TOMMY’S REAL ESTATE is going even greener for its latest community campaign.

The agency’s signature green colours are as synonymous with Wellington as Te Papa and Cuba Street.

But with the launch of its Trees That Count campaign, they’re about to shine brighter than ever.

“Whether you request an appraisal, or buy or sell a home through the Tommy’s City office, we’ll plant a native tree on your behalf to make a positive impact on the environment,” Tommy’s marketing manager, Henry Bong says.

Through their partnership with environmental charity Trees That Count, Tommy’s City office is supporting two local community groups: Whareroa Guardians and The Makaracarpas.

The former is restoring native forest on land near Paekākāriki; the latter is coordinating landowners to restore the entire catchment of the Makara and Ohariu Streams. 

“They have got nearly every landowner in the area engaged and participating in the project,” Henry says. “It’s pretty amazing what they have achieved.

“Each gift recipient will get an email when we assign their tree to one of these projects – with a link so they can read about the group and their planting project.”

“We’re so excited to see Tommy’s—and their clients—get on board with backing local plantings. There are many potential positive impacts for the communities’ involved, including cleaner waterways and reduced erosion,” says Melanie Seyfort, Trees That Count Partnerships Manager.

Trees That Count continues Tommy’s commitment to local charities and non-profit groups, from donating more than $150,000 to Wellington Free Ambulance and supporting Wellington Free Mission with food donations annually to staging an annual charity golf day that’s raised tens of thousands of dollars for Wellington Children Hospital and Given For You charity, and last year launching a Local Heroes campaign that recognises and award the hard work of community volunteers.

Tommy’s has dubbed its native tree planting initiative as “backing New Zealand’s big backyard” and says it will mitigate their CO2 footprint and protect NZ’s biodiversity.

“It will help to build more habitats for endangered species and stronger ecosystems that are more resilient to threats and diseases,” Henry says.

“And it will also improve our air quality. Research shows kids who spend more time with nature are less likely to develop asthma.

“We want to leave future generations a legacy we can all be proud of.”

He adds the native tree planting also will benefit NZ’s economy.

“Our beautiful landscapes and native forests are a critical part of our clean and green image.

“And more tree planting means more jobs and helping to keep our local nurseries busy and thriving.”

Trees That Count isn’t Tommy’s first foray into furthering our flora and fauna.

“We started going ‘green’ and looking into being more sustainable in our business practice about three years ago,” Henry says. “We wanted to give deeper meaning to our green branding, and what better way than starting with a positive environmental impact?”

Long before plastic shopping bags were banned, Tommy’s gave away 35,000 reusable bags.

“You still see Wellingtonians carrying them around the city and at markets,” Henry says.

“Being green is something Wellington stands for and something Wellingtonians have always identified with.

“As the Wellington market leader, we want to take the lead in being sustainable in our practice. We want to be a biodiversity champion.”

Five years ago, Tommy’s City office entered a partnership with FUJIFILM Business Innovation (FBNZ) as their industry print partner. Through FBNZ’s industry first Minister for the Environment accredited product stewardship scheme, “we have diverted over 100 kilograms of Tommy’s waste toner cartridges from landfill,” Henry says. With a focus on circular economy, Tommy’s toner has been repurposed in products like TonerPave™, a low carbon asphalt substitute, and now FBNZ’s new recycling partner is working on a really exciting product called Vitaket. Vitaket is made from waste toner and cartridges and is used as an alternative to carbon in the steel making process. 

“As one of our earlier customers to adopt our recycling programme in their daily practices Tommy’s have demonstrated leadership and enthusiasm in supporting a circular economy. Because of customers like Tommy’s we are able to divert over 700 tonnes of FBNZ product from landfill annuallyEmma Harding, FBNZ.

Another initiative in the works is a partnership with Predator Free Wellington that would reuse Tommy’s fluted plastic, or coreflute signs, to help track rats and species that destroy natural habitats and kill native birds. This supports the phase 2 project of Predator Free Wellington, Island Bay to CBD eradication.

“Like other real estate agencies, we’ve traditionally used coreflute for our open home signs,” Henry says.

That’s because they contain polypropylene copolymer with UV stabilisers that make them durable in all weather.

“But they’re bad for the environment and can’t be recycled,” Henry says.

“So we’re starting to phase them out for alternatives in the city office, like reuseable metal signs that we can put stickers on to advertise open homes so we can reduce the use of coreflutes.”

“In the meantime, we’re looking to work with Predator Free to create ‘chew cards’ and tunnels from coreflute that are attractive to predators and help to identify and trap them.

“Predator Free Wellington will cut down the coreflute, pump it full of peanut butter and send the completed cards to more than 2,500 Wellington households so they can monitor for rats in their backyard – it’s about trying to divert waste and use it for conservation.“

Similarly, last year Tommy’s City and some of its franchise offices have switched electricity providers.

“We switched to Meridian Energy,” Henry says. “We’re proud to be Meridian Energy customers, knowing our electricity comes from a 100% renewable energy generator, generated from wind, water, and sun.”

“Our aim is to be as sustainable as possible, and you have to start somewhere.”

Published on: The Dominion Post 

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