Te Puke-based post-harvest operator Trevelyan's Pack and Cool has become one of the first privately owned businesses in New Zealand to publicly analyse its performance under the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), says executive director Alister Hawkey.

Trevelyan's has just released its first sustainability report, based on the current fourth generation (G4) of GRI, the world's leading international framework for corporate responsibility reporting.

Mr Hawkey said the company introduced sustainability into Trevelyan's business in 2011.

Trevelyan's is committed to sustainability, including electric forklifts, fuel-efficient cars and recycling.
Trevelyan's is committed to sustainability, including electric forklifts, fuel-efficient cars and recycling.

"Our aim was to operate our business more responsibly by considering economic, social and environmental factors in our operation," he said. "As a result, we're now a more efficient and resilient business. And we have all enjoyed a culture change and a greater level of workplace satisfaction."

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The report provides a comprehensive overview of the packing and cool storage company and its supply chain. It outlines what economic, social and environmental improvements have been made in 2014, and sets benchmarks from which Trevelyan's will measure itself annually.

Mr Hawkey said sustainability was business as normal now, and had resulted in big economic savings as well improving the company's overall culture.

Trevelyan's sustainability co-ordinator Rachel Brodie said the report had been distributed to the company's growers, staff, business partners and industry organisations. External assurance had not been formally conducted, but the company had engaged a stakeholder panel to review the report and provide feedback.

"It allows our growers and business partners to get to know us better and, from our staff's point of view, it's useful for them to understand more about our company beyond the areas they specifically work in," she said. "This report will open doors outside of our own business and stimulate further action and innovation."

Sustainable Business Network chief executive Rachel Brown said New Zealand companies usually took part in GRI as part of a global reporting requirement to meet head office requirements from offshore. International corporations such as Toyota and Johnson & Johnson produced such reports, but only a handful of New Zealand businesses had made the commitment, she said.

"So for a privately owned business to be investing in this process simply because they see it as valuable is clever strategically, and highly commendable," said Ms Brown.

"We have been working with the team from Trevelyan's for years now, they are very active, but this shows a huge commitment (of time and action) and I'm looking forward to seeing their annual progress."

The report is a first for the kiwifruit industry and Zespri chief executive Lain Jaeger said the initiative underlined the importance of sustainability to the kiwifruit industry as a whole.