Bayfair first shopping centre to win most Sustainable Award

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Business News speaks to Bayfair Shopping Centre manager, Steve Ellingford, about their pioneering win in securing a national sustainability award.

Well-known local Tauranga shopping, dining, and entertainment hub Bayfair Shopping Centre has been certified with a 4 Star Green Star Performance rating by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC).

Steve Ellingford

Steve Ellingford, Bayfair Shopping Centre manager, told the Bay of Plenty Business News that retail in the area had not been standing still. “It’s growing with the city,” he added.

In a statement, he added that shopping centres were vital touchpoints for the local community so it was a great opportunity to show shoppers how sustainability could be done and raise awareness of its benefits.

“We know sustainability is important to our shoppers and we are pleased to be able to demonstrate our performance by benchmarking our energy and water efficiency along with many other key initiatives,” he said.

Ellingford, whose own background includes completing an adult apprenticeship in carpentry, has been with the centre for more than 20 years, including the past 13 as the centre manager.

Reflecting on changes, he told the Bay of Plenty Business News that one of the biggest changes he had seen had been the increase in compliance.

“There’s a lot more involved these days,” he said.

International rating

The internationally recognised sustainability rating system was introduced to New Zealand in 2007.

More than 250 new building projects have gained Green Star certification. But Bayfair is the first shopping centre in the country to achieve the coveted 4-star rating for its sustainable operation, signifying best practice, according to Bayfair Shopping Centre co-owners Australasia’s Dexus Wholesale Shopping Centre Fund, and Fisher Funds.

According to Dexus, the group has a $17.4 billion real estate development pipeline and had a sustainability aspiration to unlock the potential of real estate assets to create a lasting positive impact and a more sustainable tomorrow. Dexus added that it managed an Australasian real estate and infrastructure portfolio valued at $61 billion (pro forma post final completion of the AMP capital acquisition).

Dexus Head of Sustainability, Ramana James said: “Our sustainability aspiration is to unlock the potential of real assets to create lasting positive impact and a more
sustainable tomorrow.”

Ongoing initiatives

The success of Bayfair Shopping Centre’s latest rating recognised ongoing management initiatives at Bayfair, including: an accredited Environmental Management System plan, procuring non-hazardous cleaning products, conducting regular procurement audits of contractors and raising staff awareness of the sustainable procurement policy through training sessions.

“It was great working with Bayfair Shopping Centre team on their successful rating and seeing the amazing sustainability initiatives underway,” said Bobby Shen, NZGBC’s business development manager – existing buildings.

“Our independent third-party assessors were impressed by the submission and the work put into this building to lessen its environmental impact,” he said.

“The Green Star Performance framework provides managers with a certified benchmark to verify the impact of their initiatives and assess how they can improve the experience for customers, visitors and staff,” added Shen.

“A huge congratulations to all involved, it’s a fantastic achievement.”

Reducing environmental impact

According to a statement put out with the award, Bayfair’s management has been innovative in ways to reduce the centre’s environmental impact.

Their initiatives include encouraging alternative transport through coordinating ridesharing, EV charging, access to bike end-of-trip facilities and sponsoring and supporting the ‘Wednesday Challenge’ – a point-based system encouraging and rewarding people for ditching their cars in favour of other means of transport.

The 440-seat food court demonstrated best practice with what the award described as a unique operation to manage and divert waste from landfill.

There are no customer waste bins in the food court and instead, the food court team collects and sorts 100 percent of the customer waste generated. This helped divert waste from landfill and reduced recycling contamination, further increasing the diversion rate to 56 percent, according to the award.

Related: Late 2023 date firm for Baypark-Bayfair link opening

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