Its sustainability initiatives have been years in the making but the hard work has paid off for Kiwi design practice Isthmus, whose Tauranga office recently received a top award as part of the Bay of Plenty Sustainable Business Network Awards.
The company, who specialises in landscape architecture, urban design and landscape planning, picked up the Emerging Small and Medium Business Award, with judges impressed by the company’s commitment to design excellence, and their value driven approach to sustainable practices and their sustainability journey.
“They have identified the influence their business and designs can have in terms of social and environmental impacts and have incorporated this into sustainability strategy with innovative results,” said the judges.
Among the company’s social responsibility good deeds is the introduction of a mid-winter annual leave day in order to celebrate Matariki. There’s also the Isthmus Environment Fund whereby staff can apply for funding for environmental projects in the areas that they live and work.
Elsewhere the company has carried out energy audits and it only works on renewable energy projects, including the wind farms, geothermal power stations, and hydro energy generation projects.
From a wider community perspective, the company has worked with local community boards, environmental groups, and tangata whenua on projects such as the Gate Pa Reserve Concept Plan, and the Motuopuhi (Rat) Island Community Guide and Master Plan to encourage interaction between the Tauranga City Council, local iwi, and services groups (such as the Tauranga Table) on the cultural and ecological restoration of important areas within the city. The facilitation and graphic presentation of these projects often promotes the involvement of a range of business, NGO's and council departments in new projects.
“True sustainability isn't split into environmental, social and financial outcomes,” said Brad Coombs, landscape architect and director of Isthmus Tauranga. “The three bottom lines moulded into one ensure that our staff, clients, communities and places are healthy and happy.”