Engaging others on the journey | Samson Corporation Ltd
When Samson Corporation Ltd launched their sustainability strategy in 2017, they aimed to be carbon neutral by 2030.
However, several weeks ago, and more than a decade ahead of schedule, they smashed that target and achieved their first carboNZero certification, a result of their hard work completing Enviro-Mark Solutions’ carboNZero programme.
A family-owned business, the Samson Corporation Ltd have been leaders in the sustainable building industry for over 12 years.
Their flagship initiatives include The Geyser Building in Parnell and The Ironbank Building on Karangahape Road which were New Zealand’s first Six Star Green Rated and Fiver Star Green rated buildings respectively.
Despite these accolades, Samson Corporation Ltd wanted to take a more holistic view of their environmental impact, as well as stay ahead of the market and maintain a leadership position in this space. But it was more than just competition that drove Samson to take action.
“Behind all that, it’s just about taking responsibility,” says Samson’s Sustainability Manager, Celia Wells.
“Every organisation in New Zealand has to be taking responsibility for their environmental impacts, and you only know what your impact when you start measuring your footprint.”
Check out this short video for a quick overview:
Enter the carboNZero programme
Through the world-class framework of the carboNZero programme, Samson Corporation Ltd measured the carbon emissions of their organisation and developed a robust management plan to reduce their footprint, before offsetting their unavoidable emissions through high-quality carbon credits. Their emissions measurement and management plan was independently verified by Enviro-Mark Solutions.
“We had no idea as to what our [carbon] footprint would be, and it’s actually been a really straightforward and easy process through Enviro-Mark Solutions to work our exactly where we’re operating to now committing to reducing that and offsetting on that journey”, says Celia.
As with most organisations, their first year of certification has given them unexpected insights into where they can have the most emissions reduction impact.
Celia was especially intrigued with the E-Manage software tool. “Just plugging in information for the different scopes, and seeing what the footprint was, really blew my conceptual understanding of what created a carbon footprint and what didn’t.”
Knowing the sources of their emissions gave Samson clarity on what areas needed to be prioritised, and they were quick to make improvements.
The measurement process brought focus to high-impact refrigerants in old air conditioning units being used in some of their properties.
“We weren’t even aware just because it wasn’t on our radar,” say Celia. “Straightaway we decided to remove those old air conditioning units and those nasty refrigerants”.
Next steps – Energy efficiency & waste management
Samson’s focus going forward is to manage energy use and reduce waste going to landfill, which comprise their two highest emission sources.
Their largest properties are having metres installed to monitor energy use, and they have opted to get rated under NZBERSNZ to assess the energy efficiency of their buildings. These tools will help identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency of the buildings and lower running costs for their tenants.
To manage waste in their multi-tenanted buildings more effectively, they’ve partnered with Method Recycling to provide recycle bins. Supertrash, a fellow carboNZero certified organisation, is another partner that Celia credits for having helped Samson reduce their waste to landfill.
Celia says it’s great to be working with like minded organisations on this journey.
Stakeholder, customer and supply chain response
Samson’s received an ‘overwhelmingly positive’ response to their carboNZero certification from their staff, stakeholders and tenants.
“It’s not THE reason we do this. We’re doing this because we’re wanting to be doing the right thing, but it’s a real cherry on top to have these positive public relations experience you get from taking responsibility,” says Celia.
Samson also uses their influence to help spread the sustainability message and requires their suppliers to prove their sustainability credentials. As a result, some of their suppliers are now considering carboNZero certification.
They also chose to go beyond the minimal requirements of the programme in order to leverage their influence more effectively. In their emissions inventory, Samson included and reported on their tenants’ waste (classified under Scope 3 waste to landfill). While it is not a mandatory requirement for carboNZero certification, Samson saw this as an opportunity to engage their tenants and bring them along on the climate action journey – a key theme as they use their leadership to encourage collective action.