Bringing corporate sustainability back to grass rootsIndustrial testing and monitoring company, SGS, believes sustainability works best when employees get involved in local activity. The global organisation has put this philosophy into action by supporting Project Kiwi Trust, a community initiated kiwi conservation project on the Coromandel's Kuaotunu Peninsula.
In addition to the financial support SGS provides as a gold level sponsor, staff from the company's Waihi laboratory enjoy hands-on volunteer work for Project Kiwi Trust. The Trust works to protect Coromandel North Island Brown Kiwi by trapping predators and lifting eggs to hatch and rear chicks in captivity until they are big enough to defend themselves against mustelids (weasels, stoats and ferrets).
While SGS expertise is used to sample and test Kuaotunu stream-water, staff and their families have taken on core conservation tasks such as transporting kiwi chicks for return, helping with beach clean ups, track building and assisting with nocturnal kiwi-call surveys. Their enthusiastic participation is welcomed by Project Kiwi Trust's resident project manager Paula Williams.
"A lot of kiwi conservation work is undertaken by volunteers. We've been very successful over the 14 years we've been operating and the knowledge we've gained about predator control and helping kiwi chicks thrive is being transferred to other conservation projects around New Zealand. Our volunteers are vital components of the continued success of the operation-we simply couldn't do it without them."
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SGS New Zealand managing director Peter Hart says he is delighted, but not surprised, that his team has taken Project Kiwi Trust under their wings.
"Protecting kiwi where we live and work is something we feel passionate about. We wanted to support a uniquely New Zealand initiative that our people could get involved with personally. Project Kiwi Trust allows us to do this and get out as a team into the beautiful New Zealand environment. It's a great fit with the principles at the heart of our corporate sustainability programme-people, environment and community."
At the conclusion of the 2009 nesting season Project Kiwi Trust had returned its 70th kiwi through the captive rearing programme to the Kuaotunu Peninsula. Eight eggs have already been delivered to Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua this season for hatching and rearing. This method, in conjunction with pest and predator control, is an effective method of building kiwi abundance.