Although the HVAC&R industry has often shown its power to reduce emissions through innovative net zero projects and technology, there are fewer examples of companies that have taken on the challenge themselves as organisations. Perth-based HVAC and electrical firm Greenstar has now done this by earning carbon neutral certification through Climate Active.
Climate Active is an ongoing partnership between the Australian government and Australian businesses to drive voluntary climate action. The certification is a new iteration of the Australian government’s carbon neutral certification against the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard – formerly the National Carbon Offset Standard – and is billed as one of the most rigorous in the world.
Greenstar Managing Director Brett Smith, M.AIRAH, says the certification was a long journey.
“I was speaking with a colleague who operates in the mining industry in late 2019,” says Smith. “They had recently achieved carbon neutral certification with Climate Active, and I remember thinking that if they could do it, why couldn’t we?
“Eighty per cent of our staff, including myself, have young children. I thought it would be a great way to do our bit for the environment and their future while giving our business a point of difference and adding value for like-minded clients.”
Greenstar purchased carbon credits through the Yarra Yarra biodiversity corridor – a reforestation project that is seeking to create a 200km green corridor in rural Western Australia. It was the first Gold Standard certified project in Australia. To date it has planted 30 million mixed native trees across almost 14,000 hectares.
“The project is estimated to sequester nearly one million tonnes of C0e over the life of the project,” says Smith, “while improving salinity issues caused by land clearing in the early 1900s and providing meaningful work for the local Indigenous communities and encouraging wildlife to return to these areas. It’s a really positive project and one we are proud to support.”
Smith says, however, that buying the carbon credits was the easy part of a process, which also required a complete analysis of the business.
“We needed to look at every aspect of our operation to ascertain our total carbon footprint,” says Smith. “How many reams of paper were utilised and where the paper was sourced from, through to flights, fuels, accommodation, how each staff member gets to and from work, our waste and how we manage it, who we purchase electricity from, mobile phone usage and much more – the list is long. All findings must then be verified with robust evidence and independently audited prior to submitting for assessment.”
Smith notes that the auditing process and certification is an ongoing process too – meaning the biggest challenges lie ahead.
“We need to actively find ways to continually reduce our carbon footprint, or at least not increase it,” he says.
“It has changed the way we think about everything we do. We are now actively purchasing from like-minded businesses, not only to support them but also to further reduce our footprint going forward.”
For more information about Climate Active carbon neutral certification, click here.