Agility has become the first New Zealand based international freight and logistics provider to achieve carboNZero certification.
The carboNZero programme enables organisations to measure and offset their carbon emissions, and commit to reducing these emissions in the future and is certified by Landcare Research.
“The movement of freight around the globe is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. As an industry we need to recognise this, and take steps to ensure we are actively looking at ways of reducing our carbon footprint”, said Anthony Browne, Agility’s New Zealand CEO.
Prime Minister Helen Clark said the NZ Government and businesses work hard to ensure Kiwi goods and services are globally competitive, and that New Zealand has "a strong reputation for being environmentally sustainable".
Overseas consumers are increasingly conscious of the role and impact of freight and transport in getting the product to international markets, she said.
"We want New Zealand products to keep their marketing edge."
Reducing Greenhouse Gases
The certification process has seen the company measuring, managing, reducing and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions arising from its business activities. Agility will purchase carbon credits that have been created in New Zealand through sustainable energy initiatives such as wind farms.
In addition to having Agility’s New Zealand operations carboNZero certified, Agility has worked with Landcare to measure the carbon emissions created when their customers move freight internationally by air or sea.
This enables the company to offer their customers the option of a carboNZero certified service for the movement of cargo to or from any port in the world. The cost of the carbon offset is calculated based on the weight of the shipment, the distance it travels, and the mode of transport chosen – i.e. air, ocean or road.
“With publicity over recent years on the concept of food miles and the potential negative impact that this could have on New Zealand exports we feel that this service offering is of significant value for our customers”, said Anthony Browne.
The eyefortransport Green Transportation and Logistics Report calculated that up to 75% of a company's carbon footprint comes from their transportation and logistics activities.
Organic skincare exports
One of Agility’s longstanding customers is Wellington based skincare company Trilogy who themselves achieved carboNZero certification in January of this year. Trilogy founders Catherine de Groot and Sarah Gibbs say public awareness of the fragility of the environment means that their customers, especially those in Europe and North America are demanding more sustainable choices.
“carboNZero certification means Agility is providing exporters like Trilogy with an added value service that is increasingly relevant in our export markets” said Catherine de Groot. “It also means that they share the same values that we do, which is equally important.”
As part of a global freight and logistics network operating in over 100 countries, Agility is viewing the move to carboNZero certification in New Zealand as the first in what is hoped will become a significant worldwide move towards sustainable practices in freight and logistics.
Agility’s Australasian managing director Mick Turnbull said that Agility, globally, seeks to be a leader in corporate citizenship to benefit local communities and the environment. The plan was to certify its Australian operation by the end of 2008. There was also "a high level of interest at the most senior levels of Agility to move in this direction globally.”
Professor Ann Smith, the carboNZero programme leader for Landcare Research, believes carboNZero certification of a large multi-national company like Agility shows that the carboNZero programme is recognised as being a leader in carbon accounting schemes.
She said Agility is a significant global player which has made a commitment to being a socially and environmentally responsible company.