A group of 63 Microsoft New Zealand employees and contractors recently volunteered in the inaugural Carbon4Good 100 Tonne Challenge, an event organized by the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) to celebrate World Environment Day on 5 June. 

The Challenge is part of the SBN’s Carbon4Good program aimed at offsetting carbon emissions by planting native New Zealand trees. The Carbon4Good program has been running in conjunction with SBN’s GreenFleet Program since 2001, and has planted around 130,000 trees.

Designed to make it easy for businesses to celebrate World Environment Day in a meaningful and tangible way, the original target of the Carbon4Good 100 Tonne Challenge was to plant 667 trees in order to offset 100 tons of carbon dioxide.

With the combined efforts of 135 volunteers from Microsoft, Fulton Hogan and Vodafone, a total of 4,800 trees were planted — far surpassing the expectations that were set before the event. The tree planting activities took place on some of the most inspiring native tree restoration sites across New Zealand.

The SBN represents more than 550 organizations in New Zealand, and is focused on promoting sustainable business practices through networking, practical advice as well as resource and tool development. Mark Roberts, Program Manager at SBN, was greatly impressed by the fact that the volunteers have already managed to far exceed
their original target in only the first staging of the Challenge.

Expressing his gratitude for the joint efforts of the volunteers, Mr Roberts said, “We’re delighted that 4,800 trees were planted across four sites in Auckland and Wellington. Some great businesses got behind this initiative and really made it fly. A big round of applause to Microsoft, Fulton Hogan and Vodafone, who provided a combined 135 staff members the opportunity to get involved.”

Given the resounding success of the 2012 Challenge, SBN is looking to raise the stakes next year and see how the individual actions, such as those taken by the people involved in this year’s tree planting, can become a collective force for positive change in 2013.

Duncan Reid, Enterprise Strategy Practice Lead, Microsoft New Zealand, said, “It felt really great to have the opportunity to play our part in addressing the environmental issues we face. We are pleased with what we have been able to achieve this year, and we look forward to joining forces with SBN again next year.”