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Dr Sara Walton - Otago Business School“Many New Zealand businesses are already taking small quiet steps to measure their carbon footprint and think about energy use.”

Energy efficiency is going to be a crucial part of doing business in the future, but the Otago Business School has found many of New Zealand's small to medium enterprises are already making savings.

Energy and sustainability are big global issues of the future, and therefore an important component of business management. The Otago Business School is leading the way in helping organisations face the challenges to become more sustainable.

It is researching energy practices that will help to future proof New Zealand business. At the same time, it offers study courses that are helping third and fourth year management students and those in the MBA and social entrepreneurial programmes become future leaders in sustainability.

Our research

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is funding a four-year programme of energy efficiency in business, transport and households.

As part of this, Otago Business School Senior Lecturer in Management Sara Walton is investigating the energy efficiency of New Zealand's small to medium enterprises (SME)'s. In particular, she is looking at what are they doing right, and what more can be achieved.

A one-year pilot study in the business sector has produced a valuable snapshot of New Zealand SME's energy management. Although she has found there are tough challenges ahead for today's businesses in energy use and waste management, Dr Walton also uncovered many New Zealand businesses already taking small steps to measure their carbon footprint and think about energy use.

Some energy conscious SME's are aware of the need to reduce fuel and electricity consumption to reduce their energy costs. Some are monitoring what they use, some have invested in technology to manage energy consumption, and others are investigating their energy saving options.

However, the study indicated contradictions between businesses already being energy conscious but also energy not being a major cost of production. They are now exploring these findings further.

The future

The approach now is to help other businesses learn from these SME's, and develop strategies and resources that would guide energy efficiency throughout the business community. This will help reduce operational costs for individual companies, manage energy requirements on a national level, and contribute to carbon emission reductions.

Case Study: Classic Jaguars Ltd, Dunedin

Read a case study of how a small Dunedin company is making energy savings and lessen their environmental impact, while also winning business excellence and sustainability awards.

Contact Details

Dr Sara Walton
Department of Management
Otago Business School
Tel. 03 479 5108
Department of Management Staff Profile

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