Brother walking the talk in emissions reduction

Being able to ‘walk the talk’ is a key driver for Brother New Zealand’s impressive environmental story.

Brother, a leading provider of print and imaging equipment, labelling solutions and sewing machines, was a finalist in the Excellence in Climate Action (medium organisation) category at our 2020 award ceremony – and is a leading light in both the Toitū carbonzero and carbonreduce programmes.

Since they were first certified Toitū carbonzero in 2013, Brother has successfully reduced their organisational emissions by a huge 45 percent, diverting almost 738 tonnes of CO2e from our atmosphere.

“We are proud to be the first printer brand to meet the requirements of the Toitū carbonzero certification and being named a finalist for the award,” says Mayuko Hirose, Director of Corporate Strategy and Corporate Social Responsibility.  “The Toitū carbonzero certification recognises Brother’s significant dedication and ongoing commitment to managing, reducing and offsetting carbon emissions, setting us apart in the industry.”

With close to 60 staff across four offices in Tauranga, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and customers that include major retailers, business-to-business partners and corporates, Brother has re-organised its operations to reduce emissions.

“Sustainability initiatives and environmental considerations are built into every aspect of our business, from global strategy to day-to-day operations,” Hirose explains.

Brother cut emissions from outbound freight by more than half by moving its warehouse from Wellington to Tauranga (to service their main customers in Auckland), and contracting a third-party warehouse in Christchurch to distribute to South Island customers.

Brother NZ staff undertaking a coastal clean-up project through Sustainable Coastlines

They’ve also instilled sustainability across their company culture.  “Each month our team participates in sustainability initiatives including reducing emissions from power use, waste management and driving behaviour”, says Hirose. “Every year we participate in coastal clean-up activities in partnership with Sustainable Coastlines. Brother employees are passionate about our environmental efforts as an organisation, and this is evident in the increased participation we continue to see in these initiatives.”

Brother also works hard to reduce emissions while continuing to meet their high customer service standards. For example, they are sometimes forced to air freight products to meet urgent delivery timeframes. However, carbon emissions from long haul air freight are 100 times higher per kilogram of product than going by sea, a factor Brother does their best to mitigate by maintaining robust scenario planning throughout the procurement process.

Hirose believes the key to success is through strong leadership from the very top, and integrating sustainability into high level business strategies. She also emphasises ensuring that organisations adequately resource their initiatives. “Toitū Envirocare has provided the resources to measure, manage and reduce our emissions,” says Hirose. “Alongside their strong reporting framework this helps us to fulfil our corporate social responsibility and meet our sustainability requirements, allowing us to communicate our achievements with confidence.”

She also believes that taking meaningful climate action will increasingly be a license to operate for all businesses. “Sustainable business development will be recognised more and more in the future. Businesses are constantly being challenged to adopt business strategies that protect natural resources whilst achieving business goals,” she says.