THE GROUP GENERAL MANAGER

Steve Barden
 
 
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“We continue to scope opportunities to improve, through energy efficiency and sustainability procurement initiatives.”

As a business, Alsco has developed agility in its adoption of sustainability and energy-efficient practices. The business has ‘broken the shackles’, embracing change, and recognizing new opportunities that ensure it moves towards low-carbon operations that are consistent with the low carbon economy envisioned here in New Zealand

The progress we have made has been escalated through Alsco’s strategic partnerships and relationships with the likes of New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and the Sustainable Business Network (SBN). Alsco has transformed itself from followers to genuine leaders in this space, through early adoption, a strategic framework to achieve our four big bold goals, and partnership with key stakeholders. We have recognised the need for swift action in addressing our climate responsibilities and have demonstrated genuine intent in making a positive, ever-lasting change. 

2020 can be described as an ‘all-encompassing challenge’. The pandemic provided the business with unprecedented and unknown challenges, ranging from severe lockdowns to extreme business uncertainty. Alsco, within days, adapted and transitioned to working from home, communicating digitally while navigating themselves and their families through a difficult period. While there were unintended positive consequences from the pandemic when it came to the decrease in our energy consumption and carbon footprint; not being able to engage with our workforce and provide them with the same level of support we pride ourselves in was unnerving. The pandemic provided the perfect recipe for sustainability to be forgone as a priority, but I am proud to state that Alsco never lost focus and continues to prioritise its sustainability initiatives. I would like to also acknowledge the emotional and personal toll the pandemic has taken on our entire workforce and extend my gratitude to everyone that has put in so much effort to support the business and, in the process, support each other

The initiatives Alsco has taken with its strategic framework have also held the company in good stead. The graduate program has provided unparalleled learning opportunities for us by instilling a greater level of understanding around energy and carbon data. The relationship with EECA has also flourished into a partnership that ensures Alsco can develop frameworks and make progress in line with government policy and incentives. It allows Alsco to provide feedback and directive on government policy while being prioritised for projects such as the EECA Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA). The strategic review, undertaken in conjunction with DETA Consulting, will provide Alsco with a roadmap to transition our stationary fuel and transportation fleet as part of a pilot study to low carbon alternatives. Alsco has a genuine intention to follow the roadmap as closely as practicable. Some hurdles may arise with the implications of the tax reforms and the gaps in national infrastructure; however, Alsco is committed to provide the government with feedback on strategic policy changes as well as data to inform case studies. We anticipate big, bold steps from the government, especially in the planning and development of roadmaps for businesses as well as the embracing of innovation and technology. 

The progress Alsco has made in the sustainability space has been very pleasing. Projects such as the amalgamation of two old energy inefficient sites into one state of the art processing facility in Richmond is just one of the examples of our progress. The project faced many challenges with the pandemic, but I would like to acknowledge the work of my team and the contractors in delivering this project, on time and within cost.

While Alsco has made major progress, we do not underestimate what lays ahead in terms of the challenges posed by climate change. We remain committed to our four big bold goals and continuous investment in initiatives that will capture energy and carbon efficiencies. In line with our goals, we have genuine intention to transition away from coal, decrease water consumption, generate zero waste, and electrify our fleet.

This journey is not exclusively for Alsco; we intend to collaborate with our people, our customers as well as our suppliers for the best outcome for our planet. While we implement these initiatives, we understand the flow-on effect it has on our personal lives, as we raise awareness and make changes to the way we live. We take a ‘bigger picture’ approach, understanding that climate change is a broader planet issue, and everyone can do their bit and make a positive change. New Zealand is well-positioned to be a world leader in sustainability and climate action. The partnership between industry and the government will better improve decision making and ensure that we can all, as businesses and in our personal capacities, play our part in making this world a better, more liveable place.