Carolyn Bennett

Sustainability Manager

Carolyn Bennett Time in role
Since Oct 2018. In current role since February 2020.

Previous position
National Events and Marketing Manager for New Zealand Young Farmers, overseeing the FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest.

What does your role involve?
As project lead for sustainability, I ensure community-minded practice and social responsibility across the port. It's a new role for me and I think it answers any question about opportunities to grow at Port Otago.

What does "sustainability" actually mean for a port company?
It's a lot more than the environment. There are essentially three key aspects: people, planet and prosperity. Each requires the other, if the business is to be sustainable. Basically, the port must balance meeting the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

What is Port Otago doing with regard to sustainability?
The reality is that we cannot influence ships and their outputs, but we can influence "gate to ship" – that is, from the time the product comes through our gate, until it is placed onto the vessel or vice versa.
We are working with an expert to identify the key issues that impact on the sustainability of our business. The first phase of that work involved interviewing key Port Otago stakeholders to learn their views on sustainability and what's important to them.
Our "Project Footprint" covers the breadth of sustainability across the company. We are relatively new to this space and our start point is measuring and collecting data, so we can understand our carbon footprint, energy usage, waste and recycling. This is not a quick process, but we need to properly understand which changes will deliver real benefits – for people, plant and prosperity.
The port is also very active within its immediate community and this falls under sustainability. Ports are large noisy operations, so it's important we are considerate of our neighbours and support relevant community activities where we can, such as Te Rauone Beach and Swim School sponsorship.

What are overseas' ports doing about sustainability?
Other ports around world are working on this, so it's important we share ideas and learn from one another.
As you might expect, questions about sustainability generally come from our customers with overseas' markets and our shipping partners.

What do you most enjoy about your job?
The people at Port Otago. There's such a broad range of people doing different jobs, yet we can come together for a common purpose, like last year's Open Day for the local community. Alongside the immediate Port Chalmers community engagement, it was brilliant seeing our own staff show off their place of work to their families.