Yellow Pages goes carbon neutral

Carbon offsetting

yellow pages

Credit: iStockphoto

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Sensis has announced its Yellow and White Pages are now certified carbon neutral through the Australian Government's Greenhouse Friendly Program.

CEO of Telstra's information and advertising arm, Bruce Akhurst, said that, starting this month, the emissions generated through the production, distribution, use and disposal of the print and online directories would be offset through Government accredited providers and projects.

The company also committed to reducing its operational greenhouse gas footprint by five per cent each year.

According to Akhurst, the decision to go carbon neutral will amount to the equivalent of 40,000 cars being taken off the roads each year.

"We think looking after the environment is obviously a very important thing," Akhurst said. "Our people are demanding it, our customers want to see us doing it, the population wants to see us doing it.

"So, we've taken these steps to make sure that people can be assured our products are carbon neutral, and that they can use them into the future with that assurance."

The certification follows an 18-month long independent carbon footprint assessment process, which found the directories are the largest part of Sensis' environmental impact, accounting for some 175,000 tonnes of emissions each year. Operational activities, like air travel, electricity, and the company's fleet, account for about 30,000 tonnes of emissions.

Akhurst said the company had already started to implement a number of initiatives to reduce its footprint, like using video conferencing and switching to more energy efficient cars and computers.

However, Head of Sustainability Jill Riseley said there were no plans to stop or limit the number of printed versions of the directories delivered to Australian households each year. She said the printed directories were an essential tool for small businesses, and that the fact so many Australians still relied on them meant they were still relevant.

More than five million Australians use printed versions of both the Yellow and White pages at least once a week.

"Sensis is the Foundation Partner of Planet Ark's website. Planet Ark applauds Sensis for the range of environmental initiatives they have undertaken over the past decade," said Brad Gray, campaigns manager at Planet Ark. "In that time re-use and recycling rates have increased from 4 per cent to 96 per cent".

"Committing to make the new directories carbon neutral demonstrates Sensis's commitment to the environment and shows they are setting a lead as a responsible corporate citizen," Gray said.

The Sensis committment surpasses that of the Labor Government's national emissions target. "We have the Federal Government committing to five per cent by 2020 And yet Sensis are committing to five per cent on an annual basis. It show what business can do if they put their mind to it," said Jon Dee.

You can opt out of receiving Yellow and White Pages directories by calling 1800 008 292.