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At The Warehouse Group’s carboNZero certification presentation (L–R): Sir Stephen Tindall (TWG founder), Dr Ann Smith (CEO, Enviro-Mark Solutions), Nick Grayston (TWG CEO), David Benattar (TWG chief sustainability officer) and Climate Change Minister James Shaw

The Warehouse achieves carbon neutral certification

The Warehouse Group (TWG) is officially carbon neutral through certification, which came into effect on 15 February.

Group chief executive Nick Grayston says TWG is fully committed to carbon neutrality. “We can no longer ignore the urgent global challenge that is climate change, and we are ready to play our part for the ongoing health of our people, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the planet.

“Our company has always supported New Zealanders and our community, and being carbon neutral is part of that. We believe that good businesses need good societies and environments to function successfully; that’s why we are taking responsibility for our impact on the environment and helping New Zealand address climate change.”

The group’s carbon neutrality status has been achieved through the independent carboNZero certification provided by Enviro-Mark Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, and is based on ISO standards. The certification includes all domestic business operations and transportation of own-brand label products from global manufacturing centres to New Zealand.

An employer of over 12,000 staff, the iconic Kiwi brand consists of 258 stores under The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo 7 brands, plus a support office and distribution and fulfilment centres across the country. TWG has managed and reported its emissions through CEMARS (Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme) since 2013, with emissions currently audited at around 40,000 tonnes per year, most of which come from shipping freight and electricity.

The road to carbon neutrality

To achieve carboNZero certification, TWG measured its emissions to international standards, has plans and initiatives to reduce these emissions, and has taken the major step to offset its carbon footprint through high-quality carbon credits. The carbon credits were supplied by Climate Care, from environmental, social and community projects located in China, India and Bangladesh – countries where TWG operates. 

Longer term, this will be supported by native forest regeneration of around 2.7 million trees in partnership with Kiwi landowners and charity partner Project Crimson through its ‘Trees That Count’ programme, and a focused emissions reduction programme.

“While the initial offsetting of our emissions is through investment in gold standard international credits, our main focus is reducing emissions in our operations and native forest regeneration, which will ensure future carbon credits as trees mature, and encourage New Zealand’s native biodiversity to flourish,” says Mr Grayston. 

Initiatives underway to reduce carbon emissions include introducing LED lighting in stores, as well as designing for natural light and using more electric vehicles in TWG’s fleet. “Our target is to reduce emissions from the 2015 baseline by 32% by 2030 – this is in keeping within the 2 degrees C of global warming based on pre-industrial times and is part of our commitment to the Climate Leaders Coalition,” Mr Grayston adds.

Good business sense

Minister for Climate Change James Shaw has welcomed the group’s announcement. “I thank TWG for its commitment to New Zealand’s goal of becoming net carbon neutral and its involvement in the Climate Leaders Coalition. More and more businesses are realising that reducing their global warming emissions, and dealing with suppliers who do the same, doesn’t just make good climate change sense, it makes good business sense too,” he says.

Dr Ann Smith, chief executive of Enviro-Mark Solutions, has also commended the organisation. “Not only has TWG measured and verified its operational carbon footprint to rigorous international standards and strengthened its emission reduction commitments, it has also invested in offsets created from clean technology projects in the countries where it manufactures its products,” she says.

David Benattar, TWG’s chief sustainability officer, says that as one of the country’s largest companies with a broad network across New Zealand and millions of customers every week, the group is in a unique position to encourage positive change.

“Carbon emissions are just one of the things we are looking at as part of our efforts to propel change around how we think about the environment as a business. We are looking forward to sharing our progress with New Zealand,” he says.

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