1997 Energy-Wise Companies Awards

  • Max Bradford

Beehive Foyer

Tonight we are here to honour some companies who have made a very important contribution to New Zealand.

The top four companies recognised here tonight - Carter Holt Harvey, Mobil Oil New Zealand, Industrial Research Ltd and Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services - have locked in savings of more that $8 million a year.

I would like to say congratulations - and thank you - especially to the four winners, but also to every company who is involved with the Energy wise Company Campaign and who is making an effort in one way or another to save and use energy more efficiently.

It is not only your shareholders who reap the gains of improved energy efficiency. It is also New Zealand and New Zealanders which benefit.

If we are to be an internationally competitive country, we have to look at making ourselves as cost effective as possible. Energy is one of the largest components of any business's costs.

Industry category winner Carter Holt Harvey - New Zealand's second biggest energy purchaser - spends more than $100 million a year on energy. Carter Holt's company-wide initiatives have reduced energy bills by a mind-boggling $7 million a year.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if one of New Zealand's biggest exporters and employers is making efficiency gains of that magnitude, it has got to be good for New Zealand's international competitiveness and good for employment. Not to mention the environment and resources from which that energy was generated.

Carter Holt is a dramatic example because it is so big, but tonight we have also seen how smaller companies can make a contribution.

The small energy users winner Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services of Auckland have reduced their energy bill by $11,000 over two years. It might seem small compared to giants like Carter Holt, but remember that more than 99% of New Zealand businesses are small or medium sized enterprises, and if they all play their part the impact is going to be every bit as significant.

In addition, while smaller companies may not compete internationally, they service companies which do. Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services, for example, service Air New Zealand, BHP NZ Steel, and Cadbury Confectionery - who all compete in the international arena where efficient use of resources is a must.

Energy efficiency measures often take some initial investment - both time and money. The winner of the most improved section - Industrial Research Ltd of Lower Hutt - has over the last three years invested half a million dollars in energy efficiency improvements. In return, this year alone they shaved $204,000 off their annual energy bills. At that rate it will not take long to get good a return on the investment in energy efficiency.

That is one of the challenges we face. To make energy efficient practices and technology the options of choice because they are economically attractive. In a competitive business environment, money talks. All the good environmental intentions in the world won' help if companies don't see a concrete benefit from energy conservation.

The Energy Wise Companies Campaign and the work EECA is doing in a number of other areas, shows that energy conservation and efficiency makes good business sense. It is encouraging to see companies recognising this fact and setting energy conservation goals into the future.

Mobil Oil - winners of the commercial and Services division - is a perfect example with their target of a 25% energy reduction over the next five years. Recently, I had an opportunity to look around the station where Mobil has trialed its remarkably simple and commonsense measures with impressive results - $4000 a year savings per station through basic lighting and air conditioning improvements. The energy-wise station is to be replicated in 80 Mobil stations nationwide, turning $4000 into $320,000 worth of energy savings each year.

ust imagine the impact if every service station, fast food outlet, supermarket and department store in the country achieved a similar goal.

I am thrilled that so many companies - 715 including most of the major energy users - have jointed the Energy Wise Companies Campaign. I would like to thank you all and offer my encouragement for your on-going efforts.

The efficiency with which New Zealand produces and use energy impact directly on our international competitiveness, our economic growth and the quality of the environment.

You are making a big difference. Keep it up.