Business South May 2021

8 | to identify where their emissions are being generated in the running of their operations through easy to use carbon calculators and personal consultation. Once this has occurred a carbon reduction plan is developed with the business, with offsetting and zero carbon certification being the final part of the process. Sean says the aim is to keep transaction costs as low as possible in order to ensure most of the money goes to the efficiencies in the client business and the restorative forest carbon projects. Ekos offers carbon certification and is one of only two companies that can do so in New Zealand. Sean says its possible to start small and work towards zero carbon or even climate Ekos Businesses crucial to reach zero carbon Sean Weaver: “Leadership doesn’t have to come from government; it can come from the private sector. BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT B usinesses have a huge part to play in New Zealand’s bid to be zero carbon, says Ekos CEO Sean Weaver. It can also save them money. “The aim is to identify financial savings that can be made while reducing carbon emis- sions. For example telecommuting via Zoom as opposed to the time and money spent driving to a face-to-face meeting. “Looking at ways the business can operate slightly differently can have a huge beneficial impact on efficiency and reduce emissions,” he says. Sean, a former Senior Lecturer in Environ- mental Science and Geography at Victoria University of Wellington and the University of the South Pacific, has a background in en- vironmental financing and indigenous forest carbon markets. He started Ekos in 2007 initially acting as a forest carbon development consultant to governments, universities and community organisations. He then began pioneering market-based models for sustainable land management in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Ekos offers businesses the opportunity T T Karen Phelps positive certification where a business is off- setting at least 120% of their measured CO2 emissions and are leaders of a regenerative economy. And businesses are increasingly getting on board, says Sean, with benefits including financial, branding, staff engagement and retention. Ekos clients include Commonsense Organics, Pic’s Peanut Butter, Les Mills Inter- national and Meridian Energy. On the supply side of the equation there are also opportunities for landowners such as farmers to utilise their less productive margin- al and erosion-prone lands in a better way and make some money off it in the process. Sean says this about helping farmers be better land managers and make a living at the same time. “Trees are planted and landowners es- sentially become farmers of carbon credits instead of farmers of beef and lamb on those marginal back paddocks.” The process takes time though: typically it takes two years from planning to planting then another year before the tree starts gen- erating carbon credits that can be sold. The rate of carbon produced then increases as the forest grows and tails off again as it ma- tures. Projects can either be Ekos generated or landowner generated. Additional benefits include helping prevent land erosion protect- ing land against the worst effects of climate change such as droughts and floods. Sean acknowledges that climate change is an immense challenge and that zero carbon is part of the equation. “There is no silver bullet but a zero carbon economy will make an enormous difference. Jacinda would like the nation to be zero car- bon by 2050 but we know it can happen much sooner than that. “Leadership doesn’t have to come from government; it can come from the private sec- tor. Together we can win the climate change challenge.” “There is no silver bullet but a zero carbon economy will make an enormous difference. Jacinda would like the nation to be zero carbon by 2050 but we know it can happen much sooner than that.” At Pic’s Peanut Butter we know that the actions of businesses are one of the biggest drivers of climate change. We may be one peanut butter company at the bottomof the planet but we are committed to doing our bit, standing by our values and sharing our journey along the way. That’s why Pic’s Peanut Butter is proud to announce it has achieved Ekos certi ied Zero Carbon and Climate Positive status. This means the overall activity of Pic’s business operations reduces carbon in the atmosphere making us leaders of a regenerative economy. We started our journey towards Zero Carbon and Climate Positive status in April 2020 when we measured our carbon footprint in partnership with local social enterprise Ekos. After measuring our impact we set reduction targets for energy, waste, water and carbon. In our irst year since measuring, we have successfully reduced water usage by 20% and waste by 15% per jar year on year. Where emission reductions can’t be decreased, we o set our carbon footprint so we have a positive impact. Our o setting goes towards the Rarakau Rainforest Conservation Project, protecting 738ha of Māori owned tall indigenous rainforest, in western Southland, Aotearoa. We identi ied our greatest area of emissions as outward freight. To address this we have started an investigation into alternative methods of transport for freight that can reduce emissions. We also encourage sta to reduce car use by securing trials and a group discount for Leading a Regenerative Economy ebikes and providing bike storage. But wewanted to push the boundaries further. We started initiatives to educate our customers on how to reuse, recycle and repurpose our packaging and avoidwaste with our product. We share returned jars with community groups for fundraising, art and preserving activity connecting Pic’s eaters with peoplewhowant jars via Neighbourly and Freecycle. We donate all not-quite-perfect product to families in need via Kiwi Kai and theOz Harvest network, as well as Predator Free and local trappers. We gave 1,550kg’s last year. At Pic’s Peanut Butter we believe that there is always room for improvement and we wanted to go further yet again. That is why in 2020 we kicked of an audit of our current suppliers to ind out what their plan is tomeasure, manage and reduce carbon emissions with a view to building good environmental outcomes into our contracts with suppliers. To encourage other businesses to become Zero Carbon and Climate Positive we have also teamed up with our local business community in Te Tauihu as part of a group started by Chia Sisters called Businesses for Climate Action. The goal is to take the lead in creating a Zero Carbon Aotearoa within a resilient sustainable economy, adaptable to both the opportunities and disruptions of climate change. We are starting with signing up 1,000 local businesses to measure and reduce their carbon emission by the end of 2021 creating a truly regenerative economy.