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General

27/07/2017 - General

Z urges business, cross-party support for Climate Act

Z Energy today urged businesses and all political parties to back a recommendation to enshrine carbon reduction targets in law and set carbon budgets to enable clear measurement.

NZ and Paris

NZ need to act to reach its Paris commitments

The New Zealand Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, today released a report recommending the establishment of legislation similar to the UK Climate Act which was passed with cross-party support in 2008 and which has been replicated by multiple countries since.

The proposal contains four elements:

  • Setting emissions targets in legislation

  • Setting clear and measurable carbon budgets for the country

  • Implementation of policy to ensure compliance with carbon budgets

  • Establishing an independent Climate Change Commission to set targets and provide expert advice

Z Chief Executive, Mike Bennetts, said with the New Zealand Government’s commitment to the Paris Accord, it was now vital to build a clear, stable plan that set measurable targets and provided all parties with certainty.

 “As a company whose products account for about eight per cent of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gases, Z backs this proposal and calls for other businesses to also publicly back it.

“Hope is not a strategy. We’ve got a lot of work to do to meet our current commitments, let alone exceed them. Climate change is bigger than business and bigger than politics.

This proposal is a sensible, pragmatic approach which provides an opportunity for all Kiwis – including businesses and politicians - to come together around a clear carbon reduction plan.

Under the UK’s policy settings, over the period 1990 – 2015 the UK’s carbon emissions decreased by 38 per cent. Over the same period New Zealand’s emissions increased by 64 per cent.

Mike said there was a lot in the proposal that followed simple good business practice: replicating international best practice; setting measurable targets; and ensuring accountability against clearly-stated and well-understood commitments.

“In backing this recommendation, I also want to acknowledge the leadership of Generation Zero, which has been advocating for something like this for some time, most recently through its call for a ‘Zero Carbon Act’. Younger people appear supportive of this proposal across the political spectrum and are acknowledging the need for unity in responding to the climate change challenge.

“We should heed this message.”

Jonathan Hill: 04 498 0212

To follow's Z's sustainability journey keep an eye on our our sustainability page.

 

Sustainability

03/07/2017 - Sustainability

Christchurch anti-plastic bag campaign

On International Plastic Bag Free Day, a Canterbury Retailer has introduced a voluntary plastic bag levy to encourage customers to think twice before taking a bag.

At 14 Z service stations during July, customers will be asked if they need a bag and if they'd like to donate 10 cents for each bag to the charity, Sustainable Coastlines, which cleans up New Zealand’s coastlines and waterways.

Canterbury Retailer, Anton Hutton, who operates the 14 Christchurch sites, says as a father of two young children, an initiative to reduce the use of plastic bags felt like the right thing to do.

Anton on clean-up at New Brighton beach

“Single-use plastic bags are having a massive ecological impact on our world. Millions of tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year and we can all make a difference to stop this tide of waste.

“My 14 Z sites alone give out around 52,000 single-use plastic bags to customers every year,” Anton said.

Anton acknowledges the move is a small step towards change but reckons environmental sustainability is about everyone making small changes that together make a difference.

“When we ask for a donation for a plastic bag it starts a discussion. It makes people think about if they really need a bag. And, if they do take one, it goes to a good environmental cause,” Anton said.

Z is using the initiative as a pilot to measure if the move reduces plastic bag usage. The company will then look at how the scheme could be tweaked and rolled out to other Z service stations around the country.

Z Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward, says Z customers nationwide use around two million plastic bags every year.

“We’re committed to working with our customers to contribute to reducing the millions of plastic bags that shoppers around the world use every year,” Gerri said.

 

09/01/2017

Z 'warrior' recycles more than 95% of waste

For the fourth year running, Z’s annual Waste Warriors competition has come to a nail-biting conclusion.

The nationwide competition, designed to help Z service station teams reduce the amount of waste they produce through recycling and composting, has been running since 2013.

This year, the competition took into account not only what percentage of each site’s waste was recycled but also how much landfill waste was produced for every item sold, with Lois Dunwoodie, a site staff member from Z’s Brougham St service station in Christchurch, announced as the overall winner.

Lois’ overall recycling rate was an impressively high 97% over the three months, with 6.5kg of waste for every 1,000 items sold.

Z’s Sustainability Advisor, Judy Ryan, said the competition has gone from strength to strength over the last four years.

“This year, more than a third of our Z service stations across the country took part in the competition, collectively recycling more than 270 tonnes of waste over the three-month long competition.

“Using less and wasting less is just one of our areas of focus in the sustainability space, and it’s been great to see our retailers and site teams really getting into action where it matters most.”

Waste Warriors winner, Lois, said her top tip for success really came down to getting her team mates on board.

“That, and they know that I like to keep them on their toes by checking the rubbish bins each morning to make sure they’re recycling anything and everything they can.”

Securing a close second place in this year’s competition was Kulbinder Singh from Z Grove Rd in Blenheim, who managed an overall recycling rate of 89% with a mere 4.2kg of waste for every 1,000 items sold. 

Rounding out the top five were Steve Campbell (Z Woolston), Annu Patel (Z Northcote) and Kieran Abelen (Z Redwood). Their recycling rates varied from 79% upwards, with all three producing less than 13kg of waste for every 1,000 items sold.

ENDS

For more information on Z’s commitment to a sustainable future, check out http://z.co.nz/about-z/sustainability/

09/08/2016

Remembering Rudolf Diesel: inventor of the diesel engine; biofuels enthusiast

The first diesel engine was created to run on peanut oil, invented by Rudolf Diesel - a man who was worried about the dangers of air pollution and wanted to increase fuel efficiency and shake up the energy industry.

Diesel knew that low oil prices at the time meant biofuels were unlikely to take off in his lifetime, but hoped that within the century they might change the way people used energy.

His engine would prove to be so revolutionary that when he disappeared at sea, some people suspected he’d been assassinated by the Nazis trying to keep his technology secret from the British. Others claimed he was murdered by French spies trying to keep the secret from the Germans.

As a young engineer, Diesel became fascinated by the idea of building a more fuel efficient engine than the internal combustion engines of the time. An early attempt with an ammonia-powered steam engine had exploded during tests, nearly killing him and leaving him with on-going health and eyesight problems.

But he stuck with it and created his pressure-ignited heat engine, adapting the internal combustion engine by using pressure so a spark is no longer needed to ignite the fuel-air mixture. His first diesel engine was fired up on 10 August 1893, fuelled by peanut oil.

Diesel knew renewable fuels would struggle in the petroleum-dominated market, and the engine was modified to run on mineral oil. As the engine grew in popularity, oil companies started making a fuel called ‘diesel’ to run the engine he designed and Diesel’s remarkable engine has been mostly powered on this until the present day. Diesel accepted that reality, but said: "The use of vegetable oils for engine fuel may seem insignificant today. But such oils may become in course of time as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of the present time."

On 29 September 1913, Diesel disappeared while crossing the English Channel. His coat and hat were folded neatly on deck, a cross marked in his diary for the day of his death. His decomposed body was found in the North Sea 10 days later. Although many of his biographers believe it was suicide, conspiracy theories remain that his engine had led to his murder.

But 100 years on, Rudolf Diesel’s dreams for his engine may at last be coming true. With a growing awareness of the harmful effects of fossil fuels on our planet, there’s a strong desire to develop more sustainable fuels to power our existing fleets. With biodiesel, we’re simply delivering Diesel’s solution 126 years later.

10 August is International Biofuels Day, in remembrance of the day Rudolf Diesel fired up his first diesel engine and changed the world.

Find out more about Z’s solution at www.z.co.nz/biod

05/08/2016

Taking action on takeaway cups

The challenge of how to responsibly dispose of single-use coffee cups is something Z has grappled with for a long time, so we’re very pleased to be on the brink of rolling out compostable cups.

We sell over 4.5 million Z Espress takeaway coffees a year, and we knew those cups were all destined for the country’s landfills unless we did something about it.

We encourage our customers to bring a re-usable cup when they can, and we’ve settled on a compostable solution for takeaways, because there’s no nation-wide cup recycling available.

It’s taken quite a bit of trial and error, and we’ve acquired certification from AIB-Vincotte International to ensure we’ve done it right.

The compostable cups will be available at participating Z Espress stations by September and, importantly, we will be collecting them back to ensure both the cups and lids can be effectively composted.

We will have cup collection points at many of our Z Espress stations, but at this stage these will be limited to regions where commercial composting is available. We’ll aim to continue rolling these out as more regions start having commercial composting facilities.

Fundamentally, there’s still a challenge for New Zealanders to recycle waste in a meaningful way. Very many materials simply can’t be recycled here, and many of those that can are sent offshore to be processed, which creates additional emissions impacts.

We believe there’s a real responsibility on businesses and councils, as much as on consumers, to not only find solutions, but to help Kiwis understand what’s recyclable – and why it matters. Our collection bins will be prominently placed at our stores and clearly labelled to make it easy for our customers to ‘do the right thing’.

We hope Kiwis will welcome having a choice to buy their coffee in a genuinely compostable cup.

You can find out more about where we stand on Sustainability here.

Questions or comments? Contact 
Emily Watt
Sustainability Manager
sustainability@z.co.nz

29/07/2016

How Z Energy is leading sustainability in New Zealand

The following case study is an excerpt from ACCSR’s recent publication, Pathways to the Sustainable Development Goals: Annual Review of the State of CSR in Australia and New Zealand 2016.

You can read the full report here

 

Formed in 2010, Z Energy is now New Zealand’s biggest fuel business. It operates with sustainability as a stakeholder-driven core to its triple-bottom-line strategy, committed to business’s responsibility to lead by example toward national sustainability priorities.

Emily Watt, Sustainability Manager, says asking over 40,000 people what they wanted and expected of a “Kiwi” company when it formed, became the basis for Z Energy’s offer.

“Sustainability, community, customer service and health and safety have become the four things we stand for – where we can make the biggest difference in New Zealand, including through changing the behaviour and expectations of both business and customers.

“We believe in the science of climate change and want to be in the solutions space. Companies like ours have a big opportunity to do big things.”

“To date, we’ve focused our strategy in four areas. Firstly, consumer less ourselves and having ambitious targets to reduce w3ate to landfill, electricity and water consumption.

“Secondly, reducing the carbon emissions of Z and our customers through tracking and managing our own carbon, more efficient deliveries, and through working partnerships with suppliers.

“Thirdly, reducing New Zealand’s reliance on fossil fuels – we have built a $26 million biodiesel plant, which will produce 20 million litres for New Zealand, and we are working providing fast charging station at our sites to recharge electric cars.

“And finally, we are supporting capability development in New Zealand by investing in community and neighbourhood programmes, and developing skills in our team.”

Emily says that Z can have a bigger impact by working with others to influence change. Z Energy regularly engages with key stakeholders to understand expectations, values and impacts, to inform its strategy, sustainability programmes, reporting and products.

“We ask what the communities’ priorities are for our investment programmes, and in our annual GRI reporting, what stakeholders want us to measure against. We ask our customers what is important to them through our retail sites, and through social media engagement. We have conversations with the Sustainable Business Council and Sustainable Business Network to help us refine what we’re focusing on,” says Emily.

Z Energy sees efforts towards the Sustainability Development Goals as a logical extension of the organisation’s sustainability strategy.

Emily say, “We are seeing that we are aligned to many of the Sustainable Development Goals – with Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Climate Action the most relevant to us.”

“I see the Goals guiding us to see what we should be focusing on next.”

“We believe businesses have a leadership role to deliver on sustainable development. With the areas we’ve identified, we can make the greatest difference, working with customers, suppliers, and like-minded organisations to influence and change behaviours. We have a big reach, and ability to invest in the things that matter.”

Z Energy has been advocating for greater incorporation of sustainability for New Zealand’s listed companies.

“We found the GRI great for reporting what we’ve done. We are now looking at the Integrated Reporting Framework and how it connects business interdependencies, to help us define what we are going to do next.

“There is an exciting change in people’s expectations – Climate Change conference in Paris has really made people want to make a difference, and we see where that produces us with the greatest benefits.”

08/04/2016

Z opens first fast start EV charging station at Auckland Airport

Z Skyway EV launch

Photo (from left to right): Charge Net Chief Executive, Steve West, Chelsea Sexton, and Z Retail Sales Manager, Rob McDonald

Z Energy today opened Auckland’s first fast charge electric vehicle charging station at the Z Skyway service station at Auckland airport.

The installation brings Z’s total number of fast start EV charging stations at its sites to six, with an additional two in Auckland, two in Wellington and one in Christchurch.

The charging station at Z Skyway was officially opened by Chelsea Sexton, an internationally renowned electric car advocate and advisor. From California, Chelsea is best known for her role in Who Killed the Electric Car, and for her articles and blog posts about electric cars and her views on obtaining mass adoption of the technology by the car industry and drivers.

“Public charging in visible, convenient locations is key to electric vehicle adoption, as well as increased use and enjoyment by existing EV drivers,” Chelsea said.

The rapid-charge stations are being supplied by Charge Net and will be available for public use. The Tritium fast chargers draw up to 400 volts of electricity and can charge a standard electric vehicle in the time it takes a customer to buy and drink a cup of coffee.

Z Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward, said the move was part of Z’s continued commitment to moving from being a part of the climate change problem to the heart of the solution.

“We’re not an oil company, we’re a transport energy company and we’re committed to meeting the needs of our customers, whatever they might be.

“We also want to be at the front of the push towards a cleaner, more sustainable New Zealand and to give Kiwis choices to use more renewable fuels.”

The electric charging stations will cost approximately $5 - $10 for the vast majority of users (i.e. a Nissan Leaf) to fill up, and the charge time from empty will be approximately 10 – 25 minutes, as opposed to up to eight hours for a conventional slow charge. A 25 minute charge will “fill up” an entry level electric vehicle like a Leaf and allow customers to travel around 120 kilometers.

“These stations provide another option to keep our customers moving regardless of the vehicle they drive or the fuel they need,” said Gerri.

Chief Executive Steve West from Charge Net has found working with Z Energy to be a great experience, and is pleased to see the iconic Kiwi brand charging into the future.

“Z Energy is a great company to work and collaborate with. We are excited to see these stations go live,” he said.

05/04/2016

Z installs first fast start EV charging station in Christchurch

Z Energy today installed the first electric vehicle rapid charging station at a service station in Christchurch, at Z Moorhouse Avenue, Addington. The station was officially opened by Christchurch Deputy Mayor, Vicki Buck.

The installation is part of Z’s commitment to install six rapid-charge electric vehicle charging stations at sites in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch over the following weeks.

The rapid-charge stations are being supplied by Charge Net and will be available for public use. The Tritium fast chargers draw up to 400 volts of electricity and can charge a standard electric vehicle in the time it takes a customer to buy and drink a cup of coffee.

Z Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward, said the move was part of Z’s continued commitment to moving from being a part of the climate change problem to the heart of the solution.

“We’re not an oil company, we’re a transport energy company and we’re committed to meeting the needs of our customers, whatever they might be.

“We also want to be at the front of the push towards a cleaner, more sustainable New Zealand and to give Kiwis choices to use more renewable fuels.”

The electric charging stations will cost approximately $5 - $10 for the vast majority of users (i.e. a Nissan Leaf) to fill up, and the charge time from empty will be approximately 10 – 25 minutes, as opposed to up to eight hours for a conventional slow charge.  A 25 minute charge will “fill up” an entry level electric vehicle like a Leaf and allow customers to travel around 120 kilometres,

“These stations provide another option to keep our customers moving regardless of the vehicle they drive or the fuel they need,” said Gerri.

Chief Executive Steve West from Charge Net has found working with Z Energy to be a great experience, and is pleased to see the iconic Kiwi brand charging into the future. 

“Z Energy is a great company to work and collaborate with.  We are excited to see these stations go live,” he said. 

24/03/2016

Z installs fast start EV charging stations in Wellington, Petone

Z Energy today installed the first fast charge electric vehicle charging stations at service stations in Wellington, at Z Vivian Street and Z Petone. The Z Vivian Street charging station was officially opened by Wellington Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown.

The installations are part of Z’s commitment to install six rapid-charge electric vehicle charging stations at sites in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch over the coming weeks.

The rapid-charge stations are being supplied by Charge Net NZ and will be available for public use. The Tritium fast chargers draw up to 400 volts of electricity and can charge a standard electric vehicle in the time it takes a customer to buy and drink a cup of coffee.

Z Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward, said the move was part of Z’s continued commitment to moving from being a part of the climate change problem to the heart of the solution.

“We’re not an oil company, we’re a transport energy company and we’re committed to meeting the needs of our customers, whatever they might be.

“We also want to be at the front of the push towards a cleaner, more sustainable New Zealand and to give Kiwis choices to use more renewable fuels.”

The electric charging stations will cost approximately $5 - $10 for the vast majority of users (i.e. a Nissan Leaf) to fill up, and the charge time from empty will be approximately 10 – 25 minutes, as opposed to up to eight hours for a conventional slow charge. A 25 minute charge will “fill up” an entry level electric vehicle like a Leaf and allow customers to travel around 120 kilometres.

“These stations provide another option to keep our customers moving regardless of the vehicle they drive or the fuel they need,” said Gerri.

Chief Executive Steve West from Charge Net NZ has found working with Z Energy to be a great experience, and is pleased to see the iconic Kiwi brand charging into the future.

“Z Energy is a great company to work and collaborate with. We are excited to see these stations go live,” he said.

27/01/2016

Time to take up the climate gauntlet


The world’s leaders agreed in Paris last month to an ambitious target of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5°C by 2030; for context, scientists say a two degree increase – just half a degree above the agreed target - could sink some island nations, worsen droughts and drive a third of the globe’s species to extinction.

It’s a challenge the world cannot afford to overlook. As US President Barack Obama said to the United Nations last year, this is the first generation to experience the effects of climate change, and the last that can do something about it. The global stage has been set for unprecedented action on climate change, and it’s now up to us, as individuals and businesses, to get into action while we can still limit the worst social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change.

Failure to prepare for climate change has been identified as posing the greatest risk to the global economy over the next decade in a World Economic Forum survey released last week. For a company whose products currently account for about five per cent of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions, Z’s role in meeting this challenge may seem counterintuitive. This is the thinking that business can show real leadership on – rather than focusing on the costs of taking action on climate change, what are the opportunities that come with leading?

Like most businesses now, Z acknowledges and accepts the science of climate change. We accept that the products we sell contribute to the problem and we believe that, as a transport energy company with no oil and gas exploration interests, we are in a unique position to move from being part of the problem to the heart of the solution.

We believe that being a part of this solution includes working alongside other Kiwi businesses to take up the gauntlet thrown down by the global climate framework, and take action in incorporating carbon action plans into our strategies. Everything we now see and hear is that customers are increasingly demanding this level of action and commitment from the businesses they choose to support and are prepared to reward those companies that lead in this space.

The upcoming review of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme provides a timely opportunity to develop a meaningful policy response in order to meet this global target. But facing into the climate change challenge isn’t simply the job of government – it requires leadership and commitment from business and, ultimately, from consumers.

As an example of providing this type of leadership and commitment, Z will this year open a $26 million biodiesel plant in South Auckland. The plant will produce 20 million litres of sustainable biodiesel per year, and is the only plant of its type in the world to have been built without a government subsidy or mandate. For the first time, commercial and retail fuel consumers in the upper North Island will in April have the choice to use a sustainable, locally-produced biodiesel as part of their own small steps in tackling the climate change challenge.
While business must increasingly lead, policy can and should facilitate and encourage meaningful, ambitious action on climate change. Businesses will be much more likely and able to act boldly in the shift to a low carbon economy if long-term political ambition is clear and consistent.

Z acknowledges the uncertainties around the policy and financial instruments needed to tackle New Zealand’s unique emissions profile, and that any carbon market mechanism must be equitable, and sensible. We also recognise that this is one of the most complex policy challenges of our time.

However, we do not see New Zealand’s emissions profile as being an insurmountable barrier to the ability to lead innovative and meaningful change in the creation of climate change policy solutions.

The global climate agreement gives us the context to develop a meaningful response that must result in profound, long-term change. It’s up to us all to interpret how to move on that, and quickly. New Zealand’s current commitment (30% below 2005 levels by 2030, or 11% below our 1990 baseline) would lead to a 3.5° temperature increase by 2100.

Fundamentally, for a carbon market mechanism to result in action and change, it must be fungible, linked internationally, and carry a price per tonne that will make business and consumers take notice and, most importantly, change.

If the New Zealand public, and New Zealand business, are up for this, then what’s stopping us from leading on this? Why couldn’t New Zealand be the first country in the world to enable an effective market-based solution to global climate change? New Zealand has a global reputation for leading on the things that really matter and businesses understand the opportunities of being at the leading edge - particularly when it comes to the products and services that fit the changing demands of a low-carbon economy.
As a company which has set some bold and ambitious sustainability targets without a clear roadmap as to how to achieve them, we want to partner with Kiwi businesses to be bold, to take advantage of New Zealand’s trusted international reputation, and to create opportunities which result in social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

The climate change gauntlet has been thrown. The worst thing we could do right now is not pick it up.