The Blog

So Flick's Toitū carbonzero certified... but what does that mean?

There’s a tonne of greenwashing out there when it comes to our power companies, and that can make it tricky to sort the wheat from the chaff. For us, it’s the main reason we created our Carbon Tracker (formerly known as CHOICE) and why we’ve partnered up with the awesome folks at Trees That Count.

We’re also determined to minimise the day-to-day carbon emission levels of Flick as a business, and encourage our staff, and other businesses, to do the same. So, we’re amped to once again have our have our Toitū carbonzero certification renewed. Flick YEAH!

What does being ‘Toitū carbonzero certified’ mean?

Long story short, it means that we’ve achieved a net zero carbon balance - in other words, we’re carbon neutral. Once you’ve received your Toitū carbonzero certification, compliance with the standards is then independently verified each year in order to remain certified.

How (and when) did Flick become Toitū carbonzero certified?

We first became certified in 2016, following the rigorous audit process, which helped us to accurately measure our greenhouse gas emissions. Flick’s greenhouse gas emissions come mainly from waste to landfill, air travel, electricity use, and car and taxi use.

Since then, we’ve worked our butts off to lower our carbon emissions in all of these areas, and it’s been a big success (and that’s despite an increase in our company size). Last year (2019/2020) our emissions dropped to 21.45 tCO2e, an epic 50% lower than the previous year’s total of 42.54 tCO2e. This year (2020/2021), we dropped it even further, down to 17.40 tCO2e - yeow!

What’s Flick done to reduce emissions?

From the get-go, our aim has been to drop our emissions right across the board. For travel, that means considering the necessity of each and every flight we book (reduced even further during Covid), encouraging our office cyclists (we have lots) and providing them with a space to store their bikes and gear, and supporting our staff members who work remotely or wish to work from home more often.

When it comes to our waste, we use the bright and beautiful Method Recycling bins, which have led to a big reduction in our waste, and our compost is also collected and taken away. We’ve also installed LED lighting throughout the office, and we’ve cut back the air con in favour of more energy efficient heating and cooling methods, like heat pumps, in our meeting rooms.

Do you offset your carbon emissions?

Yip, we do that too. For the last couple of years we’ve purchased carbon credits at Hinewai Native Forest Reserve on the Banks Peninsula, Pigeon Bush in the Wairarapa, and the Arawera Forest in South Taranaki through the Toitū carbonzero certification scheme. For the 2020/2021 year, our carbon credits were from Spray Point Permanent Forest Sink in Marlborough.

Isn’t purchasing carbon credits just taking the easy way out?

Not at all. It’s a way of offsetting unavoidable carbon emissions, by supporting valuable and significant projects that are already making great progress in tackling issues like carbon emissions and conservation here in NZ.

So what do Flick’s carbon credits do?

Our carbon credits go towards regenerating native NZ forests.  The idea is that we buy carbon credits for retired land (land that’s not farmed anymore) so that the landowners can afford to actively increase the areas of native forest in NZ. These areas of native forest not only reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, but also help encourage biodiversity, water quality, and erosion control.

Can you tell me more about some of the projects?

Arawera is a permanent carbon sink forest in South Taranaki, and sits at a total land size of 564 hectares. It’s made up of native bush, but also includes some exotics plants that act as a nurse crop for long-term, native regeneration. As a carbon sink, the forest helps to sequester carbon here in Aotearoa and lessen the impacts of climate change. Importantly, too, Arawera forest helps to regenerate our native plants and wildlife, and return it to how it was before the forests were cleared.

Spray Point Station, an historic high country merino station located in the upper Waihopai Valley in South Marlborough, includes an area of 1000 hectares of native forest regeneration under a QEII covenant. It’s home to a some rare and endangered flora and fauna, including whio (blue duck), kea, eastern falcon and black shag, as well as kanuka trees estimated to be a century old and the local northern pink broom (which is currently listed as extremely threatened). Once grazing country, Spray Point’s forest is now providing a natural, long-term carbon sink and improving biodiversity, erosion, and water quality.

For us, it was an easy decision to be involved with the Toitū carbonzero scheme. The world faces a huge challenge tackling carbon emissions and reducing the effects of climate change. As a business, we’ve got a responsibility to take action and lead from the front – we hope you’ll join us!