Formerly the GNS Sustainability Working Group, the committee has now been formed and is mandated by GNS management to reduce energy, transport and materials waste across the three centres at Dunedin, Wairakei and Avalon.
The committee comprises GNS staff as scientists, technicians, IT people and support staff motivated to reduce inefficient and wasteful individual and business practices in the company, across the 3 sites and to increase awareness among staff of the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling.
As of Monday the 1st September, GNS is now part of the Greater Wellington Regional Council's "Let's Carpool" system.
The Sustainability Committee organised an All Staff Morning Tea to which over 100 people attended to learn a little more about how carpooling works and a little more about sustainability at GNS in general.
It was a huge success and following the initial carpooling survey we sent out a couple of weeks ago, we will do another every 12 or so months to gauge improvement in staff travel patterns.
As of October 2008, the group now has official recognition from the CEO. This means the group will now report to the CEO and as per this agreement, the group now holds regualr meeting, which are minuted and recorded. Action items are delt out, actioned and reported on.
The group has split into three sub-groups on the classic topics of watse, energy and transport in the context of GNS. The waste-group met in early November and performed a week-long waste-audit by manually going through the waste as collected by the cleaners from office bins.
Predictably enough, the main constituent was organic and compostable waste, including a mass of paper towels. We are now discussing suitable solutions for the collection and proper disposal of this category of our waste.
[27/02/2008] The GNS Conference was at Trentham Racecourse, Upper Hutt, where we held 2 workshops entitled: "Environmental Responsibility: Can GNS Science become genuinely sustainable?"
Attendees were treated to an intro by Jennifer Evans of Landcare Research. Landcare share a building with GNS Dunedin and run the CarboNZero program and as building owners, GNS have to join in! Attendees were broken into 3 groups and given a topic: Travel, Energy or Waste.
Groups discussed topics but importantly, and the crux was this; What barriers exist to implementing our ideas? 2 main ones stuck out: Our not having staff with purchasing or decision-making powers able to help when needed. We do have such staff but helping the group just isn't a priority. The 2nd issue was lack of data. If we don't know the waste volumes diverted from landfill or flights not taken as a result of the Video Conferencing System, no-one, especially management, are likely to be convinced as to the groups effectiveness.