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Understanding the Issues

and Business Case for the


Transformation of your Office

Published by

The Green Office Guide proudly supported by


This guide is produced by the
Auckland Environmental Business Network Inc.
PO Box 147 263 1A Scotland Street
Ponsonby Freemans Bay
Auckland Auckland
New Zealand New Zealand
09 817 2622 www.aebn.pl.net

This guide is also available on-line at www.greenoffice.org.nz, along with a


directory of suppliers of eco-products and services.

The AEBN’s team, Rachel Brown, Caroline Peacock produced the information
contained in the guide with editing support from:
 Andrew Reeve – Sinclair Knight Merz
 Lisa Martin – URS
 Wendy Levi – Meritec
 Simon Stockdale – Sustainability 21

The AEBN wishes to thank the following sponsoring organisations for their
support in producing this guide:
 Auckland City Council
 Auckland Regional Council
 BRANZ
 EECA
 Fuji Xerox
 Interface Agencies
 Ministry for the Environment

We also wish to thank the great number of organisations and individuals, too
numerous to mention, for their contribution to the guide.

Important Note:
While the AEBN has made reasonable endeavours to ensure the accuracy of
the information in the Green Office Guide, it cannot be held responsible for
any errors and omissions and under no circumstances shall be held liable for
any injury, damage, costs or financial loss resulting from the use of this
information.

Version 1.01– 21 May 2002


© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002
Contents

GETTING STARTED.....................................................................................................1

UNDERSTANDING THE ISSUES.................................................................................2


Why is Sustainability so Important?.....................................................2
Global Warming........................................................ ..........................3
Ozone Layer Depletion........................................... .............................3
Deforestation................................................... ..................................3
Increasing Pressure from Ethical Consumers........................................3
Population Growth & Resource Limits..................................................4
Threats to New Zealand’s Uniqueness.......................................... ........4
Land Use.............................................................................................. ...........................4
Biodiversity......................................................................................... ............................4
Air Pollution................................................................................................. ....................4
Greenhouse Gas Emissions............................................................... ..............................5
Water Pollution........................................................................................... .....................5
Solid Waste................................................................................................................... ...5
Hazardous Waste........................................................................................................ .....5
Energy Use..................................................................................................... .................6

THE BUSINESS CASE.................................................................................................7


Adding to the Bottom-line through Resource Efficiency.........................7
Being a Responsible Employer and Member of the Community .............7
Raising Competitiveness Through Innovation.......................................8
Gaining Market Share........................................................................ ..8
Helping to Develop Positive Solutions..................................................8
Environmental Management Systems....................................................... ......................8
Non-accredited Systems ........................................................................................... ......8
Environmental Labels...................................................................................... ................9
NZ Sustainability Related Organisations................................................................... .......9
Staying Ahead OF Legislation & Adding Value to National & Local Policy
.......................................................................................... ..............10
Legislation Protecting the Environment and Health and Safety of People......................10
Health & Safety Legislation.................................................................. .........................10
Hazardous Substances Legislation.................................................. ..............................10
Environmental Legislation ..................................................................... .......................10

GET MANAGEMENT SUPPORT...............................................................................12

GET STAFF SUPPORT..............................................................................................14

CONDUCT AN ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW.............................................................15

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page i


DEVELOP A POLICY FRAMEWORK........................................................................16
Where to Start................................................................. .................16

DEVELOP AND LAUNCH THE PLAN.......................................................................18

REVIEW PROGRESS.................................................................................................19

ANALYSE AND REPORT FINDINGS.........................................................................20

GREEN OFFICE SCORECARD.................................................................................21


Example Sustainability Policy............................................................24
Example Supplier Questionnaire........................................................25
Supplier Policy ............................................................................................... ...............25
Sourcing Materials or Products................................................................. .....................25
About the Product........................................................................................................ ..25
Production Process.............................................................................. ..........................25
Example Green Office Plan................................................................ .27
Example Green Office Survey................................................... ..........28

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page ii


Getting Started
A step-by-step approach is the easiest way to progress any green office
programme. You can start by gaining an understanding of the issues and
developing 'the business case' for greening your office. With this information in
mind we recommend you follow a systematic approach, using these steps:
1. Get Management Support
2. Get Staff Support
3. Conduct an Environmental Review
4. Develop a Policy Framework
5. Develop and Launch the Plan
6. Review Progress
7. Analyse and Report Findings

The final step is to assess your office using the green office ‘scorecard’.
If you have already taken some of these steps, then check out the Green Office
Guide for tips, examples and contacts.

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 1


Understanding the Issues
Why is Sustainability so Important?
As New Zealanders we pride ourselves on our natural environment and our
underlying belief in equality and fairness. For most of us our country provides a
good standard of living, potential prosperity and a sense of identity. Our key
industries, e.g. agriculture, fisheries, forestry and tourism, rely on our natural
environment to meet the world market demands for healthy, sustainably derived
products and services.
On a global level we extract resources, manufacture products and deliver
services in a way that is threatening our unique environment and our personal
health. Responsible businesses have taken on these challenges and have
discovered “the business case” for responding positively to these issues.
The key challenges facing us include:

GETTING STARTED

UNDERSTANDING THE ISSUES


Why is Sustainability so Important?
Global Warming
Ozone Layer Depletion
Deforestation
Increasing Pressure from Ethical Consumers
Population Growth & Resource Limits
Threats to New Zealand’s Uniqueness

THE BUSINESS CASE


Adding to the Bottom-line through Resource Efficiency
Being a Responsible Employer and Member of the Community
Raising Competitiveness Through Innovation
Gaining Market Share
Helping to Develop Positive Solutions
Staying Ahead OF Legislation & Adding Value to National & Local Policy

GET MANAGEMENT SUPPORT

GET STAFF SUPPORT

CONDUCT AN ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 2


DEVELOP A POLICY FRAMEWORK
Where to Start

DEVELOP AND LAUNCH THE PLAN

REVIEW PROGRESS

ANALYSE AND REPORT FINDINGS

GREEN OFFICE SCORECARD


Example Sustainability Policy
Example Supplier Questionnaire
Example Green Office Plan
Example Green Office Survey

Visit the Ministry for the Environment site at www.mfe.govt.nz for more
information on the state of New Zealand’s environment.

Global Warming
The impact of burning fossil fuels (e.g. coal, oil, petrol, gas), intensive agricultural
practices, designing products and services poorly, creating waste or using energy
inefficiently is influencing our global climate. The finer points are still being
debated, however it is clear that our actions are altering the world climate.
Governments around the world are now looking at how to remedy this and to
commit to reductions of greenhouse gases (e.g. CO2 and commitments to energy
efficiency and renewable energies). Even so, it is expected to take around 50
years for the ozone layer to recover to its natural state before CFCs were used.

Ozone Layer Depletion


The use of CFC’s in fridges, cooling systems, aerosols, etc has damaged the
ozone layer, a protective thin screen of ozone gas about 25 kilometres above the
earth. This has meant more of the suns harmful ultra violet rays are causing
increased cancers, cataracts and restricting plant growth. Governments around
the globe have banned, to varying degrees, the use of CFCs and other ozone
depleting chemicals.

Deforestation
The purchase of wood, or wood products, derived from unmanaged tropical forest
(e.g. kwila, mahogany or teak) and temperate forests in countries such as
Canada, Russia and Poland, is helping destroy the world’s forests. Forests are
essential for a healthy planet in regulating the climate, preventing soil erosion,
flooding and maintaining biodiversity.

Increasing Pressure from Ethical Consumers


A growing number of corporates (e.g. Mobil, Gap, Nike…) have, and are
experiencing pressure from consumer activist groups demanding better

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 3


environmental and social performance. Increasingly these issues are becoming
mainstream and the public are asking questions about the overall social, ethical
and environmental performance of the products and services they purchase. This
is prompting change amongst the more enlightened businesses that see
opportunities in integrating social and environmental concerns throughout their
business operations.
Each year we create more wastes, pollute our air, streams and beaches and use
more non-renewable resources. The cost associated with treating wastes or
pollution is growing and we are threatening our health and that of our economy.
As consumers we have a huge influence over our environment through our role
as purchasers.

Population Growth & Resource Limits


Every year resources are used inefficiently creating vast quantities of waste and
wasting precious resources. At the same time almost 90 million people are being
added to the planet every year to compete for these resources. Two thirds of
these people will be living in cities creating more demand on urban services.
Additionally the planet’s capacity to absorb waste or pollutants and to provide
some critical resources (e.g. food, fuel, water etc) is limited.

Threats to New Zealand’s Uniqueness


In 1997 the Ministry for the Environment released a State of the Environment
Report. For many this was a shocking report, which clearly spread mud on our
clean green image.

Land Use
Nearly two thirds of New Zealand’s land is used for farming and forestry or for our
towns, cities and roads. Poor land use, soil erosion, unwanted plants and animals
are negatively impacting on the health of our land.
There is a growing awareness in New Zealand of the problems that can occur
when land is contaminated with hazardous substances from the manufacture,
use, or storage of chemicals, industrial residues or waste products. This poses an
immediate and, or long-term risk to human health and the environment.

Biodiversity
Once New Zealand was covered mainly in forest. Approximately 73% of New
Zealand’s native land cover has been completely changed. Native forest and
wetlands gave way to pasture for farming and forestry. Dams, drains and
irrigation systems have altered lakes, and urban areas continue to expand.
Maintaining biodiversity is critical for our survival as well as the survival of
animals and plants.

Air Pollution
Generally New Zealand’s air is safe and clean, but in major cities, like Auckland,
air pollution breaches World Health Organisation guidelines. Motor vehicles are
the largest single source of air pollution in the Auckland region especially older or
poorly maintained cars in areas with heavy congestion.
The transport system has a significant impact upon the environment. . In addition
to vehicle emissions, road-related deposits are washed into streams and

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 4


harbours, which causes water quality degradation. In some areas, the transport
network is associated with severe noise pollution and community dislocation.
The air quality in some inner-city Auckland streets regularly exceeds World Health
Organisation standards. With nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution levels in Auckland
comparable with London, and carbon monoxide (CO) levels higher than in
London. Additionally the amount of fine particulate pollution above Auckland
amounts to the equivalent of 500 bags of cement being shaken out in the air
every day

Greenhouse Gas Emissions


Our increasing use of coal, oil and natural gas from heating, energy and
transportation has caused a large increase in greenhouse gas emissions. These
greenhouse gases are resulting in a global warming.

Water Pollution
Pollutants such as rubbish, heavy metals, pesticides and fertilisers are carried off
roads and other hard surfaces into streams and harbours. These pollutants are
affecting fish, shellfish, plants and human health.

Solid Waste
New Zealanders are producing more solid waste than ever. In the Auckland
Region the amount of solid waste has almost doubled in the last 15 years. In the
2000/2001 year 969,000 tonnes were disposed of at landfills in the region.
Approximately 3.2 million tonnes of waste is disposed of in NZ’s landfills annually,
which means we are running out of landfills and the associated costs disposal are
increasing.

Composition of New Zealand's


landfill waste

organic matter
paper
construction & demolition
potentially hazardous
plastic
metal
glass
other

Hazardous Waste
The scale of hazardous waste generation in New Zealand is only now beginning
to be understood. The past disposal and careless handling of hazardous waste
has left a residual problem of potentially contaminated sites in many parts of the
country. The sites are now being investigated and, where necessary. The
Resource Management Act 1991 and the Hazardous Substances and New

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 5


Organisms Act 1996 were developed to help prevent future problems of this
nature.

Energy Use
A recent study found that New Zealand is the seventh worst of 23 International
Energy Agency countries (mostly OECD countries) for energy use per dollar of
GDP (IEA Energy Economist Lee Schipper, June 2000).
Two thirds of New Zealand’s energy comes from fossil fuels, the remaining one
third comes from hydropower and geothermal power, with a little from wind.
Clean, safe water is vital for human survival yet each day we are polluting our
waters through poor farming and agricultural practices, the introduction of
waterborne diseases, and from road runoff.

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 6


The Business Case
By adopting a Green Office programme and by providing environmentally or
socially responsible products or services businesses can benefit in the following
ways:
Adding to the bottom-line through resource efficiency
Being a responsible employer and member of the community
Raising competitiveness through innovation
Gaining market share
Helping to develop positive solutions
Staying ahead of legislation and adding value to national and local policy
Reducing risks of compliance with environmental and Health &Safety legislation,
and protection of brand (from bad publicity)

Adding to the Bottom-line through Resource Efficiency


By conserving resources in the following ways you reduce costs.
 Reducing energy use – improvements in energy and manufacturing efficiency
go straight to the bottom-line because there are no direct cost factors
 Reducing emissions, discharges and wastes – many manufacturing companies
benefit through return on assets, sales and equity through reducing
emissions.
 Recycling or reusing waste – ‘closing the loop’ in terms of resource use (e.g.
transforming waste into raw materials) saves waste bills as well as the
purchase of new raw materials.

Being a Responsible Employer and Member of the Community


By adopting socially responsible practices business is able to provide a much
more positive role in society by:
 Offering products or services with integrity,
 Avoiding waste and pollution,
 Supporting local businesses that are ‘doing the right thing’ (e.g. operating
their own environmental or social programmes)
 Offering your staff a better work environment
 Developing respectful and supportive relationships with suppliers
 Avoid supporting socially unacceptable activities (e.g. child labour,
exploitation of resources and cultures, cruelty to animals, promotion of
alcohol, gambling, pornography or cigarettes etc)

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 7


Raising Competitiveness Through Innovation
With globalisation NZ business is having to compete with low cost inputs made
from many parts of the world. Innovative design and technology are critical to
avoid the competition with low labour costs or mass production around the world.
NZ companies need to innovate rapidly and regularly. The terms used here are:
 Eco Efficiency
 Eco Design
 Design for Environment or Sustainability

Gaining Market Share


By maximising the environmental attributes of products (e.g. energy efficient,
fuel efficient, organically produced etc) companies can benefit from increased
sales in a market that is looking for additional benefits from their purchases.

Helping to Develop Positive Solutions


There are a number of organisations and programmes running in New Zealand to
address the issues associated with the design, manufacture and disposal of
products. These can be useful when implementing your green office programme.
There are many different sustainability programmes and certification/labelling
systems. Some of the key ones are described below.

Environmental Management Systems


EMS’s are a set of procedures implemented by businesses or agencies to reduce
environmental risk. In April 2001 there were 65 NZ companies ISO 14000
accredited. A number of Environmental Management Systems have been
developed by agencies around the world. These include:
 ISO Environmental Management series
 Global Reporting Initiative – (GRI) was established in late 1997 with the
mission of developing globally applicable guidelines for reporting on the
economic, environmental, and social performance, initially for corporations
and eventually for any business, governmental, or non-governmental
organisation (NGO).
 EMAS (Environmental Management & Auditing System)
 Green Globe 21 – a standard for sustainable travel and tourism operations,
endorsed and managed in New Zealand by the Tourism Industry Association of
NZ.
 Enviromark
 Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) - The Forest Stewardship Council is
introducing an international labelling scheme for forest products, which
provides a credible guarantee that the product comes from a well-managed
forest.

Non-accredited Systems
Initiatives, programmes or systems that are self-assessed and may be
implemented with support from government staff or trained consultants.

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 8


 GreenFleet - is a simple, sustainable 3-step programme run by the AEBN to
help
businesses and individuals to reduce vehicle pollution.
 Cleaner Production – Business Care’s, aim is to work with, support, assist and
encourage local businesses around New Zealand to use more sustainable
practices and minimise their waste.
 The Natural Step - TNS offers a planning framework that is grounded in
rigorous scientific principles and serves as a compass for businesses,
communities, government organisations and individuals undertaking the path
of sustainable development.

Environmental Labels
Environmental product labelling scheme provide businesses with standards to
achieve in order to provide consumers with clear guidance about the
environmental effects of products they purchase
 Environmental Choice product label is a NZ eco-labelling standard endorsed
by the Minister for the Environment.
 The NZ Energy Rating Label for appliances has recently been implemented
and is managed by EECA
 BIO-GRO, Demeter, AgriQuality and Ifoam are organic product labelling
accreditation agencies.
 Energy Star rating is an energy efficiency programme for office equipment
developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency and promoted in NZ by
EECA.
 The AAA Rating Scheme identifies the water efficiency of appliances, and is
managed by the Water Services Association of Australia.

NZ Sustainability Related Organisations


There are a growing number of organisations in New Zealand whose role is to
support and encourage businesses to adopt better environmental or social
practices. The following is a short and by no mean complete list of these
Auckland Environmental Business Network
Businesses for Social Responsibility
Business for Better Bays
Waikato Environmental Business Network
Business Council for Sustainable Development
Zero Waste NZ Trust
Target Zero
The Natural Step Foundation
BusinessCare

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 9


Staying Ahead OF Legislation & Adding Value to National & Local
Policy
With government committing to Sustainable Development more legislation is
around the corner. The latest policy developments in this area include:
 National Sustainable Development Strategy
 Waste Minimisation Strategy
 National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy
 Local Government Amendment Act no. 4.

Legislation Protecting the Environment and Health and Safety of People


There are a number of Acts in place in New Zealand, which aim to protect the
health & safety of people as well as that of the environment. The good news is
that most of the legislation is inter-related.
The main pieces of legislation to be aware of are:

Health & Safety Legislation


Health & Safety in Employment (HSE) Act is administered by the Department of
Labour (see www.osh.govt.nz for more information on the HSE Act)
The Health & Safety in Employment Act places a general responsibility on
employers to provide a safe working environment for employees (and other
people in the work environment such as visitors and contractors) including the
development of procedures for dealing with emergencies.

Hazardous Substances Legislation


The Dangerous Goods & Toxic Substances Act
The Dangerous Goods Act classifies substances according to their physical
properties, such as their flash point (flammability) and vapour pressure
(volatility).
The Toxic Substances legislation classifies substances according to their toxic
properties that is, generally according to their effects on human health.
Visit www.hsno.govt.nz for more information.

The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act


HSNO is the major legislation controlling the import, manufacture, use, handling
and storage of hazardous substances in New Zealand. This Act effectively
replaces the Dangerous Good and Toxic Substances Regulations remain in force.
Visit www.ermanz.govt.nz for more information.

Environmental Legislation
The Resource Management Act (RMA)
The RMA is the main piece of legislation addressing the environment in New
Zealand. The key purpose of the Act is to promote sustainable management of
natural and physical resources, and it does so by controlling the effects of
activities rather than the activities themselves. (see www.mfe.govt.nz for more
information)

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 10


The RMA is implemented by Regional and District Plans. These contain local
policies and rules that affect your business.
Trade waste may be covered by a separate by-law; contact your local Council or
drainage authority to find out about requirements for discharging to the sewer.

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 11


Get Management Support
Management support will make an enormous difference to successfully
introducing a green office programme to any organisation. So as a first step, you
will need to gain the support of top management or company owners. Every
organisation is a bit different so you will need to modify these ideas to make
them work for you.
Determine which Decision-makers need to support your program
Who has the ability to make decisions about operations, purchasing, products,
packaging, and services? Usually it's the Chief Executive Officer, Managing
Director, owner or other senior managers.
Collect information and ideas to present to management to demonstrate
the issues.
1. Gather together NZ relevant information, there is plenty of support material to
validate your aim to reduce waste and pollution, to conserve resources and to
improve your social responsiveness. Point out that if these issues aren’t
addressed voluntarily today, they may have to be regulated for in the future.
[See the Business Case].
2. Show how your organisation is contributing to these problems. For example,
gather the facts on how much waste you generate and what it costs to
dispose of it, find out how much paper you use each year or note down what
equipment is left on overnight unnecessarily. Make a short video or take
photographs, e.g. waste generated, lights left on, dirty stormwater drains,
smoky vehicles etc from around your premises. Show the video or pictures to
management and employees. [Select images that represent problems, but do
not come across too negatively toward any individual or department]
Highlight potential savings from green office initiative.
In almost every field some organisations or businesses have active green office
initiatives already underway. The most common benefits cited from operational
improvements is savings in purchasing and. You may also benefit from:
 Reduced operational costs (e.g. energy bills or in reduced waste disposal
costs).
 Reduced purchasing costs (e.g. stationary costs printing costs, postage etc.)
 Improved staff morale & public image.
 Better relationships with suppliers and the local community.
Emphasise the economic benefits, morale improvements, marketing advantages
or public profile gains that your competitors may be realizing through their
efforts. Don't let your company be a laggard!
Indicate likely reactions by Customers, Board of Directors, and
Stakeholders.
Determine how key groups will respond to changes in your products, packaging,
and improved internal operations. Today’s public is concerned about
environmental as well as human rights issues. Your efforts to green your office
may translate into positive public relations and better sales. You certainly can’t
afford to risk the bad press associated with not addressing these issues.

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 12


Have Persistence and Patience
Remember everyone who starts up a successful programme has to face
obstacles. Sometimes an idea is presented at a time when it must compete with
more urgent matters. Look for initiatives that will offer the biggest benefit for the
smallest effort. And there will always be a few people who will object to any
change, but don’t let them deter you. Be patient and keep trying. If in doubt
suggest a pilot programme for starters!

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 13


Get Staff Support
Once you have management approval you’re next mission is to get staff buy-in.
Staff will be asked to change the way they currently work, so their support is
vital.
Generating support shouldn’t be too difficult if you:
1. Distribute information to potentially interested or influential staff about the
state of the environment and the general impacts their work practices are
having on the environment;
2. Organise a fun and informative presentation to your staff (there are plenty of
useful resources including videos [Prepare for Tomorrow/ GreenFleet],
booklets, posters etc) that can be used to educate and motivate others.
3. Introduce staff to some good starter ‘green office options’ and set up a
‘suggestions scheme’ to allow staff to put ideas forward.
4. Clearly communicate what you want them to do and why.
Look around for environmental or sustainability models (e.g. The Natural Step,
Cleaner production, ISO 14000 etc) that might be of interest to you and your
organisation.
Join your local business network to find out what others are doing in this area.
Once you have your supporters you should formalise a ‘Green Office Team’ (GO
Team) to further participation and action within your organisation.

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 14


Conduct an Environmental Review
An environmental review or audit is a good starting point for the ‘Go team’. The
process involves examining your current situation and assessing what you want
to improve and how you might go about doing it. This provides a baseline against
which any improvement can be measured. Some organisations choose to employ
a contractor or consultant to help with this (for a list of consultants who can help,
visit the Green Pages section of the Green Office web-site)
The following stages are recommended:
1. Set objectives
2. Gather information (use the first section of the Example Survey to measure
staff behaviour)
3. Focus on priority areas (e.g. significance, risk or cost)
4. Select a team to work on the priority areas
5. Develop a plan and work to it
6. Conduct a review to see how well you have done. (Site inspections, reduced
waste, reduced costs, appealed to staff etc)
7. Analyse and report your findings to staff and management.

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 15


Develop a Policy Framework
Every day more organisations are adopting policies to show their concern for our
natural resources, human rights, the environment, staff, local communities and
for future generations.
Policies set out guiding principles for the entire organisation and guide a business
and its employees in their daily activities. They also demonstrate to customers,
neighbours, and investors that your organisation has taken a first step toward
using good environmental and social practices. You may need a policy framework
that covers both operational management issues as well as one for working with
suppliers.
Environmental policies can be incorporated into health and safety polices, as the
two issues are interrelated, and form a sustainability policy. Many companies are
adopting environmental policies and are striving for sustainable development,
zero waste or for zero pollution because it is part of good business.
Contact the Businesses for Social Responsibility for information on socially
responsibility in business, or for a copy of their Triple Bottom Line Guides.
If a systematic approach is good for your organisation we suggest you investigate
the benefits of adopting a formal sustainability or environmental programme.

Where to Start
What is the environmental or social position of your organisation at present? How
could you respond to the challenges of the future?
By choosing to operate in a more environmentally and socially responsible way
you can:
 Offer products or services with integrity
 Avoid waste and pollution
 Save money through efficiencies
 Improve your organisations image
 Support other businesses that are ‘doing the right thing’ (e.g. operating their
own environmental or social programmes)
 Offer your staff a better work environment
 Develop respectful and supportive relationships with suppliers
 Avoid supporting socially unacceptable organisations (e.g. child labour,
exploitation of resources and cultures, cruelty to animals, promotion of
alcohol, gambling, pornography or cigarettes etc).

The best way for any organisation to respond to these is through the formation of
a series of rules, values or policies. You can develop any number of policies; in
this case we recommend you consider developing an overarching Sustainability
Policy with a Purchasing Policy, which sits under this.
Before you decide on your policy framework make sure you understand

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 16


Why Green your Office (e.g. What is at stake? What is legally required?)
The Business Case (e.g. What are the costs and benefits? What are others doing?
- What standards could you achieve?)
Communicate the policies and plans internally and make sure staff are aware of
the responsibilities they hold prior to informing stakeholders, customers and the
community.
Continuously monitor and review your policies, plans and performance in the light
of the new information on legislation, advances in science, market changes etc.

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 17


Develop and Launch the Plan
The Plan
Once you have a policy in place you must develop a plan that links to your policy
objectives. Your plan should cover the following:
 Activity (e.g. printing, photocopying etc)
 Action required to improve the activity
 Who is responsible
 The target
 The date that the action should be done by
 The resources required to complete the activity
 How success will be measured

It can take a few weeks, even months of planning to get to the stage of launching
your programme, but good preparation is vital. A successful launch is a great way
to inspire the rest of the organisation, your suppliers or stakeholders, with your
enthusiasm and commitment.
Hint: start with programmes to reduce waste or electricity use –‘these are the
best bangs for your bucks’
The Launch
This is an excuse for a party! Make sure that it is informative as well as enjoyable
1. Outline objectives of the programme – why you are doing it and who is
responsible
2. Cover financial aspects and the actions expected from others
3. Display examples of logos and equipment you will use
4. Introduce the working group and staff involved
5. Finally don’t be afraid to ask for feedback!

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 18


Review Progress
Monitoring is a vital part of an ongoing review. Try to track resource use (paper,
energy, water etc) in a consistent manner. Is it working?
This question is vital to sustaining your office's waste reduction efforts. Use the
second staff survey to gauge your co-worker’s response to any changes.
As well as conducting this survey, revisit your bins and check out spending, for
example, has your paper budget decreased.

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 19


Analyse and Report Findings
The process of analysing and reporting results of any programme tends to be
done on a regular, monthly, six-monthly or yearly basis (depending on what you
are measuring). Refer to the plan you developed in your early stage and assess
how often reporting should be done based on the target date set.
This is the time when you might find areas that need improving. If things aren't
going so well, find out what the problems are and fix them!
 Do staff really know what to do or do they need reminding?
 Is the system too complex?
 Do people want more feedback about how their efforts are making a
difference?
 Can you use your savings to reward staff in some way?
 Do people feel like they are working in isolation?
 If things are going superbly, how can you improve?

Network with other people who are making headway with environmental
practices in their business. Join your local business network and share ideas,
stumbling blocks with others.
Report progress in the same manner that other projects or issues are reported in
your organisation. Share results with all staff through information presented at
meetings or placing information on websites/ notice boards /newsletters etc.
Some businesses are reporting annually to social, environmental and economic
criteria. This is termed with Triple Bottom Line Reporting of Sustainable
Development Reporting.

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 20


Green Office Scorecard
Go through each step and assess how well your organisation has adopted a
Green Office.
(Understanding Rating: 1=Poor, 5 = Excellent)

How well do you understand the issues associated with


Rating 1-5
the need for change?
Population Growth & Resource Limits
Pollution
Global Warming
Ozone Layer depletion
Deforestation
Increasing pressure from ethical consumers
Threats to New Zealand’s uniqueness

How well do you understand how businesses are


Rating 1-5
addressing these issues?
Resource efficiency (do you count energy as a resource?)
Responsible employer and member of the community
Innovation
Gaining market share
Helping to develop positive solutions
Staying ahead of legislation & adding value to national & local
policy
Total

How much Management Support do you have? Answer 1-5


1. Management are not aware of the programme
2. Management have agreed to address it at a later date
3. Management have agreed to some of the programme
4. Management are supportive of a trial project
5. Management are fully supportive

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 21


How much Staff Support do you have? Answer 1-5
1. Staff are not aware of the programme
2. Only a small number are aware and supportive
3. Staff have agreed to participate
4. Staff are supportive
5. Staff are actively involved and driving the programme

Have you conducted Environmental review? Answer 1-5


1. No one has conducted an environmental review. 6.
2. Yes, someone conducted a basic environmental review, but
not many people know the results.
3. Yes, a basic review has been conducted and the results
communicated to some staff.
4. Yes, someone has conducted a thorough environmental
review and the results have been reported to some staff.
5. Yes, someone has conducted a thorough environmental
review and the results have been displayed and reported to
all staff.

Do you have a Policy Framework in place? Answer 1-5


1. No, we have no policies in place
2. Yes, we have a basic draft policy
3. Yes, we have a policy covering some sustainability areas
4. Yes, we have a full policy, but its not up to date
5. Yes, we have a full range of environmental, sustainability
and purchasing policies and its regularly reviewed and
updated

Have you developed a plan and how well is it going? Answer 1-5
1. No we have no plan in place
2. Yes, someone has developed a plan but very few people
have seen it
3. Yes, we have a published plan, but not much has been
achieved yet
4. Yes, someone has developed a plan and staff &
management support it, with significant progress having
been made.
5. Yes, we have a plan that’s well publicised and support by
management and its largely implemented

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 22


How well are you assessing and reviewing progress? Answer 1-5
1. The programme hasn’t started
2. The programme has started, but no assessment has been
made on progress.
3. The programme is being assessed, but not formally reported
4. The programme has been assessed, but formally reported to
only a few people
5. The programme is being formally assessed and reported and
reported to all stakeholders

How are you reporting progress internally and Answer 1-5


externally?
1. There is no internal or external reporting done at this stage
2. Staff are informed of progress at an informal session
3. Staff are formally updated on progress on a regular basis
4. Staff, suppliers and other stakeholders are updated on an ad
hoc basis
5. Staff and stakeholders are formally informed through regular
updates and an annual environmental or sustainability
report
Total Score: How well you rate overall

How did you rate?


20 – 40 Time to get started!
41 – 60 Could do better
61 – 80 Going well
81 – 100 A Green Office icon!

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 23


Example Sustainability Policy
Following are a list of principles that may help to prepare a sustainability policy
for your business or office. Some are ‘must haves’; others are ideals. Supporting
each of these statements is a plan of how and when it will be achieved.
We will:
1. Run our business with a long-term vision so that it meets the needs of the
present, without compromising the abilities of future generations to meet their
own needs
2. Adopt the highest available environmental & social standards in all countries
of our operations
3. Adopt a life cycle assessment approach and take responsibility for our
products and services from the “cradle-to-grave”
4. Assess on a continuous basis the environmental & social impact of all our
operations and be efficient with all materials, supplies and energy
5. Wherever possible we will re-use or use renewable or recyclable materials and
components.
6. Minimise waste produced in all parts of the business, and aim for “zero waste”
processes.
7. Monitor and manage our energy inputs and projects in the same way as our
other materials.
8. Expect similar environmental standard to our own from all third parties
involved with our business - suppliers, retailers or contractors.
9. Adopt a GreenFleet programme to reduce the impact our vehicles (staff travel
& distribution) has on people’s health and that of the planet.
10.Encourage employees to get involved in environmental and community action
11.Liase on a regular basis with the local community and encourage staff to
become actively involved in community programmes
12.Aim to include environmental and social considerations in investment
decisions. To help with this there are organisations such as Ethical Investors
who provide advice on ethical investments and related issues.
13.Assist in developing solutions to environmental problems, and support the
development of environmentally and socially responsible public policy (e.g.
Sustainable Development Strategy, Waste Management or Energy Efficiency
Strategy)

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 24


Example Supplier Questionnaire
Following are a list of questions that may help to prepare a purchasing policy that
will support your sustainability policy. Involving suppliers is critical.

Supplier Policy
 Do they have environmental and social policies?

 Do they operate environmental management systems?


 Do they undertake environmental and social reporting?

Sourcing Materials or Products


 Where are the main materials (state or country) sourced?

 Are international human rights (e.g. no child labour), and worker health &
safety practices followed?
 Are visits to manufacturing / processing / distribution plants allowed?
 Have you visited your suppliers to verify this information?
 Is any environmental management undertaken at source of materials? If so
give details.
 How are materials transported to you?
 Are packaging materials minimised, made of recycled materials, reusable or
returnable?
 Are any ingredients or materials tested on animals?

About the Product


 Ask the supplier to explain all environmental attributes of their product? And
how they differ from their competitors.
 Does the supplier have any reuse or recovery programs? E.g. can the product
be taken back for recycling or remanufacturing? (If no recovery scheme exists,
is information provided for safe disposal at end of useful life?)
 What is the material’s composition of the products?
 How much is made from recycled materials?
 How much are made from renewable materials?
 For plants (food/ fibre), is it certified as organic?
 For wood/ timber, has its source been certified as from a sustainable forest?
 Does the product contain any chemicals classified as hazardous or toxic? Give
details.
 Are Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) available and are they willingly
provided?

Production Process
 Has the company been involved in any external environmental improvement
schemes like the Local government Cleaner Production, The Natural Step or

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 25


other Green Business program etc? (Pollution emission controls, Energy
conservation, Water conservation…)
 Does the product carry any ecolabelling: (i.e. Environmental Choice, AAA
rating, Energy Star, Rugmark, Biogro, Demeter, Green Home Scheme, Forest
Stewardship Council? Or any standards or safety tests i.e. insulation R rating,
fire rating?)

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 26


Example Green Office Plan

Example Green Office Plan for: date: _______


Resources
Item Activity Action Responsible Target Date
required

Planning Environmental Develop EP for Communications Drafted & signed by Apr 02


Policy organisation manager management

Staff support Publicise policy Communications Post on all notice May 02


and programme. manager boards, newsletter

Establish GO Operations All depts


Team manager represented on GO
Team

Product Review product Conduct a Life Operations To list all impacts Jun 02
Design Cycle Assessment manager

Reduce Review packaging Operations Reduce packaging Dec 02


packaging sent manager by 20%
out

Implement Talk to Communications Have all materials Dec 02 Green


green printing communications manager green printed printers
procedures team

Operations Assess Change criteria for Purchasing Have purchasing Jun 02


purchasing printer etc manager policy in place
requirements

Toner recycling Set up toner Office manager All toner recycled Jun 02 Bins for
recycling bins collection

Purchase Contact suppliers Office manager All paper has 50% Jun 02
recycled paper recycled content

Resource Reuse paper Make reuse pads Receptionist All one sided paper Jun 02 Glue
Efficiency waste reused

Waste Waste audit Conduct waste Office Manager Complete by Apr 02 Scales,
Assessment audit gloves

Set-up paper Provide paper Office manager Reuse 20% of copy Jun 02 Paper tray
collection & trays with labels & paper label,
reuse system train staff on paper deskside
reuse and
copierside
poster:

Contractors Survey Develop Purchasing 50% suppliers Dec 02


& Suppliers Suppliers questionnaire officer respond to survey

Prepared by: ___________________ To review by date: _______

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 27


Example Green Office Survey
Introduction (Please answer and give details where appropriate.)
1- How often have you undertaken the following activities recently? Please tick or
highlight.
Rarely Was it
Alway Sometim
Often or easy to
s es
Never do?
Reusing paper for taking notes
Reusing single sided paper in a
copier or printer
Double sided copying and
printing
Using products or packaging
made from recycled materials
Buying products or packaging
that are designed to last
Repairing or upgrading
equipment or refilling products
Using email rather than
sending printed material
Previewing documents on the
computer before printing
Designing documents to
reduce paper
Other (please give details)

1a - Was it easy to do? Please circle or highlight. Yes / No


1b - How could things be improved? ___________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
1c - Who should be responsible for coordinating ongoing green office efforts?
_____________________________________________________________________

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 28


2 - How important is each of the following to the success of our green office
efforts?
Not very Not at all Can’t
Important
important important say
More commitment from management
Simplified systems that all staff can use
Better labelling of recycling facilities
A policy and/or procedure to guide us
Rewards for ‘doing the right thing’ - not just ‘feel
good’ feedback
One person to motivate and drive changes
Better control and ordering of office supplies
Knowing what the costs and savings are to the
business

3 - How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?
Neither agree Not
Agree Disagree
nor disagree Applicable

Green Office programme is working

Everyone in the office knows about it

Everyone in the office knows how to duplex


documents/reuse single sided paper in the copier
& printer/ edit onscreen

Recycling is easier than reducing

Most staff are aware of and supportive of it

I’ve tried, but it takes too much time

I would like to use more recycled products.

I would like regular feedback on our efforts

Any suggestions I may make will be valued by


others

I’m ready to do more!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME

© Auckland Environmental Business Network 2002 Page 29