School Visit August 2009


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Visit to Epsom Normal Primary School. When we arrived we visited SKM

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  • Welcome and Introductions. In Sinclair Knight Merz committed to a 30% per capita reduction in carbon emissions over the next three years. For a large, global company like SKM this represents an enormous challenge. Many would consider it an example of unnecessary, self-inflicted business pain. Certainly it is significantly over and above the commitments made by many private, public or governmental organisations of note; we readily acknowledge it as a stretch target. So why make such a commitment? And how do we hope to get close to achieving this figure?
  • We are undergoing a Change. For example, investing in high quality, desktop video conferencing infrastructure promises a significant reduction in our air miles and hence our carbon footprint, but for us it also means an additional $1million annual investment in network bandwidth. As usage rates continue to pick up, so will our necessary investment. We are also about to relocate our Brisbane operation to an office with a 5 star-rated green fit-out, as well as finding other ways to improve the environmental impact of our other office accommodation.
  • At SKM we believe we have a professional and moral obligation to make a real difference through our work with clients as well as “walking the talk” ourselves. Our clients and our communities need our help, and as a leading engineering, sciences and project delivery firm, we are in a powerful position to respond, with appropriate skills and an ability to foster innovation.
  • The New Zealand Curriculum is designed to ensure that all young New Zealanders are equipped with the knowledge, competencies, and values they will need to be successful citizens in the 21st century. Their learning is intended to contribute to the realisation of a vision of young people who will be confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners. A key element is a future-focus on sustainability: So What is Sustainability? How do you define Sustainability?
  • Why is it important to work with schools? Take a look at the doc - Sustainability is mentioned under Under Values in the overview graphic In Future Focus on the Principles page Specifically as ecological sustainability in the Values page In the Key Competencies in Participating and Contributing: “sustainability of social, cultural, physical, and economic environments.” Why Teach Science in the Science Learning “use scientific knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about the communication, application, and implications of science as these relate to their own lives and cultures and to the sustainability of the environment.” Under the Nature of Science “The emphasis is on the biology of New Zealand, including the sustainability of New Zealand’s unique fauna and flora and distinctive ecosystems.” also “Using their knowledge of chemistry, they are better able to understand science-related challenges, such as environmental sustainability and the development of new materials, pharmaceuticals, and sources of energy.” “The achievement objectives in the context strands provide for strand-based specialisations, but a wider range of programmes is possible; for example, schools may offer programmes in biochemistry, education for sustainability, agriculture, horticulture, human biology, or electronics.” In Social Sciences “engage critically with societal issues; and evaluate the sustainability of alternative social, economic, political, and environmental practices.” The School Curriculum – Design and Review – Future Focus: “sustainability – exploring the long-term impact of social, cultural, scientific, technological, economic, or political”
  • Sustainability involves a holistic exploration of the long-term impact of social, cultural, scientific, technological, economic, or political practices on society and the environment. There is no one silver bullet to prevent irreparable damage. But SKM wants to make a positive and enduring impact on the world. We realise too that the new recruits emerging from universities are those who will want to align their wider values with the company they work with. We also know that we need to walk the talk, support deeper understandings, both for those who work within our company, for those who are our new recruits. In order to do this we need to support educational initiatives and we can do this by supporting our primary schools in developing and educating with these understandings. Sustainability goes beyond the Environmental confines. Note from us… This certainly made us reflect on the narrowness of our previous understandings. As Bob so succinctly put it on Saturday morning. This is about Sustaining Civilisation itself! A passion was aroused…
  • Replacing fossil fuels is not difficult, but doing it quickly is.
  • Since 1800 our primary energy mix has changed every 100 years or so, from wood, to coal and wood, and today a mix of petroleum, nuclear, hydro and solar. And the question of all professional services is: How can we help our people, our clients and our planet meet that challenge?
  • The benefits of strong, early action on climate change far outweigh the costs of not acting. There’s no question in our minds that tackling climate change is a pro-growth strategy. Ignoring it will ultimately undermine economic growth.
  • It was for these reasons that SKM joined the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change as a signatory to a communiqué dispatched in advance of the UN Climate Change Conference and in support of the urgent need to develop new and longer-term policies for tackling this issue of Sustainability.
  • Over the past 18 months we have spent significant effort measuring our own impacts, and we have now set our reduction goal as part of a comprehensive greenhouse gas abatement program. Reductions are our primary objective, rather than carbon offsets. We know there are significant improvement opportunities with regard to our buildings, business travel, IT and video conferencing infrastructure. Realising these opportunities will require a combination of capital and operational expenditure, and voluntary behaviour change. This is the necessary “pain” that must be endured for long term gain.
  • Andrew was unable to attend so Jared filled in for him. A late minute call that morning at 7.30am
  • Most countries except North Korea live in a capitalistic economy. Tax income. Old thinking as money was the importance impacting factor. New thinking – Heavily tax the goods that have a negative impact on our sustainable economy. i.e. those which are not recyclable.
  • IMPACT – Product * Affluence * Technology Bob / Mel – Please alter the equation… Is this right????
  • The chairs were great. Could alter the height of the arms… For more info -
  • Tax on the basis of impact.
  • Shelley then gave us the school’s perspective. She referred to the planning provided in the booklet.
  • Incorporating SOLO as a Self Assessment Strategy
  • It was adaptable to meet the specific leanring needs and interested of both teachers and students.
  • Next Chapter – A visit to some of the classrooms
  • School Visit August 2009

    1. 1. Hi I’m Sarah, A Coastal Engineer Hi I’m Keg, a Geologist Hi I’m Paul, married to Shelley, DP at ENPS Hi I’m Jared, sitting in for the transport engineer. Hi I’m Kirk, Mechanical Engineer Hi I’m Shelley, DP at Epsom normal Primary School
    2. 2. SKM <ul><li>Our commitment Sustainability is now central to everything we do. And we believe the greatest impact we can make is in the delivery of sustainability principles through major projects around the world. We work on a diverse range of projects across a variety of industries, yet in all of these projects we aim for outcomes that consider the economic, social and environmental impacts of both our work and our corporate footprint. And we are prepared to 'walk the talk', alongside our clients and our people. Regarding our own footprint, we now have a plan to cut SKM's carbon emissions by 30 per cent per capita over the next three years. This is an ambitious plan, and one that will not only challenge our daily practices but encourage us to continue to think innovatively about our own future. </li></ul>
    3. 3. So where do we fit? Please check out the notes below… Our corporate purpose is to deliver a positive and enduring impact on the world. See notes..
    4. 6. Ultimately, everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change and the serious problems facing our planet – especially those of us in developed countries, so we can demonstrate a more sustainable lifestyle by example, rather than unfairly criticising developing countries for increasing emissions.
    5. 26. Unable to attend – Jared joined us instead.
    6. 36. Hi I’m Kirk, a mechanical engineer with SKM. I left Bombay 10 years ago.
    7. 54. Come Visit the Classrooms..