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04/06/2015

Z’s submission on setting New Zealand’s post-2020 climate change target

In December 2015, countries will meet in Paris to establish a new international climate change agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). An important part of the agreement will be the individual contributions that each country makes to address climate change. Specifically, all countries have been asked to put forward a target to reduce emissions after 2020 as part of their contribution, in advance of the Paris meeting.

The Government has called for submissions on the post-2020 climate change target. The timeframe for consultation was short (2 weeks) and public and business interest in submitting on what New Zealand’s contribution should be has been very high. In short, this is our one chance to influence what the New Zealand Government’s positon should be at international negotiations on climate change, at a critical point on this inarguable global environmental threat.

At Z we believe all parts of the economy have a role to play in reducing our emissions, from government and the public sector to households and the private sector. We believe New Zealand has the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to innovative and constructive solutions to climate change, and to benefit economically from them; locally and globally. Z is committed to being a part of this journey.

You can read Z’s submission here.

 

General

29/05/2015 - General

What we do at home

We wondered how committed our office teams were to sustainability at home... So we asked!

We found out that out of 114 Z staff surveyed...

 

 

 

06/05/2015

Waste Warriors: Z’s environmental super-heroes

In just two months, Z’s “Waste Warriors” competition has diverted 191 tonnes of waste away from landfill – the equivalent of two Olympic sized swimming pools full of waste.

The annual nation-wide competition is designed to help Z’s service station teams become more aware and motivated to reuse, recycle and compost.

Leading the charge was this year’s Waste Warriors winner, Ashleigh Atkinson, and her team from Z Rangiora, who recycled 87 per cent of their waste over the course of the competition.

In second place was Z Palmerston, and Z Te Puke came in third, recycling 84 per cent and 83 per cent of their waste, respectively.

Z’s Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward, said that when it came to sustainability, long-lasting behavioural change was what was really needed to make a difference.

“At Z we want to do the right thing by New Zealand, so we’ve made a serious commitment to moving from being part of the problem to being at the heart of solutions around sustainability.

“One of the things we’ve been focused on has been to cut the waste sent from our service stations to landfill by 70%.

“We found that there were already a few people within our retail service station network who were really taking the lead on engaging site staff to try and attain our 70% reduction goal with gusto. 

“We decided to tap into this experience across our network, and leverage our retailers and site teams’ keen sense of competition to get them into action on the ground, where it matters most,” said Gerri.

Over a two month period Z service station sites compete against each other to reduce the amount of waste they send to the landfill, each team led by a sustainability champion within the team vying to be named this year’s Waste Warrior.

This is the second year the competition has run and 54 Z stations joined in.

“A bit of healthy competition can lead to extraordinary results, and we’re so impressed and proud of the efforts of Ashleigh and the team at Z Rangiora.

“Ashleigh was so motivated that she undertook research on plastic recycling herself, and challenged the rest of the staff at Z Rangiora to find alternative uses for those things which couldn’t be recycled through the current systems,” said Gerri.

According to recycle.co.nz, about 2.5 million tonnes of waste is buried in landfills in New Zealand each year.

“Landfills take up precious space and we are running out of places to put them,” said Gerri.

Gerri said New Zealanders can learn a lot from the success of the Waste Warrior programme and the need to transform behaviours if we are going to make a real difference. 

”The massive waste reduction by Ashleigh and her team at Z Rangiora required sustainability to be at the forefront of their thinking and required them to consistently separate food waste, general waste and recycling at their site,” said Gerri.

 

25/03/2015

An everyday hero at Z Palmerston

Z Palmerston – the only service station in town, literally - and Shirley – a quiet everyday hero – make a difference busting waste.

Situated on State Highway One, Palmerston lies 50km north of Dunedin, at the junction of State Highway 85 to Central Otago commonly known as the ‘Pigroot’.  With a population of about 1,000 people, it’s the largest town in the Waihemo Ward of the Waitaki District.

Shirley has been working at Z Palmerston since 2010, and has initiated a number of waste reduction activities on site.

Through her local contacts, she’s found a home for empty oil bottles and soap containers - she drops them off to a garage in the nearby town of Waikouaiti on her way home. They use them to provide chain and bar lube to their customers from their bulk tank.

Paper, bottles, tins and plastics are sorted behind the till through an ingeniously adapted laundry hamper. One side takes the till receipts, while the other side takes tins, plastics or paper. The local recycling centre likes the till receipts separate. 

 

 

Z Palmerston is just down the road from a recycling facility. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays the forecourt concierge can be seen taking the wheelie bin full of recycling down to the facility to be emptied. 

This good relationship also sees Shirley and the other staff being able to check with the centre as to what can and can’t be recycled at their facility.  For instance, if it crinkles they can’t take it, but sandwich wraps are no problem.

Before they got into gear with recycling, they had three wheelie bins and a great stack of cardboard collected each week. Now they would be lucky to fill one wheelie bin a week. They are currently recycling over 80% of their waste.  What a result for Shirley and the local environment.

In Shirley’s words

“At the end of the day, it’s not hard – you’ve got to put the rubbish somewhere so you might as well put it in the right bin”.

We’re extremely pleased with the leadership Shirley has shown to tackle waste reduction, along with our other Waste Warriors across the country. 

13/11/2014

When finding worms in your pies is a good thing

One of Z’s meatiest sustainability goals (we love a good pun!) is to reduce the waste going to landfill from our service stations by 70% by 2015.

In getting after this goal, the first thing we did was implement recycling across the Z service station network. We now have recycling across all of our own operations, as well as public recycling bins on 103 of our forecourts.

A baseline survey in 2012 showed that up to a third of the contents in our skip bins, by weight, was food waste.

A food waste pick-up service is a fairly new and evolving service, and generally only available in more urban centres, and our neighbourhood sites with friendly local pig farmers are happy to keep donating their unsold food (apart from the bacon and egg pies!) to them. But what to do with the unsold pies and sandwiches, and coffee grounds we were throwing away every year?

Steve Rickerby chucked in his job at an insurance company in 2008, and set up We Compost; a network of businesses in Auckland keen to send their food waste to a credible composting facility. Steve started out with one bin on the back of a ute, and now collects more than 500 bins (9 tonnes) of organic waste a week, and delivers it to the EnviroFert facility in Tuakau, where it is turned into organic compost products that are sold to horticultural growers and pastoral farmers to improve the quality and condition of their crops. So far, this year alone, we estimate Z sites have diverted 342 tonnes of food waste from landfill, partly with We Compost’s help.

Z started having our food waste picked up by Steve at 21 retail sites in Auckland and Hamilton, before he decided to consolidate to the Auckland region, where business is booming.

“Partnering with Z gave us a huge boost at a time when we really needed it,” says Steve. “The Z sites increased our collection density in certain areas and helped us justify a push out west. To be able to casually drop into conversation with prospective customers that we collect from around 20 Z sites gives us a huge amount of credibility and has helped to normalise the idea of a 'third' bin. I like to think that the sort of people who go to the cafes we collect from are the sort of people who buy their fuel from Z. So, it is also an important aspect to our positioning in the market and I hope working with us does the same for the Z brand!”

Thanks in large part to a successful partnership with the likes of We Compost, and Kai to Compost in Wellington, we’re now tracking at nearly 85% of the way towards our waste reduction target; and this despite the network growing from 204 stations in 2012 to 213 stations today.

 

03/09/2014

Z's first GRI Sustainability Report

Z is embarking on our first GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) Sustainability Report this year, which will be integrated into our Annual Report.

In order to complete this report, we have created a shortlist of relevant topics that should be assessed for inclusion in the sustainability report, in accordance with the GRI guidelines.

Check out the table below where we’ve chosen 13 Aspects and 22 Indicators to report against in our first year, covering Economic, Environmental, and Social indicators. 

The first step in a robust reporting framework is to check in with key stakeholders that the Aspects we’ve chosen to report against are what you’d expect to see from Z, and whether there’s anything conspicuously absent from this list. So, please flick us an email with your thoughts to: yourviews@z.co.nz

 

 

01/07/2014

Biofuels

Z doesn’t produce oil or gas, so we don’t have to limit the products we sell to protect billions of dollars of upstream investment. We are here to provide transport fuels to Kiwi consumers and businesses and we are ambivalent about whether that fuel is oil, gas, or a bio product.

We are currently exploring two main sources of biofuel. The first is a project that will enable Z to produce biodiesel from tallow (inedible fat from meat products), and the second is a longer-term project to turn wood waste into biofuels.

The Wiri biodiesel project is New Zealand’s first large-scale biodiesel production facility which will produce 20 million litres of high quality biodiesel per annum. The plant, which converts animal fats and used cooking oil into biodiesel, is currently under construction at Wiri, Auckland and is due for completion around the middle of 2015.

We have also worked with Norske Skog to investigate using second generation biofuels technology to process wood waste from the forestry sector into biofuels. This wood waste is the stuff left over after the trees have been removed from the forest and processed in the mill. While technically and economically challenging, it is possible to convert this waste into a form of ‘green crude’ that can be refined into petrol, diesel, and potentially even jet fuel.   

Z continues to undertake work to test if this can be done in a way that is financially viable and that produces fuel that meets the very highest quality specifications.

Recycling and food waste

We have a goal to reduce 70% of Z’s retail operation landfill-bound waste by 2015. We’ve embarked on a network-wide recycling programme to waste less within our business.

We have worked with our Retailers, site staff and waste service providers to work out what we’re wasting and where, and come up with waste reduction plans for every site. We have recycling bins (for paper/cardboard, co-mingled, and food waste) on-site and have rolled out forecourt recycling bins across 103 sites so far (with more planned!). So far this year, we’ve diverted 226 tonnes of food waste from landfill into composting.  We have a network of ‘Waste Warriors’ at our service stations,  leading their teams into action on recycling, and competing against each other for the prize of top Z Waste Warrior – the winning site, Z Belfast, last year recycled an average of 85% of all waste on site.

Based on early data, we’re about halfway to our goal of reducing our waste to landfill by 70%.

We’re continuing to roll out more forecourt recycling bins across the network and to work with site staff to increase the amount of waste going to recycling. We’re always looking at ways of reducing the amount of material we bring onto our sites in the first place; such as recently reviewing the number of magazine deliveries to ensure we reduce before we recycle.

We’re also giving away coffee grounds to gardeners to put on their roses, and unsold food to pig farmers in those more rural areas without a food waste pick-up service.

LED lighting on retail sites

Forecourt power and lighting accounts for more than a quarter of Z’s total retail electricity use. As a sustainable company, we reckon it’s important to reduce energy use.

We’ve completed a nationwide project to change out all of the external lighting in our service station canopies with energy-efficient LED lighting. We invested $3.1 million in a six-month LED canopy lighting replacement project, supported by a $580,000 business grant from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

Energy efficiency

We’re constantly looking at ways we can reduce both the cost and the carbon emissions of running our retail operations.

We’ve been working with our suppliers to identify how we can run our retail sites more efficiently. Some examples include making sure our refrigeration units and HVAC units aren’t working against each other; installing automatic sensors on doors; and installing pull-down screens on open fridge units. We’ve worked with our suppliers to identify new generation chillers that we’ll install at our new-build sites, which can save at least 40% on our current refrigeration energy usage.