Energy giant makes electric pledge

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A leading energy supplier has become the latest major corporation to join a popular government-supported CSR initiative which seems to be sweeping New Zealand.

The Unison Group confirmed yesterday that it has committed to converting 30 per cent of its corporate vehicles to electric in the next three years as part of the private sector Electric Vehicle (EV) initiative.

The project, co-led by Mercury Energy and Air New Zealand, has so far seen 30 Kiwi companies pledge to go electric. Supported by Westpac, the initiative will see more than 1,450 electric vehicles on New Zealand’s roads within the next three years.

“We see ourselves playing a key leadership role in supporting the uptake of EVs, and converting our own fleet is part of showcasing that commitment,” said Ken Sutherland, chief exec at Unison Group.

"Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly affordable,” he continued. “They cost less than a third of the cost to run, and are cheaper to maintain than cars with combustion engines – all of which make electric vehicles an appealing option for corporate businesses like Unison.”

The business case for electric cars is further strengthened by the fact employeesand jobseekers are increasingly expecting organisations to be environmentally responsible.

Frances Edmonds is the director of environmental programs at HP Canada and works on a global scale to keep the company’s carbon footprint as low as possible – she told HRM that sustainability is fast becoming a must-have for the most desirable recruits.

“If you want to keep the best workers, if you want to attract the best workers coming out of school, if you want to lower your operating costs and you want to stay in business long term, you need to be thinking about these things long-term,” she stressed.

Companies that have made the collective pledge span industries including energy, transport, telecommunications, waste and facilities management, and finance.

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