Leading the Change

Last week in Auckland, we celebrated the first year anniversary of the Climate Leaders Coalition, an alliance of business promoting leadership and collective action on the climate crisis. Thankyou Payroll was the 73rd signatory to join this community, publicly committing to working towards a low emission economy. There are now 110 diverse businesses who have committed to changing to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, matching the latest science.

110 businesses might not sound like a lot, however the combined products and services of those 100 businesses represent 60% of New Zealand’s total climate emissions, ⅓ of the private sector GDP, and employ over 170,000 people. I was proud to be in that room. What other country can boast a business driven leadership to transition to zero-carbon that represents 60% of its emissions?

An excellent panel of business and government leaders kicked us off which included Jolie Hodson of Spark, Graeme Stephens from SkyCity, Abbie Reynolds from the Sustainable Business Council, Patrick Crewdon of Stuff, and the Honourable Minister for Climate Change James Shaw. It’s inspiring to hear business leaders talking about ways that they are helping educate and infiltrate with climate positive action.

For example, Stuff now has a policy that they won’t publish anti-climate change articles, and limit comments from climate change deniers, because they believe it’s unethical. Spark leads hack-a-thon events, and spoke vigorously about ClimateX, encouraging us all to take part in the movement. SkyCity is talking about putting great picture books about climate action in each of their hotel rooms for guests to peruse and get inspired by. The realities of the climate crisis are tangible and real, and these businesses are committed to raising the profile of how it affects us here in New Zealand — and what we can do about it.

This annual event was to bring all signatories and partners together to further concrete our commitment, and the collaboration. As businesses, we have supply chains, make decisions, and are in a position to help encourage and influence change.

At Thankyou Payroll, we’ve been measuring our emissions for years and we continually look for ways to improve by mitigating emissions, adopting new practices and procurement policies, and sourcing products and services we need from those who share our environmental values. Our biggest emission generators are power and aviation travel. Last year we mitigated some travel, and reduced our emissions by 1 tCO2.

*Radiative Forcing are additional impacts of aviation emissions, which include water vapour, NOx, and contrails

After the panel session there was time for some great networking, where I honed in on Thinkstep to pick their brains about lifecycle emissions associated with hardware, and who gave me great advice to circumvent the difficulty we’ve been having in accurately measuring our 3rd party server. It was good to see Ekos there, and even the team from Again Again — a fast growing business providing solutions to our single-use-cup coffee addiction.

Chief Executives then got down to business at a working dinner (with a low carbon menu) where we dove deeper into discussions about specific barriers, blocks or challenges we’re facing in our individual sectors and businesses, and what might be needed to overcome them.

This week, representatives of the Coalition presented to the Select Committee at Parliament in support of our collective submission on the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill. It takes all of us to turn the tide, and the best thing the Coalition has is commitment, collaboration, and a willingness to work together and help everyone to reach the goal of a zero carbon economy.

Neal Barclay, Meridian Energy, Malcolm Johns, Christchurch Int’l Airport, Christina Bellis, Thankyou Payroll

It feels like New Zealand is really moving in the right direction, and that rekindles a faith in me. There’s power in numbers to effect change, and to make the future a thriving place for us all.

Together we provide hope, solutions and accountability.

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