tangible benefits for Australian businesses.

CarbonExpo Stand

Graham Carter explains to Prime Minister Julia Gillard why CEMARS is the GHG certification scheme best suited to Australian businesses


Sustainability = Brand management

A recent article was published in MIT Sloan Review regarding innovation and sustainability. One of the key findings from the article was that the primary driver for enhancing a company’s sustainability position is how it affects their brand.

Sustainability is the new normal. In the past projects that were better for the environment and saved money in the long term would often be dismissed because the return on investment took far too long. However, now organisations are seeing instant benefit from making credible green marketing claims. This is generating a greater willingness from organisations to get involved in sustainability initiatives and they can realise a more rapid return on investment.

Good sustainability positioning helps to further differentiate your brand and can assist you to better relate to your customers. There are plenty of examples where businesses have used their sustainability status as extra arrow in their quiver, resulting in augmented consumer loyalty. From a business to business perspective strong sustainability initiatives also help your success rates when tendering for work as more and more businesses are looking to work with likeminded organisations.

The point that this article illustrates is that we are heading towards (already in?) a world where the value of having a sustainability strategy is no longer viewed as just a cost-saving measure or even an environmental-improvement programme, but it is just viewed as managing your brand well.


7th Australia and New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference

The 7th Annual Australia and New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference was held in Wellington on August 1st and 2nd. Once again the event became carboNZero certified, and attracted many of Australasia’s top business and academic professionals. Overall, as many of the past conferences have done, speakers focused on how important it was for business to start taking action. However this year it was very encouraging to see that organisations in New Zealand and Australia are really starting to take credible action and seeing tangible business benefits.

As part of our participation in the event we judged the green exhibitor award.  After examining many respectable entries, it was Westpac Australia who came out trumps for the second year running with their outstanding entry, which included many great initiatives to reduce emissions associated with their exhibition stand. They were presented with the Green Exhibitor Award by Graham Carter and Vikki Treadwell (British High Commissioner) at the conference dinner which was held at Parliament.


CCBC Stand2

From Left: Vicki Treadwell - British High Commissioner, Emma Herd - Westpac Australia, Graham Carter - carboNZero Holdings


SMART idea

The carboNZero programme has partnered with the University of Queensland SMART (Sustainable Management Alliance in Research and Training) programme. SMART brings together leading researcher, industry, government and non-government organisations to inform and enhance research and innovative teaching in the fields of corporate social responsibility, business sustainability, carbon management, environmental policy and clean technology. SMART is building long-term partnerships within Australia and internationally. Its objectives are to identify, pioneer and develop new opportunities that are characteristic of the new low-carbon economy.

The carboNZero programme is focused on raising its profile and growing the business in Australia, this partnership will provide opportunities to demonstrate leadership and help contribute and connect with the next generation of influencers. Through SMART, the carboNZero programme intends to participate in guest lectures, member panels and networking events.




New office and offer to clients

The Auckland members of the carboNZero team now have a new home located at 21 Falcon Street. We are aiming to walk the talk with the new office. If you are in the area, we would love for you to stop by for a coffee and perhaps you could share ideas on how you think we could make our office space more sustainable.

Also, as an offer to all clients, if you have a staff member in the city of sails for the day then please consider us as your Auckland office. We have desk space ready for you, internet and great coffee next door. So just let us know if you need a place to stay and we will welcome you with open arms.

Loud NewOffice

Some of the Auckland team on loud shirt day


Energising business

Acting Minister of Energy and Resources Hekia Parata recently announced ‘Energising Business’, a $1.46 million EECA programme to help small to medium companies improve energy use and boost competitiveness. The programme offers grants of up to $30,000 (or a third of the project cost) and will help around 180 companies.

Nine service providers throughout New Zealand have been contracted to deliver ‘Energising Business’, targeting a range of company sizes and sectors.

Wellington City Council Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and the Acting Minister of Energy and Resources Hekia Parata recently launched the programme in Wellington where the Council is offering businesses an added bonus of up to $1,000 in addition to the EECA grant.

If you’re interested in taking part in ‘Energising Business’ and get funding towards making your company more energy efficient, visit the EECA website http://www.eeca.govt.nz/node/11438


Team trip

The carboNZero team recently gathered in Auckland to have two ‘team’ days. One day was focused on developing our team values and goals and the other was an action packed day full of excitement and learning.

As part of the action day we were taken on a tour of Auckland Museum, witnessing how they are managing their energy and how they are showcasing the past with an eye on the future. The team then took to the high ropes at Woodhill Forest. After quite a bit of banter from various members of the team, Ann Smith was awarded the tree climber MVP.

The team values day was also great success and really proved to demonstrate the similarities we have in our team’s beliefs. These two days have certainly helped our team gel and we look forward to continuing to working closer with each other and of course working closer with you.

team museum

The team at Auckland Museum

Calling all "carbon heroes”

The carboNZero programme offers a wonderful opportunity to bring clients together at our networking events. This is where like-minded businesses can share experiences, network and establish business relationships.

The carboNZero membership is not sector or industry specific; rather it comprises a diverse group of forward-thinking and innovative companies that demonstrate leadership by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And of course it’s not just about greenhouse gases, to achieve emissions reductions, companies are improving energy efficiency, better managing water and wastewater, reducing waste to landfill, and introducing smarter travel and freight logistics.

Any business that has proactively taken steps to join the programme is also one that will naturally care who it does business with, from both a customer and supplier perspective.

Any carboNZero certified or CEMARS certified business may offer to be a venue or beverage host and we welcome you to display company promotional material at the event.

Recently we helped host a networking event with SolarCity to celebrate their carboNZero certification. Held in the Publicis Mojo office in Auckland with Yealands Estate kindly supplying delicious wine, the night was a great success. Inspiring stories were heard from Solar City and Yealands, new connections were made and old friendships were reunited.

We are holding our next event at Lowndes Associates on 8th December, if you would like to be included on the invitation list then please email carnabya@landcareresearch.co.nz.

Certificate SolarCity

Graham Carter presents Andy Booth, CEO of SolarCity with their carboNZero certification certifcate


Taking carbon-neutrality to new lengths?

In December, Alan Carnaby from our team is together with two friends aiming to be the first in the world to longboard skateboard from Machu Picchu (Peru) to Santiago (Chile) - some 2500km.

It is a self supported trip with no support crew , i.e. they will be carrying everything with them on their skateboards. The trip has become carboNZero certified and the guys are looking to raise money for Project Litefoot, a charitable trust aiming to inspire New Zealanders to become environmental champions.

Alan says they plan to start as close as they can to Cusco (very near Machu Picchu) so there will be quite a bit of downhill to start with (Given Cusco is at an elevation of 3,400m, that is probably an understatement!). They will be sleeping in towns/villages and camping in bivvie bags along the way. To cross the inhospitable Atacama Desert, they will carry plenty of water and have mapped out the towns where they can get more ... "usually towns are within 80-100km of each other, which is what we expect to be skating each day".

They have major sponsorship and are intending to film the whole thing in the hope of making a movie that they can submit to the Banff Film Awards. You can follow their journey through their website and on Facebook

Alan says that "all and all we want to have fun and raise a bit of awareness of sustainable travel." 

In case you are wondering, Alan assures us that he really does have good travel insurance!

Banks Boys

Practising with skateboard sails coming down off the Port Hills in Christchurch. The three adventurers, Alan on far right


Congratulations to our newly certified organisations

It has been great to see a number of newly certified clients be welcomed to our ever growing certified family. To view the latest organisations to achieve certification see the links below.


New appointments

Laurence Wade, Country Manager – United Kingdom

LaurenceLaurence is based in England as Country Manager. His role is primarily focused on supporting our business partner, Achilles, in the UK to ensure that the programme is a commercial success. He is responsible for developing strategic sales channels within key target sectors, and fostering relationships with business and industry influencers.

Laurence comes with a wealth of experience from an energy and utilities background and most recently worked for the Carbon Trust in England for five years in customer facing and solution selling roles as both Key Account and Sector Manager.

Laurence has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Business and Management and a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing.

Belinda Mathers, Acting Certification Manager

BelindaBelinda is based at Lincoln and is a consulting environmental engineer for GHD Limited and currently being contracted as the Certification Manager for the programme. As the Acting Certification Manager, Belinda is responsible for witnessing audits, verifier assessments, and ensuring that the JAS-ANZ accreditation commitments are upheld throughout the verification process.

Belinda has specialist skills in GHG emissions management and a broad range of experience in environmental assessments and due diligence, developing and auditing environmental management systems, and resource efficiency. She has experience in GHG, energy and waste auditing for industry, as well as compliance auditing. Belinda is currently GHD’s international technical leader for Environmental Management Systems and Audits, with responsibility for developing and maintaining technical competency across GHD’s global operations.

Belinda has a Bachelor of Engineering in chemical and process engineering from Canterbury University and a Doctorate in chemical engineering from Monash University.

Bronwyn Jackson, Verification Manager

Bronwyn Bronwyn is responsible for the verification processes for the Programme. She has a home based office in Tauranga and works out of both the Lincoln and Auckland offices.

Bronwyn has been a quality management consultant and business advisor before joining the team. She has auditing qualifications in quality management, environmental management, health and safety and health and disability. When not at work Bronwyn plays golf and enjoys a large busy extended family.

Bronwyn has a New Zealand Certificate in Science, diplomas in microbiology and biochemistry and a MBA from Waikato University.


Sally McRae, People and Culture Manager

SallySally McRae is our People and Culture Manager. She will be the first point of contact for new staff members and also works on creating and maintaining the culture of carboNZero holdings as we grow.

Sally has worked with a diverse range of organisations including Employers Associations, Television New Zealand/Avalon TV Centre, DSIR and Work and Income. Since having children she has consulted off and on even writing a report when in labour. Both were delivered on time! She has also had a stint with South Island Prisons (not as a prisoner!) training managers putting in policies and procedures.

Sally has been very involved in her children’s education at Discovery 1 and Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti/High School, with informal role of “head of grovelling” (fundraising maestro in the past) and has two rex cats, two axolotls and a rabbit called Pumpkin. Sally has been a serial volunteer with stints with Youthline, Victims Support, Wellington Zoo. She has also loved her time as the “Speaker Manager/Mother” for the two TEDx Events held in Christchurch. The first with a sustainability theme and feel and the second with a similar feel, but was in response to the earthquakes in Christchurch.

Initial education had her leaving school at 15 having passed University Entrance and doing a NZIM Management Diploma and Certificate in Commerce Course. Since then she has completed many papers and a post grad level course and is continually looking for her next study, whether formal or informal, which supports the educational philosophy with learning being a lifelong process.


New case studies

We have recently finished three case studies on Toyota New Zealand, Interface New Zealand and J.Friend and Co (trading as NZ Artisan Honey). They are definitely worth a read and go to showcase the benefits that are received from achieving carboNZero certification. The case studies are now on the website and can be viewed by clicking the link below.

View case studies