A holistic approach to sustainability

A holistic approach to sustainability

By Carol O'Sullivan, Powerco Corporate Sustainability Manager

 

Today is Earth Day – a chance to reflect on the progress we’ve made to protect our environment and more importantly, the mahi we still need to do.

As one of the largest electricity and gas distributors in Aotearoa, we’re committed to a range of sustainable practices as we keep the lights on and the gas flowing for our communities. To be a truly sustainable company, we know we need to take a holistic approach when installing, maintaining and disposing of our assets, and to always consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of our decisions.

That’s why in December we published Sustainability at Powerco. Based on our five sustainability pou/pillars, it outlines our sustainability successes so far, as well as our goals and targets for the next five years and beyond. It’s our plan of action, our commitment to do better.

When it comes to sustainability, we believe ‘social’ sustainability goals, such as keeping our people and communities engaged, safe and well, are just as important as our environment goals such as setting a net zero target and developing a climate change asset adaptation strategy.

But what does a social sustainability goal look like? For Powerco, it’s

  • Giving employees access to flexible working practices

Work/life balance is our most popular employee benefit, with over 90% of our employees making use of flexible working arrangements. They can also apply for lifestyle leave to get additional time off. We believe this creates a supportive, inclusive culture, helps with staff retention and attracts talent – becoming a lever for ongoing success and innovation.

  • Increasing awareness of health and safety

Robust health and safety practices are vital, especially in the energy sector. But at Powerco, we want to shift away from focusing on reporting incidents that went wrong to instead focus on what makes things work well. Understanding this will help improve our team’s ability to succeed under varying conditions – which will only be more important in a changing environment, helping us be future-ready.

  • Seeking community input for the planning and design of major projects

Knowing what matters to the communities we serve means we can build the right solution the first-time round that meets their needs. It’s a cost-effective, sustainable and future-proof solution.

We would love to hear what you think about our approach – take a look at Sustainability at Powerco and let us know your thoughts.

Is social sustainability something your workplace is doing?