INDEPENDENT NEWS

Enviro-Mark hits the mark with first certificate

Published: Fri 16 Nov 2001 01:40 PM
Media Release - 15 November, 2001
Enviro-Mark hits the mark with first certificate
A programme that helps businesses meet environmental standards and save money in the process has reached a milestone today, with a Wellington local authority becoming the first organisation in this country to achieve certification through the scheme.
Enviro-Mark NZTM was developed in England and now operates in several countries. It was adapted for New Zealand use by Landcare Research. Enviro-Mark is an Internet-based tool to help businesses put in-house procedures in place, to meet health, safety and environmental standards.
Enviro-Mark has five levels of certification, so businesses can work through successive levels at their own pace, and stop at whichever is most appropriate for their needs. Each level asks businesses to take specific actions, based on the business's size, activities, and any potential adverse impacts on the environment by either the business itself or its suppliers. The process and the results are externally audited.
The Wellington Regional Council's Parks and Forests Group was one of the first New Zealand organisations to adopt Enviro-Mark, and has today been awarded Bronze and Silver certificates.
WRC Landcare Advisor, Philippa Crisp, says she found Enviro-Mark to be a straightforward, step-by-step system.
"The various levels - Bronze, Silver, Gold etc - made sense in terms of process. A consultant helped Parks and Forests with the project, and we achieved Silver in a reasonably short time frame. We are now going for Gold".
Enviro-Mark's project manager, Jim Watt, says Enviro-Mark is useful for any business wanting to show achievement in environmental management. "Gaining the international environmental standard ISO 14001 requires a major commitment of time and resources, and only about 60 New Zealand companies have been accredited so far.
"Enviro-Mark can stand alone as a certification scheme, or it can be used as a tool for getting to ISO14001. Because Enviro-Mark breaks the process into steps and provides on-line guidance and support, it is relatively simple and easy for businesses to manage themselves.
"All Enviro-Mark certifications require an independent auditor to have checked the business's progress towards meeting the standards. We have had positive comments from auditors about how useful and straightforward they find Enviro-Mark to be" Mr Watt says.
Financial benefits Mr Watt says as well as helping organisations meet increasing consumer and policy-maker expectations of responsible social and environmental performance, Enviro-Mark can help save money on the practical day-to-day running of many businesses.
"About 60,000 New Zealand companies have a turnover high enough for Enviro-Mark to be able to save them money. This applies to any company in the manufacturing sector with a turnover greater than $200,000, and for other companies, turnover greater than a million dollars," Mr Watt says.
"We should be able to save them 0.5% of turnover in manufacturing industries, and 0.1% in service industries, simply by getting them to take a critical look at their use of electricity, raw materials, packaging, vehicle fuel, and transport".
ENDS
For more information, contact: Jim Watt Enviro-Mark Project Manager Landcare Research mobile: 025 992 937 wk: 03 325 6700 wattj@landcare.cri.nz

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