The Future is Low-Emission Businesses

At Thankyou Payroll we believe in a sustainable future. We take action – every day – to work towards this. You can too.

Environmental responsibility has been a core value for Thankyou Payroll since the beginning. But this isn’t to say that we’ve always been a carbon neutral business – in fact, it took us seven years to get there. The road to sustainability is an incremental, yet essential journey.

Hands typing on a keyboard

Photo by Tobias Keller on Unsplash

Climate change: a real-time emergency

The climate has always changed, alternating between ice ages and greenhouse periods, but the alarming rate of recent change, and correlated to human activity, is what’s concerning.

We can all acknowledge that extreme weather events are causing devastation on multiple levels:

  • Unpredictable patterns cause major issues for farming. We’ve built our practices for food security around knowing the weather, and this disrupts our crop growth, harvesting, distribution, and the economy.
  • Erratic weather issues displace people. Temporary housing or shelter is erected, and in some places can become long-term.  This can quickly lead to overcrowding, bringing sanitation issues, and widespread disease.
  • The threat of sea level rise will significantly affect many New Zealand’s communities as we live alongside the ocean. Our Pacific Island neighbours are already seeing their countries slowly disappear – and NZ will be their refuge.

The road to zero emissions

In the last couple of years we’ve seen the NZ government propose, and adopt the Zero Carbon Amendment Act, which has a bold target of net zero emissions by 2050 (with an exception for biogenic methane set at a reduction between 24-47% of 2017 levels by 2050). The government will establish emission budgets in the next few years, and implement an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) by 2025 for businesses, meaning we will pay for the emissions we use. This provides an incentive towards reduction goals. 

But we don’t become carbon neutral overnight – it’s a hill to climb to get there. Waiting for the Govt to get its ducks in a row and figure out its framework for monitoring and managing the ETS and the Zero Carbon act is wasting precious time. We’re all going to need to make changes, or we’ll be adding additional lines to our budget to pay for our emissions.        

The first step is agreeing to start doing something.

The second step is to start measuring the carbon emissions your business uses to understand it better.  We can’t make informed decisions that make economical sense without first understanding the landscape.

Playing our part

At Thankyou Payroll we first started calculating our emission in 2016-2017. We did this ourselves, working through complex calculations and hoping we were doing it properly. Now, we record all of our emissions in a spreadsheet, and use our partner EKOS; experts in carbon calculating and offsetting, to run the numbers for us.

In a nutshell, you have Scope 1, 2, & 3 emissions;

  • Scope 1: Direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the organisation (ie, within the organisational boundary). For example, emissions from vehicles owned or controlled by the business, onsite landfills, wastewater treatment, agriculture, and fuel combustion from factories.
  • Scope 2: Indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy (in the form of electricity, heat or steam) that the organisation uses.
  • Scope 3: Other indirect emissions occurring because of the activities of the organisation but generated from sources it does not own or control (eg, air travel, non-company vehicles, waste, freight, etc).

Visit our Goals & Actions page to see what our current footprint looks like and what we’re doing to reduce it.

The most important thing to remember with any sustainable initiative your business undertakes is to engage your team. This helps employees understand the values the organisation upholds. It also offers them opportunities to share their knowledge and be part of solutions, and helps educate and mentor others on why this is important beyond just our own businesses.

Over the years, we have had changeovers in staff, but many have claimed that they learned a lot about environmental responsibility from working with Thankyou Payroll, and that it also helped them change behaviours at home.

This makes us smile, and we know we’re winning because we’re actively part of the solution, helping to change behaviour towards a better future.