IAG leads from the front and reduces its carbon footprint
Insurance companies are at the forefront of the climate change conversation, as their customers are increasingly affected by its effects. IAG recognised that change is needed on a massive, grassroots scale to limit global warming and maverick weather events, so it decided to lead from the front and reduce its carbon footprint. In 2012 it became a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Sustainable Insurance.
“Environmental sustainability has been a policy across IAG internationally for several years now”, says IAG’s National Property and Administration Manager Tim Griffith. “So here in New Zealand we’ve been embedding energy efficiency into our infrastructure and work culture.”
The group tenants 100 sites across New Zealand. It has partnered with its landlords to maximise the energy efficiency of its offices and equipment, calling on EECA for advice along the way.
EECA BUSINESS general manager Greg Visser says IAG is a leader in the commercial sector when it comes to energy efficiency. “Companies that are interested in energy efficiency tend to be big energy users - the primary industries, places with a lot of plant. This is essentially a network of office buildings and retail outlets. But IAG recognises the intrinsic benefits of energy efficiency – staff well-being and being a good corporate citizen.”
EECA and IAG now have a Collaboration Agreement which aims to see IAG operating its energy consuming assets in accordance with best industry practice by mid 2016. The company will benchmark its existing energy use, then monitor progress as it makes improvements to its sites.
“We’re also looking to change staff behaviours and develop long-term policies, and keep up the good work with our landlords”, says Tim Griffith.
IAG has worked with developer Newcrest to create its award-winning national office building, the NZI Centre in Auckland, which has a market-leading NABERSNZ rating of 5.5. It also worked closely with developer Goodman Property on IAG’s sustainable new premises in Christchurch.
IAG’s close collaboration with landlords and developers was another reason EECA wanted to partner with the insurers, says Greg Visser. “IAG are tenants in all their buildings, and they have a very proactive dialogue about energy efficiency with their landlords. Those landlords are likely to apply that learning to other properties. So over time, role models like IAG can have a significant impact on the quality and character of commercial buildings.”
Tim Griffith says that energy efficient buildings are better workplaces. “The high proportion of natural light and air make them much more pleasant. Providing energy efficient workplaces is a way of valuing our staff.”
IAG (Insurance Australia Group Ltd) is the parent company of NZI, Lumley, State and AMI (and other insurance brands internationally), and employs around 15,000 people in New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and Vietnam.
IAG tenants all its New Zealand sites – offices, a call centre, data centre, and retail branches.
In 2012, IAG became a founding signatory to a set of voluntary and aspirational global principles, Principles for Sustainable Insurance, which were launched as part of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative.
The NZI Centre in Auckland was developed by Newcrest in 2009 with Jasmax architects. It is the first commercial building in New Zealand to receive 5 Star Green Star NZ – Interiors 2009 pilot rating.
The theme of 'Organisation as a living entity’ provided the direction for the design of the five storey, triangular building.
The design team held engagement sessions with personnel from all levels of the organisation, defining the unique cultures and characteristics of IAG and a detailed assessment of Business Unit requirements including work styles, utilisation of space and amenities. An integrated development approach meant the designers were able to positively influence the base build, and vice versa.
The building is an internally light, airy public display of sustainable business and corporate responsibility reflecting the values of the tenant.