About Z

How Z Energy is leading sustainability in New Zealand

29/07/2016 - Sustainability news

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.”