CarboNZero – our story

Ken sharing his message at the recent carboNZero function

We have been members of the CarboNZero programme for the past five years. Last Thursday we were pleased to host Richard Gordon (Acting CEO Landcare), Landcare CarboNZero team, along with representative from other organisations who had signed up for the programme (fellow believers). I had to give a speech about our journey to carboNZero, what inspired us, and why we decide to contribute to this programme of offsetting our carbon emissions. I thought you might like to know why we decided to join up with this exciting programme.

Our carboNZero story has two themes that weave together.

As many of our followers know, HMA is in the business of ‘Working with passion and integrity to bring out the best in people’. We deliver on that mission by developing programmes, training professionals and publishing in the area of human services. In particular we work in the areas of criminal justice, family violence, AoD, motivational interviewing and parenting. For example, there will not be a probation officer or programme facilitator in New Zealand and throughout a great deal of Australia that has not been touched by our work in some way. We are incredibly proud of what we do and how we do it. So as you can gather we travel a fair bit in doing what we do and those carbon miles soon add up.

The first part of our story is based in the practice of integrity which is important to us. It is about our dealings with our clients, it is about how we do business, it is about how we are with each other. When I think about integrity it is like the wave left after a boat has gone past in the water. The wake can either be smooth or rough. It is the rough wake that does the damage. We aim at HMA to ensure the wake we leave behind our effort are smooth, both in business and in our environmental footprint.

The second part of our carboNZero story takes us to Vanuatu. Suzanne and myself were there several years ago with our children. Sam, our son, was at intermediate school at the time and was doing a project on eco-tourism. As a family we decided to go on an eco-tourism adventure, firstly, to support a struggling local initiative, and secondly, to experience the pristine and beautiful richness of the area.

After this experience Suzanne and myself started a conversation about the future we wanted for our children and perhaps our children’s children. I know it sounds clichéd but we felt, like the legacy of our lifetime of work on building resilience in others, we wanted to leave a legacy in terms of our environmental footprint. By being a member of the carboNZero community we are able in our small way to demonstrate our integrity as a business and that in business we also have to pay forward for those that come in our wake. That is important to us.

So how are we taking care to actively reduce our footprint:

  1. Our biggest footprint is national and international travel – Joel to Singapore several times per year, Suzanne to Canada and the UK and me to Australia at least six times a year.
  2. Rather than extensive travelling we are shifting much of our training towards an online market. This week we launch two online training programmes which we think will have wide appeal. One focussed on family violence prevention and the other around motivational interviewing.
  3. We are also actively exploring the idea of moving away from print books which have been our traditional way of knowledge sharing, joining the e-book market.
  4. The other area of development is in online supervision, mentoring and support. Already we use our conferencing system to support programme workers in various locations.

All of us know we have only one home. It is called planet earth. If we don’t care for her, then we are in some difficulty. We don’t have a plan B in this regard. At HMA we really appreciate the efforts that the carboNZero team through Landcare are making. Well done to you. More information on the programme is available so go take a look.

Published on Monday, August 6th, 2012, under What Ken thinks

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