Arveen is making sustainability a way of life at Arvida
Arveen Horsefield is in charge of sustainability at Arvida. She’s going to help us shrink our carbon footprint and make future-friendly decisions about our business. It’s the first time we’ve had someone dedicated to sustainability, so we’re excited about the positive impact Arveen can make.
Q. What’s the full definition of sustainability?
For many people, sustainability means taking better care of the natural environment. However its true definition is much broader. Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability has three pillars – environment, economy and society. All three have to be in sync to ensure a viable future for our planet.
Q. Why does there need to be more focus on sustainability?
For me, climate change is the most urgent reason. We’ve seen some of the effects already in New Zealand, with flooding, droughts and extreme weather. But the biggest impact is happening in communities we don’t see every day. For example, farmers across the world are experiencing severe drought and significant flooding – it can mean their food for the year can disappear with one event. To lessen the impacts of climate change we all have to shrink our carbon footprints, which means lowering CO2 emissions.
Q. Where were you working before Arvida?
I was at Countdown. There are similarities between Countdown and Arvida. Both businesses have multiple sites across the country and store managers have a role similar to village managers. Like supermarkets, retirement communities use a lot of energy and have to keep their customers happy. Before Countdown I was with Deloitte, where I was involved with auditing carbon emissions and checking and assuring sustainability reports.
I’m originally from the UK, where I studied a law and then became an accountant. More recently I’ve been studying for a post-graduate diploma in environment management.
Q. What’s your mission at Arvida?
My mission is to make Arvida as sustainable as possible. We’ve started by measuring our operational emissions through the electricity, gas and fuel we use. Electricity accounts for about 35% of our emissions, while gas and LPG accounts for around 40%. So we’re looking for more sustainable ways to get hot water to our buildings. Instead of gas boilers, we’re looking at solutions like heat pumps. We’re also exploring solar for some of our sites, particularly care centres.
I’ll also be looking at Arvida communities that have comparatively high energy usage. By understanding why, we can identify whether changing some specific equipment could make a difference.
But we will be focusing on attitude first. Raising the profile of our sustainability goals across the business, and putting in place initiatives that raise awareness within our communities.
Q. What’s the easiest fix you’ve found so far?
Switching all Arvida’s lighting to LED (light emitting diodes) is a relatively easy thing to do that will have a big impact on our energy use and save us money. This will be a gradual process, as we identify the best fittings and bulbs for the job.