Biodiversity Initiative a New Zealand First

Biodiversity Initiative with Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari

Profile Group, parent company to APL Window Solutions, proprietor of the Altherm, First and Vantage brands, has strengthened its sustainability programme with a market-leading initiative in biodiversity and conservation. The company has become the first participant in a new biodiversity market, purchasing biodiversity units from Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, in the South Waikato.

The biodiversity market was launched recently by New Zealand carbon management and certification company, Ekos, to raise funds for conservation management through the sale of biodiversity units. Maungatautari’s forested ecological island with its 47km-long predator-proof fence will benefit from Profile Group’s purchase of biodiversity units which will fund conservation management for 83 hectares of the mountain’s 3,363ha reserve for the 2022-25 financial years.

Contrary to carbon credits, biodiversity credits allow for the capture of native and riparian planting, ecology protection and sustainable land management so it can be recognised as an offset which is a big step forward for New Zealand.

Early adopter

Mikayla Plaw, Executive Director of Organisational Development and Sustainability at Profile Group, said that they were delighted to be an early adopter in this new biodiversity market. “This is a fantastic way for us to deliver on our business responsibility and environmental impact reduction goals as well as supporting a truly meaningful local project,” she said.

The biodiversity arrangement is Profile Group’s second initiative in environmental offset schemes and follows Profile Group’s recent move towards carbon-zero status through acquisition of renewable energy certificates from Kawatiri Energy which generates power from the Lake Rochfort hydroelectricity scheme near Westport. Profile Group purchased the renewable energy attributes of Lake Rochfort's 4.2 MW generating capacity in an annually renewable agreement.

Market-based conservation financing

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari CEO, Phil Lyons, said that the organisation had to fundraise every year to reach its annual operating budget, focusing on visitor revenue through education programmes and ecotourism, philanthropy, community grant funding, and corporate, local and central government partnerships. “Now we have an opportunity to raise funds in a market environment from businesses that want to embed biodiversity into their value chains,” Lyons said.

Ekos founder and CEO, Dr Sean Weaver, said he developed the market-based conservation financing mechanism to unlock a new source of private sector money for conservation. “The delivery of the UN sustainable development goals will require US$6.9 trillion in investment annually. It is a mathematical and financial certainty that there is not enough money in philanthropy and taxpayers’ pockets to meet this funding challenge,” Weaver said. A practical and robust structure for market transactions in this space was needed, and the deal with Profile Group was an encouraging proof of concept.

“This conservation financing programme does not put a price on nature. It puts a price on the human labour and technology cost to look after nature,” he said.

Mikayla Plaw said that the ability to purchase biodiversity conservation outcomes off the shelf through a transparent funding instrument was a compact and convenient option for Profile Group in its drive to lighten the company’s environmental footprint. “We are proud to be involved and see this as a long-term arrangement,” she said.