My Summary of the TCC Corporate Sustainability Strategy 2011-2016

This is article #11 in my 16 part series summarising Tauranga City Council strategy documents.

Here is my summary of the Tauranga City Council Corporate Sustainability Strategy 2011-2016 (44 pages. 1.23Mb .pdf).

This is an internal, corporate strategy document detailing how the council staff (500+ people) can do better with sustainability and lead by example between 2011 and 2016.

The term of this strategy has now expired, but it still had some interesting ideas.

The ideas include:

  • Energy efficient IT equipment, and buildings, and reducing water usage, and considering solar hot water systems
  • Reducing paper usage and developing online/digital services
  • Re-using materials like mulch and roading material
  • Reducing waste to landfill

I did find some of the measures and actions a bit odd:

  • “We will reduce the average volume of printing and photocopying per FTE in the Willow Street offices by 10% compared to 2009. (This excludes the copy centre)”
    • Why was the copy centre excluded? Wouldn’t that have been an excellent place for the same goal to be applied to?
  • “Edible Christmas Cards. Eg. ones made with potato paper”
    • Haha!
  • “Purchase paper cups instead of plastic ones. Possibly cheaper and more environmentally friendly”
    • Wow. Talk about missing the mark there. I would have liked to see the sentence “Encourage staff and visitors to use washable coffee mugs + glass cups in the first instance, but if they are not available, provide paper cups”

I wasn’t able to find data on the current status of these ideas. I wanted to know which ones were implemented an if the waste minimisations goals got reached.

Also, “the paperless office” has been of interest to me for over 10 years but in that time, despite goals like this all over the world, the planets consumption of copypaper has not decreased, so I would have been very surprised if the council had managed to acheive it when so many other organisations, cities and countries have not.

So I talked to Michelle Elborn, Sustainability Advisor for Tauranga City Council:

“We still use too-much copy-paper. But follow-me printing has been in place for 3 years.”

Have you heard of “follow-me printing”? Instead of sending your print jobs to a printer, you have to go to any printer in the building in person and unlock your job using a pin number before it will print out. Imagine all those anonymous, unclaimed print jobs that went into the recycle bin before this innovation.

“The intent of the document was to embed sustainability into the way we do things. The document was signed up at the management level, next time it should be signed off at a council level. It’s a culture change and culture changes take time. Support from the top is key.”

“Our energy reduction policy is performing well, we are converting street lights to LED, we have a staff travel plan in place, a water efficiency plan, and waste reduction plan.”

“Our waste water treatment plants uses 25% of our energy. For 8 years now, we have converted the methane that the plant produces, into electricity. We can improve this and follow Auckland which plans to use co-generation like this to have it’s waste water plants energy neutral by 2025.” 

Your Thoughts?

What do you think of my notes? Anything that catches your eye? Have your say in the comment section below.

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