Carbon Zero, greenhouse gas emissions, carbon footprints offsets? When Ross first talked about these, my reaction was “how does this work for us?
I mean, we are a consulting firm, not some huge industrial business”, but little did I know that was to come next.
Ross went on to say he had researched various options and came up with Toitū Envirocare. They help businesses be more sustainable by giving them the science-based tools, actions, and evidence needed to make real progress with positive change through robust environmental programmes.
Toitū connects people and businesses, actions and outcomes, with a view of helping everyone see the value of taking action – and doing it together. So we joined up with them.
The tools I was given were mind-boggling, but by going through each tab on the spreadsheet, and understanding it, it wasn’t too bad in the end.
We had to track fuel purchased, rental car usage, electricity, flights – distance travelled per flight (domestic and international – luckily they gave you a calculator to find out these distances), private car usage, waste (non-recycling). There were others as well, but they didn’t relate to our company.
Step 1: Input all the data into spreadsheet from the last 12 months, and provide evidence.
What?? My initial reaction was ‘this will take forever’! But in fact, it ended up being a great job to do during the Covid lockdown, as we are an essential business supporting Councils.
I was the support person in the office, so I had the whole place to myself and could be as messy as I liked with numerous folders and invoices open scanning the evidence.
Step 2: Input the data into the secure Toitū website.
Once I tallied up the totals for the month, you put in the monthly total, e.g. 3144 pkm (person kilometres) and the website works out the tCO2 e (one tonne of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions) for you (see below).
3. Upload the evidence.
All evidence was uploaded as pdf’s, so it was one pdf per month.
Once I had inputted all the data, uploaded the evidence, Ross then had to write the report, attach my spreadsheet (as further evidence) as an appendix, and then we submitted it for Audit.
4. Submit for Audit.
I was a bit nervous as I had never had anything audited before. We were given a time and date for an auditor to come down, sit with us for 4 hours, while checking random entries of how I recorded the data, checking the evidence, and then comparing my spreadsheet to what I had recorded on the website to make sure it was the same.
Then we had to wait about a week to 10 days for the Auditor to come back to us with his findings and recommendations. That was a bit nerve-wracking!
Finally, we heard, and only had a couple of things to check, then it was resubmitted for the final audit.
Then we heard back….YES! We passed the certification!
And now you’ll have to wait for Ross’ post for what this means next for us as an infrastructure management consulting company!