With estimates showing approximately 40% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are directly and indirectly caused by buildings, we believe that the building industry needs to take responsibility for the impact of the built environment on the climate. Over the course of our sustainability journey we have developed a strategy that sets the direction for our goals and initiatives. We have aligned these with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, identifying six of which that connect specifically to our strategy. The first of these goals is climate action.
To take action on our commitment to fighting climate change, we actively monitor our carbon emissions and have committed to being a net-zero carbon organisation. In 2017 we began carbon accounting for our core manufacturing facility in New Zealand, however, as our operational footprint is global, we decided to extend the scope of our carbon accounting efforts to all global operations in 2019. Our current GHG emission profile is 8,955 tCO2e—the equivalent annual emissions of 1,767 passenger vehicles (source: EPA GHG Calculator). Now that we have baseline data of our global carbon footprint, we are working across the business to establish carbon reduction plans to help further reduce our carbon emissions in the future.
Alongside monitoring our emissions, our Carbon Neutral Product Initiative assesses the carbon emissions generated by the supply, manufacture and delivery of our products, and offsets them through the purchase of certified carbon credits. We consider this an investment in present and future generations, and simply a cost of doing business. It also encourages best practice and sets the bar high as a product supplier in the building industry. Using carbon data calculated by independent experts, we invest in third-party certified carbon credits generated by the Clean Development Mechanism. This enables us to financially support a variety of climate change projects and contribute to the reduction and removal of emissions now, while continuing to develop sustainable business practices that will reduce our carbon emissions in the future.
The initiative also gives us the opportunity to work directly with customers to lower the environmental impact of their projects. Working on a project-by-project basis, our team identifies the carbon footprint and neutralises the impact through the acquisition of credits. To give our customers assurance that the calculations and carbon credit process of carbon neutral claims are honest and accurate, our calculator is audited and verified by independent experts. This verification is conducted by EKOS Kamahi Ltd who ensure the quality and accuracy of the calculation, including the offsetting and retiring of carbon credits on the appropriate registry. On completion, a certificate of carbon neutrality is generated to verify the project’s green credentials.
We are the first business in our industry to include the cost of carbon in our products, which gives us the unique opportunity to educate and lead a transition to a lower carbon building industry. We believe that the global building industry can no longer afford to ignore the impact it has on the environment, so we hope that our actions, and those of other leaders in the architecture and design community, inspire our peers to take similar steps towards reducing their carbon emissions.