Environmental improvement is a continual journey, according to organisations committed to sustainability. "It has no end point," says Michael Wentworth of Yealands, the world's first carbon neutral winery from the get-go.
The Marlborough-based winery uses the carboNZero tools and audits to drive down emissions and as a marketing tool. For Wentworth, it adds a vital third party endorsement. "It's backing up the claims that we were making and our focus on sustainability," he adds.
"We put carboNZero on our labels and on front of our packaging; it's what we stand for and what we are about."
The scheme formally audits business carbon footprint annually, down to the level of supplier invoices and their own emissions. Any resulting CO2 is countered by buying carbon credits and in Yealands' case that means New Zealand-sourced offsets.
Wentworth also points out that sustainability is a continual process; "Regardless of how sustainable we were at the outset, we have to keep going, to demonstrate over time that we are reducing impact and we liked that."
The business uses vine prunings to make energy, along with solar and wind power, and turns 40,000 tonnes of waste into compost.
CarboNZero is one of four schemes run by Enviro-Mark, which is wholly owned by the Government's Landcare Research agency. "It is a management system kind of way of thinking of the world," says William Van Ausdal of Enviro-Mark. "There's always room for improvement. We're giving an organisation tools to continually improve."
Enviro-Mark certification is a third party verified environmental management system, based on continual improvement. While it has been running here for over 10 years, the kid brother focusing purely on energy, Energy-Mark, is only six months old. So results from the first users are due towards the end of the year.
CarboNZero certification provides a third party verified carbon neutral claim based on annual measurement, reduction and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. "CEMARS is same standard except with carboNZero, you take the extra step to offset," says Van Ausdal.
That can be a step too far for some. Auckland Museum subscribes to CEMARS audits as a central plank of their sustainability effort, but don't go as far as purchasing offsets from the public purse.
The museum aims to be among the most sustainable in the world and has more than halved their carbon footprint over the last five years, using audits and support provided by the scheme.
"The first year is a benchmark year," explains John Glen, head of building & building infrastructure. "You don't know what your carbon footprint is. So we measured it and our aim was for a 5% to 6% reduction in the first year [of savings]. As it worked out that reduction was 12%."
"CEMARS provides the carbon emissions monitoring and documentation," he says. "And motivation."
First off the block was efficiency improvements to the air conditioning, which is energy intensive and operates 24/7. This has driven the largest reductions, but LED lighting has been added.
"There's not too much else we can do with electrical devices," claims Glen. Last year the museum added solar panels to reduce CO2 and lighten power bills.
"The primary focus has been energy, but we do recycling as well. We have reduced waste to landfill by over 65%," Glen says.
He also points out that there is a large enough user group to provide mutual support and encouragement. "Enviro-Mark has a very good networking organisation with others. It's good to hear what they are doing and share experiences. We have built up a network that wouldn't have been there in the past."
Not everyone can nip down the road to meet up with fellow carbon neutralisers. Antarctica New Zealand, which runs Scott Base, has been working with Enviro-Mark for several years. Wind turbines to replace diesel generation has been a well-publicised initiative, but the base also uses ozone to disinfect waste.
The Landcare Research web site lists 48 tools and programmes from household to the chemical industry, forestry to small business and more. Some are free to use although, as John Glen of Auckland Museum points to a $400,000 saving to the bottom line, rewards can be sustainable for the business as well as the planet.
"In a business environment talk is about ROI but when surveyed, clients are doing it for the moral imperative; it feeds into that long term commitment," adds Van Ausdal.
So as you commit to sipping your 'Sav', you could be helping to deliver a sustainable promise.