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10/08/2018

Z supports the phase-out of plastic bags in New Zealand

Z supports the government’s plan to phase out single-use plastic shopping bags, and encourages New Zealanders to provide their views on ways to reduce these bags entering the environment.

Z phased out single-use customer plastic bags from its stores in June this year. Z said that customers have been overwhelmingly supportive of Z’s stance in eliminating plastic bags and reducing the number of single-use plastic bags entering the waste stream from 2.5 million per year, to zero.

“We learned a lot through this process,” said Z’s Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward.

“The key things we learned from our experience was to give it time, and communicate with customers on how to adjust to the new reality.

“Many of our customers have been really enthusiastic about the change, and have agreed that people just need to get used to a new reality – like New Zealanders did with the introduction of compulsory bike helmets, or the ban on smoking inside,” she said.

The Ministry for the Environment has published a consultation document on the proposed mandatory phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags, and people have until Friday 14 September to share their views.

This includes options for the date the phase-out is to be complete by, what bags should be included, and how best to help people with the transition.

“We need to think carefully about the impact of replacements. The worst-case scenario would be that we replace what we’ve got with unsubstantiated “biodegradable” or “compostable” imports that are often no less bad for the environment,” said Gerri.

“Have your say and together let’s keep Aotearoa beautiful,” she said.

To have your say visit www.mfe.govt.nz.

12/07/2018

New Zealand’s leading businesses take up the climate change challenge

60 businesses making up nearly fifty percent of New Zealand’s emissions have joined forces to tackle the issue of climate change.

It’s a significant move by the New Zealand business community, being praised as “strong” and “unprecedented” by local and global organisations.

On a mission to reduce emissions in New Zealand, the group of 60 CEOs have formed the Climate Leaders Coalition, recognising the role that business can play in bringing about change and signing a joint statement, which commits their companies to action.

The goal of the new group - which includes the leaders of Z, Westpac, Ngai Tahu Holdings, Vector, Air New Zealand, Spark and NZ Post - is to help New Zealand transition to a low emissions economy and, in doing so, create a positive future for New Zealanders, business, and the economy.

Together, the members of the Climate Leaders Coalition represent a variety of businesses from different industries, which contribute to almost half of New Zealand’s emissions.

To mark the significance of the announcement and commemorate the launch of the Climate Leaders Coalition, SkyCity Entertainment Group - a member of the coalition - will light up Auckland's Sky Tower in the colour green, tonight.

The CEOs’ Climate Change Statement is the first step taken by the Climate Leaders Coalition in their drive for positive change.

By signing the CEO Climate Change Statement, each of the business leaders have committed to measuring and reporting their greenhouse gas emissions and working with suppliers to reduce emissions, with the aim of helping to keep global warming within two degrees, as specified in the Paris Agreement.

Convenor of the Climate Leaders Coalition and leading the collective commitment by business to drive the transition to a low emissions economy is Z Energy CEO, Mike Bennetts.

Bennetts explains: “I knew that many businesses were making progress with their own company’s response to climate change but that still left a gap around what we could be doing more of together to increase the pace and scale of impact from our collective efforts. So, it made sense to discuss those opportunities and commit to further action. At the very least that is a common commitment that we can all be held accountable for and provides other businesses with the confidence to lean into their own responses knowing they are not alone in doing that.”

Livia Esterhazy, CEO, WWF NZ, adds: “We are incredibly excited by the strong stance taken by these leading New Zealand businesses. WWF works with companies all over the world helping them cut their emissions. Globally, it’s unprecedented for businesses representing almost half of a country’s emissions to come together like this. These businesses recognise that acting on climate change is not only good for the planet, but it is also a business opportunity not to be missed. The Climate Leaders Coalition creates enormous potential for change and sets a positive example that all New Zealanders can all be proud of.”

Within the second part of the CEO Climate Change Statement, business leaders cement their support for the Paris Agreement and New Zealand’s commitment to it, and back the introduction of a Climate Commission along with the establishment of carbon budgets, enshrined in law.

In addition to committing to the Statement, the businesses involved in the Climate Leaders Coalition are also dedicating considerable resources, expertise and funding towards projects which centre around solutions-driven thinking.

Leaders involved are viewing climate change as an opportunity for their business to innovate and access new markets, with many already eager to realise the potential, having multiple initiatives and actions underway.

Karen Silk, Acting CEO, Westpac, says: “When businesses unite around a central goal, it creates real momentum to change. One of the things that binds all of our organisations together is a love for our country and a desire to make it a great place to live - for us and for future generations.

“By working together on a future that is focussed on low emissions, and sustainable innovation and practices, we can all play our part towards improving the country’s prosperity and to continuing to make it a desirable place to live.”

The Climate Leaders Coalition demonstrates the significant leadership direction being taken by businesses on the issue of climate change. Now, the CEOs involved are calling for other leaders to join them.

Mike Sang, Chief Executive, Ngai Tahu Holdings, adds: “Ngāi Tahu Holdings is pleased to join other like-minded organisations in working to tackle climate change. We are committed to the journey of adopting increasingly sustainable business practices across our businesses, in line with our tribal whakataukī – “Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei” – for us and our children after us. This is something we all need to do together, and we encourage others to join.”

Nigel Topping, CEO of global non-profit coalition, We Mean Business, adds: " As an organisation that works with businesses from around the globe on climate change, we welcome the strong stance taken by business leaders in New Zealand. Collective action of this sort, by businesses representing such a significant percentage of a country’s emissions is world-class and will help accelerate the world's transition to the low-carbon economy.”

Business owners looking to commit to action on climate change and play their part in the transition to a low emissions economy can find out more about the CEO Climate Change Statement, by visiting  www.climateleaderscoalition.org.nz

ENDS

 

 

Notes to Editors:

The Climate Leaders Coalition has been launched in partnership with the Sustainable Business Council – a global network partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

 

CEO Climate Change Statement (in full).

For the generations after us, for the country we love, for the viability of our businesses, we are ambitious for action on climate change.  If we act now we can forge a path to create a future that is low-emission, positive for our businesses and economy, and inclusive for all New Zealanders.  We are committed to playing our part to make that future real.  If we don’t, our competitiveness is at risk. 

We take climate change seriously in our business:

  • We measure our greenhouse gas emissions and publicly report on them
  • We set a public emissions reduction target consistent with keeping within 2° of warming
  • We work with our suppliers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions

 

We believe the transition to a low emissions economy is an opportunity to improve New Zealand’s prosperity:

  • We support the Paris Agreement & New Zealand’s commitment to it
  • We support introduction of a climate commission and carbon budgets enshrined in law

 

Climate Leaders Coalition members

  • Z Energy
  • Westpac
  • Ngai Tahu Holdings
  • Air New Zealand
  • Vector
  • Spark
  • New Zealand Post
  • The Warehouse Group
  • Toyota
  • IAG
  • Fonterra
  • Ports of Auckland
  • KiwiRail
  • Christchurch Airport
  • Stuff
  • SkyCity Entertainment Group
  • Meridian Energy
  • Vodafone
  • Oji Fibre Soltions
  • Toll
  • Waste Management
  • Fuji Xerox
  • Dempsey Wood
  • Sanford
  • Contact Energy
  • Auckland Airport
  • BNZ
  • Flick
  • Proxima
  • Netlogix
  • 4sight Consulting
  • Wellington Zoo
  • 3R
  • EnergyTS
  • Wellington Airport
  • Transpower
  • Lion
  • Fujitsu
  • Unilever
  • DB Breweries
  • OCS
  • True
  • EcoStore
  • Deloitte
  • Ravensdown
  • Ecotricity
  • Beca
  • Watercare
  • Toyota Financial Services
  • Enviro-Mark Solutions
  • Kiwi Property
  • Countdown
  • Microsoft
  • Silver Fern Farms
  • Synlait
  • Freightways
  • Downer
  • Hawkins
  • TIL Logistics Group

09/07/2018

Z Energy invests heavily in permanent forest sinks

Z Energy has invested $1.5million in permanent local forestry projects to voluntarily offset the emissions from their operations. The investment represents the largest voluntary purchase of units from permanent forest sinks seen in New Zealand to date.

Z’s Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward, says that for a carbon-intensive company that believes in the science of climate change, it was important to materially lead on solutions.

“Under Z’s environmental sustainability stand, we have committed to reducing our operational carbon emissions by 30% by 2020, and offsetting those we are unable to avoid.

“We’ve been underway for several years in identifying ways we can transform our business and our behaviours to reduce our emissions first, before looking to offset those we can’t avoid at this point in time,” said Gerri.

Z has partnered with long-standing carbon consultants Permanent Forests NZ Ltd (PFNZ) for this offsetting initiative. PFNZ specialise in aggregating, marketing and selling New Zealand forest carbon credits on behalf of owners of forests registered under the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative.

Gerri said that investing in local, permanent forests ensures the veracity of Z’s offsetting efforts.

“The integrity of our offsets is absolutely paramount. By locking up the carbon in these long-lived forestry projects, we know we’re getting authentic outcomes which we can stand by,” she said.

According to PFNZ’s Managing Director, Ollie Belton, many possible participants in the voluntary market, for example companies looking to voluntarily offset their emissions, or attain “carbon neutral” status, are deterred by the complexity of the carbon market, the lack of links between the compliance and voluntary markets, and the shortage of available permanent carbon offsets.

“This complexity has resulted in a reluctance to enter the voluntary market in recent years, both by buyers and sellers of forestry credits,” said Ollie.

“This deal with Z will undoubtedly make others sit up and take notice, and will lead to more land being committed to long term carbon conservation under the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative,” he said.

Z’s operational carbon emissions, including those from corporate travel, retail electricity, coastal emissions, and hauliers come to about 58,000 tonnes of CO2-e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per annum. At an average cost of about $25 per tonne, this comes to an annual cost of about $1.5m per year.

The outcome of this investment is purposely intended to make the business take the environmental cost of their activities into account when making business decisions.

“It’s reasonably easy to unintentionally dismiss environmental sustainability when making purely cost-driven business decisions,” said Gerri.

“By spending $1.5m on voluntary carbon offsets, we’ve effectively placed an internal price on carbon of $25 a tonne; which forces us to pay closer attention to where we’re being most carbon-inefficient,” she said.

Alongside the offset programme, Z also continues to focus on reducing the carbon intensity of its business. Z’s biodiesel plant in Wiri is operational, and Z has also recently increased its investment in Wellington-based electric ride-sharing company, Mevo.

 

About carbon offsetting
Carbon offset schemes allow individuals and companies to invest in environmental projects in order to balance out their own carbon footprints.


About the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI)
The Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI) is one of the government's sustainable forestry programmes. It enables landowners to receive carbon units through the creation of permanent forests in New Zealand.