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31/08/2020

Z Energy to install water tanks at Auckland sites, saving more than 12 million litres of water annually

Auckland motorists will soon be able to wash their vehicles at Z Energy car washes knowing they are doing their part to help with the region’s water shortage.

Z will install permanent water tanks to supply their car washes at Z Glen Innes, Z Pukekohe and Z Massey North from 31 August, with plans to roll them out across all their Auckland sites in the coming months, as COVID-19 restrictions permit.

Z Energy’s General Manager of Retail, Andy Baird says Z is committed to playing its part in helping address Auckland’s drought.

“Z has always been committed to reducing our impact on the environment so we’re pleased to be able to move faster on our intended plans to install permanent tanks to ensure we can support Aucklanders in their efforts to address the water shortage.

“It’s also likely that droughts will become more common as the impacts of climate change increase, so having water tanks and water recycling schemes in place in Auckland now, is one way we can respond to climate change, alongside working on speeding up the shift to low carbon transport options.”

It is expected that once the tanks are up and running at all sites, they will save over 12 million litres of water annually and will operate alongside the water recycling systems the company already has in place.

Auckland Council is supportive of Z’s approach and says that the company is setting an example for other commercial users of water in the region.

Mayor Phil Goff says, “Business, industry and individuals all have a role to play in reducing water consumption and I’m pleased to see Z Energy taking this proactive approach. 

“I hope it encourages other commercial water users to look at ways they can help address the record water shortage Auckland is currently experiencing because of record drought in the first half of this year.” 

Watercare chief executive, Raveen Jaduram welcomes the initiative. 

“It’s great to see businesses like Z Energy being proactive and taking water conservation steps now, so they’re well prepared ahead of next summer. Our dams are still more than 20 per cent below historical levels and we need everyone to play their part. 

There are considerable long-term environmental benefits to installing rainwater tanks too,” he adds.

ENDS

Media enquiries: Victoria Crockford – Victoria.Crockford@z.co.nz

 

13/03/2020

Waste Watch 2019

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Waste starts with us and ends with us. Not only do we pay to dispose of our rubbish, hidden costs come from the impact on our environment, cleaning up rubbish from our rivers and ocean, dealing with air pollution, climate change and the impact on communities if waste is not dealt with responsibly.

Each year the average kiwi sends over 700kgs of household waste to landfill. This puts us in the top 10 list of countries for the most amount of waste generated per person in the world.

We know we can do better. In fact, of all the waste that’s sent to landfill in NZ each year 75% could be reused, recycled or composted.

At Z we’ve committed to reducing waste, to do more with less and to take the full environmental cost of our activities into account in our business. This is most apparent on our retail sites with an annual Waste Warriors competition being run to highlight the top recyclers in the country. Recycling has become BAU for many people and with the largest public recycling scheme on offer through Z’s retail stations we wanted to shift the focus from ‘how much’ to ‘what more’ and focus on sharing top tips for reducing waste with our network of staff, customers and suppliers.

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The competition ran from October to November 2019 with 81 sites engaged. Judging completed in January and the 2019 Waste Watch champions are Z Highbrook! The team at Z Highbrook diverted 75% of their waste from landfill through composting and recycling. To engage their staff they created a video highlighting many of the ongoing activities and new opportunities for waste reduction on site. As staff member Jesla points out “Simply asking the customer if they would like a receipt saves paper, which saves trees from being cut down, which helps the quality of our air and environment” as we say at Z – “Giant Strides Start With Small Steps”

Many of these small steps get passed by or forgotten, however the competition is a time to celebrate those at Z and within our communities who go above and beyond to reduce their waste footprint. For example, the team at Z Inglewood who collaborates with a local lady who turns empty milk bottles into lunch boxes for school kids, or the team at Z Picton who, frustrated at the lack of industrial composting facilities available in the area, collect our used Z Espress compostable coffee cups and send them over to Nelson with a team member travelling that way for work.

Z’s Sustainability Champion Camilla Read says: “The passion some of our site staff have for waste reduction is infectious. Their drive to reduce waste on site has the ability to influence not just other staff members but their family and friends as well. Waste is ultimately everyone's problem and we can all be at the heart of the solution by working together, learning from others and sharing ideas and opportunities.”

Camilla says: “There is still a huge challenge with waste management constraints on a national scale. We’re committed to continue to form partnerships to reduce the creation of waste products, for example with our Z Espress KeepCups, and to work with our suppliers to find solutions for problem wastes such as plastics” This year, Z has signed up to the NZ Plastics Packaging Declaration and will be offering customers a solution for recycling lubricant oil bottles in partnership with other major lubricant brands. 

During the waste watch focus in October and November the Z network recycled 196 tonnes of waste (about the same weight as 16 garbage trucks) and sent over 25 tonnes of food waste away to compost facilities (that’s equivalent to 113,000 pies!!)

Congratulations to all the sites, customers and suppliers working with us to reduce waste every day. Check out the infographic below for just some of the stories that staff have shared.

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19/02/2020

What is the carbon cost of refuelling your vehicle?

For the better part of a decade, Z has worked on reducing its environmental impact and helping others reduce theirs.

Now, with the launch of Carbon Count, any Z app user can offset up to 100 percent of their fuel purchases at a cost of around $4.30 for a 50 litre tank of petrol. (Prices vary depending on whether you use petrol or diesel.)

Carbon Count calculates your carbon footprint in real time, using the industry standard value for carbon, and you can check your total as often as you like. You can choose to pay each time you fill up, once a month, or whenever. Motorists who make purchases at the till or via another retailer can still use Carbon Count to offset their fuel, by downloading Z App, then entering payment details and number of litres purchased.

“Many people say they want to do something about climate change, but they don’t know what to do – Carbon Count is a response to that,” says Z’s Chief Innovation Officer, Scott Bishop.

All the money goes to supporting Permanent Forests New Zealand, which aggregates, markets, and sells carbon credits on behalf of forest owners registered under the Government’s Permanent Forest Sink Initiative - all fully auditable and traceable.

Trees act as carbon sinks, consuming carbon dioxide and storing it in the leaves and roots. Permanent forestry land is locked up and protected for a minimum of 50 years and the sole income derived from it is carbon offsets. Once the units are bought, they are taken out of circulation, meaning that they cannot be used for compliance with the Emissions Trading Scheme.

This is important because for each carbon offset, there is one less metric tonne of carbon in the atmosphere than there otherwise would have been. 

The fuel that Z sells each year releases around 9 million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, which is about 9 percent of New Zealand’s total emissions. The company has recognised this impact since its founding in 2010 and has put finding solutions at the heart of the business. One step they have taken is to work with Permanent Forests New Zealand to protect 4,000 hectares of permanent forest with 93,000 tonnes of carbon capture capability since 2017. This is the largest single voluntary contribution to forest carbon sinks in New Zealand to date.

Carbon Count is a way of offering customers the same ability to take action, while sending the message that everybody needs to use less fuel and to use it responsibly when they do.

“We set the sustainability standards eight years ago around reducing our impact and enabling others to reduce theirs,” explains Z’s Head of Sustainability and Community, Gerri Ward. “Z developed a 5-year program and worked out how to do more, better.”

With 2,500 retail staff and a large network of service stations, Z can make a substantive difference towards New Zealand’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050. The company has embraced initiatives such as coffee cups that can be composted on the forecourt; developed the country’s first biodiesel plant using local, renewable feedstock; and has worked with the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority on driving efficiency programs for commercial drivers.

“We are lucky to have visibility and impact and we need to make the most of both on behalf of Kiwis,” says Gerri. “We want to be able to provide the easiest way for people to reduce the impact of their fuel use. With everything transformational, you have to make the starting point easy for people.”

https://z.co.nz/carbon-count

19/02/2020

Why carbon sinks are important for urgent action on climate change

As humans gobble through the earth’s resources, we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, warming the earth and harming our environment at a rate that is unprecedented and unsustainable. This is no longer hypothetical -- it’s happening. 

An effective way of consuming excess carbon is through carbon sinks, which store carbon for indefinite periods of time. Examples are kelp farms and forests. Ocean and land sinks absorb around half of the CO2 emissions produced by human activities; as polluters look for ways to reduce the impact of their actions, carbon sinks have become more widely understood.

The government estimates that in 2017 New Zealand forests sequestered – or ‘sucked up’– 24 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere, offsetting about a third of the country’s total emissions. There is opportunity for forests to work even harder. Historically, New Zealand was covered in trees; we have lost two thirds of our natural tree coverage to human settlement, when land was cleared for pasture and towns. 

Carbon offsetting through permanent forestry has multiple benefits – trees don’t just suck up carbon, they can improve soil quality, prevent erosion and promote biodiversity, creating habitats for animals. This is especially true in the case of natives. 

“Land use and land use change is a huge part of the climate change issue that people often forget about,” says Ollie Belton of Permanent Forests New Zealand, which links companies like Z Energy with landowners who have carbon credits to sell. Permanent Forests New Zealand manages about 10,000 hectares of permanent forest throughout the country. 

“It’s cool and it’s growing,” says Ollie of carbon offsetting through forestry. “People can see that there’s an opportunity to do this instead of clearing land for farming.”

Z is one of the biggest players in the voluntary carbon offsetting space. They have bought into 20 forest schemes, with about half being pure native forests and half being a mixture of native and exotic trees, including Douglas fir, eucalyptus and Pinus radiata. 

There are two ways trees can be used to offset carbon -- through plantation forestry or permanent forestry. Plantation forestry is usually a monoculture (most often the fast-growing Pinus radiata), and while the trees provide habitat for kiwi and falcons and help stabilise the soil, after 25 to 30 years they are harvested, and all that good work is undone. 

With permanent forestry, the land is locked up and protected for a minimum of 50 years and the sole income derived from it is carbon offsets. Once those units are bought, they are taken out of circulation, meaning that they cannot be used for compliance, says Ollie. 

The government’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is the main way New Zealand meets its obligations to reduce emissions. It puts a price on emissions and provides a financial incentive for businesses to reduce their impact, through cutting emissions or offsetting them. To offset them, a business must buy emission units, with each unit representing one metric tonne of carbon dioxide. 

Z Energy’s participation in Permanent Forests NZ is the largest single voluntary purchase of units from permanent forest sinks in New Zealand to date. “We are very intentionally going above and beyond our ETS obligation,” says Gerri Ward, Head of Community and Sustainability at Z.

“It is all about impact. I’m really conscious that, because of our size, the way we do business and our values that we have significant impact. Supporting permanent forests is about that impact being underpinned by integrity and validity.” 

https://z.co.nz/carbon-count