Agility cuts emissions with NZ carbon program

By: Jason Whittaker

Logistics provider Agility has won endorsement by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark for becoming the first company to achieve

Logistics provider Agility has won endorsement by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark for becoming the first company to achieve carboNZero certification.

The carboNZero program, certified by Landcare Research, enables organisations to measure and offset their carbon emissions, and commit to reducing these emissions in the future.

"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," says Anthony Browne, Agility’s New Zealand CEO.

"carboNZero certification is our public commitment to this, and provides our business with a way to make a real difference."

Clark has congratulated Agility on making the move to become certified.

"The New Zealand Government and businesses work hard to ensure Kiwi goods and services are globally competitive, and that we have a strong reputation for being environmentally sustainable," she says.

"Overseas consumers are increasingly conscious of the role and impact of freight and transport in getting the product to international markets.

"We want New Zealand products to keep their marketing edge. carboNZero certification provides a practical solution to this challenge, by offering a positive step to reduce and offset emissions."

Agility is the first international freight and logistics provider to achieve carboNZero certification in New Zealand. 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 Agility 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.

"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," says Browne.

"We provide exporters with a real solution to mitigate carbon emissions and remove the food miles objection, ensuring the ongoing competitiveness of New Zealand products abroad."

One of Agility’s long-standing customers is Wellington-based skincare company Trilogy, who themselves achieved carboNZero certification in January. 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," says 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.

Mick Turnbull, Agility’s Australasian Managing Director, says the company has sought to become a leader in corporate citizenship.

"We will move quickly to gain certification for our Australian organisation before the end of this year, and there is a high level of interest at the most senior levels of Agility to move in this direction globally," he says.

Professor Ann Smith, the carboNZero Program Leader for Landcare Research, believes carboNZero certification of a large multi-national company like Agility shows that the program is recognised as being a leader in carbon accounting schemes.

"Agility is a significant global player who has made a commitment to being a socially and environmentally responsible company," she says.

"Our collaboration with a freight and logistics provider like Agility has provided the perfect platform for ensuring that the carboNZero programme remains at the cutting edge in providing solutions for all players in supply chains to participate in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions."

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