NRDA - One of the first RTO's to achieve Zero Carbon Business Lite Certification

NRDA - One of the first RTO's to achieve Zero Carbon Business Lite Certification

Written by Madeleine Melin

Posted on Monday 8 August 2022

Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA) have achieved the Zero Carbon Business Lite Certification through EKOS and is one of the first Regional Development Offices in New Zealand to do so.

Over the past two years, NRDA, alongside businesses in the Nelson Tasman region, has been working with local business EKOS to help measure, reduce, and offset their carbon emissions. This has helped businesses become certified as either zero carbon or climate positive.

"We are thrilled to reach this milestone and to join other businesses in the region to receive this certification. This aligns with the region's vision of being Tūpuna pono, to be good ancestors and long-term sustainability focus," says Fiona Wilson, CE of the Nelson Regional Development Agency.

"The environment is at the heart of visitor sector planning for Nelson Tasman. We work closely with over 25 businesses that form the Nelson Tasman Zero Carbon Travel Itinerary. Therefore it was important to us to ensure we are committed as an organisation and become Zero Carbon Business Lite Certified," says Tracee Neilson, Visitor Destination Manager at Nelson Regional Development Agency.

To qualify for the Zero Carbon Business Lite Certification, NRDA has measured and offset 100% of its CO2 emissions. NRDA compensates for the same amount of emissions taken out of the air by investing in protecting and establishing new forests.

NRDA has opted to offset their emissions by purchasing carbon units from the nearby Kern Creek Forest Conservation Project in Maruia Valley. This project protects over 130 ha of mixed forest between Nelson Lakes and the West Coast. Kern Forest Conservation Project is being carried out under the Emission Trading Scheme, New Zealand's key tool for meeting climate change targets. As part of the New Zealand Government's rules for carbon sequestration rates by indigenous forests, New Zealand Units (NZUs) are issued. NZUs are cancelled in the New Zealand carbon unit registry as soon as they are sold to an offset buyer, so they cannot be used or sold again.

The first step to achieving the Zero Carbon Business Lite Certification is understanding the carbon measurement and certification process. The online business lite carbon calculator is used to work through the data collection for the business. Among the areas covered for NRDA were stationary combustion, mobile combustion, electricity, freight and distribution, business travel and waste disposal. The information is verified by a senior carbon analyst at EKOS. Your footprint can be offset by purchasing forest carbon offset credits once your application is approved.

"Ekos are pleased to have worked with NRDA with their certification of Zero Carbon lite using our Business Lite tool. We hope this encourages other businesses in the region and nationally to begin their sustainability journey. The online calculator is the perfect place to start," says Cristina Barraclough, Carbon Analytics Administrator at EKOS.

Fiona Wilson explains that this is only the beginning. "Now that we understand our emissions, we can continue introducing initiatives to reduce them in the future. We encourage all businesses in Te Tauihu to look into how they can reduce their footprint and work towards Zero Carbon Certification."

Businesses in Nelson Tasman who are Zero Carbon/ Climate Positive through EKOS:
1. Brook Waimārama Sanctuary Trust
2. Chia Sisters
3. Yum Granola
4. Hooked on Marahau
5. The Free House
6. Abel Tasman Aquataxi
7. Abel Tasman Centre
8. Abel Tasman EcoTours
9. Abel Tasman Lodge
10. Abel Tasman Ocean View Chalets
11. Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures
12. Cable Bay Kayaks
13. Marahau Beachcamp
14. Marahau Sea Kayaks
15. Marahau Water Taxis
16. Owen River Lodge
17. Skydive Abel Tasman
18. The Gentle Cycling Company
19. Wine Art & Wilderness
20. YHA Nelson by Accents
21. Kimi Ora
22. Abel Tasman Guides
23. Pics Peanut Butter Factory
24. Hybrid Bikes
25. Nelson Regional Development Agency