Towards a Sustainable New Zealand: Update on the Household Sustainability Programme

Date: December 2007
Reference number:
POL (07) 457

Office of the Minister for the Environment

Cabinet Policy Committee

Proposal

  1. On 16 May 2007, the Cabinet Policy Committee (POL) invited the Minister for the Environment to report to POL by 21 December 2007 with progress to date on developing and implementing the Household Sustainability Programme and more detailed options for working with local government and communities [POL Min (07) 10/16 refers].

Executive Summary

  1. The Household Sustainability Programme is designed to accelerate a broader adoption of sustainability as a core value that is at the heart of our national identity and part of everyday life in New Zealand. The approach is sound and consistent with best practice used by other nations to address climate change and sustainability issues.
  2. The programme has begun to gain traction and engage directly with the public through integrated action across government departments involving regional forums, an online sustainability portal, Home Shows, building partnerships with local government and community groups, and an information and awareness raising programme.
  3. The programme will reach a wider audience in 2008 through building partnerships with local government and community groups, the sustainability challenge, Home Shows, the WA$TED! television series and live events, celebrations around World Environment Day, and other activities (see summary in Annex 1). The expected reach for the combined programme is greater than one million people during 2008.

Background

  1. Cabinet agreed on 12 February 2007 that a set of initiatives be refined to elevate sustainability to a higher level of public awareness, including a household sustainability programme [CAB Min (07) 4/1A refers].
  2. The Household Sustainability Programme is designed to accelerate a broader adoption of sustainability as a core value that is at the heart of our national identity and part of everyday life in New Zealand. The long term goal is to promote lasting behaviour change that forms new habits and opens the way to further shifts. The Household Sustainability Programme is consistent with the United Kingdom government’s and other leading models of behaviour change [UK Government, 2005. Securing the Future - UK Government sustainable development strategy.].
  3. The three key elements of the Household Sustainability Programme are:
    1. building partnerships with regional and local organisations to promote sustainable action;
    2. an innovative online sustainability portal; and
    3. a sustained information programme to focus on supporting people who are already putting sustainable values into action, and to promote a shared vision of the direction that New Zealand can take.
  4. On 16 May 2007, the Ministry for the Environment, in consultation with other agencies as appropriate, was directed to lead the development and implementation of [POL Min (07) 10/16 refers]:
    1. the refocus and enhancement of the Sustainable Management Fund to better support and encourage partners who are delivering community-based household sustainability projects;
    2. a series of regional forums across New Zealand to support, promote and facilitate sustainability at the household level, identify and support potential partners, listen to communities to find out what is already happening locally and how central and local government can best provide ongoing support, and build local and regional networks;
    3. a sustainability portal to promote and encourage sustainable choices and activities at the household level, connect initiatives run by the government and partners, provide links to other websites, resources, tools, and assistance programmes, and promote local household-related sustainability programmes and success stories; and
    4. an ongoing information and awareness raising programme that includes:
    1. the development of key household-related sustainability messages to be used in ongoing government communications;
    2. an overarching household sustainability strapline to be applied to relevant existing and new government programmes;
    3. publicity to promote the sustainability portal and encourage people to participate in regional and local initiatives; and
    4. active and frequent unpaid media activity, including the development of stories and articles for local newspapers and publications in partnership with key stakeholders.
  5. The Ministry for the Environment was also directed to develop a monitoring programme to measure awareness and uptake of sustainable choices and actions by households; and to develop a practical guide for Ministers that provides information and advice on sustainable choices and actions.
  6. The Minister for the Environment was invited to report to POL by 21 December 2007 with progress to date and more detailed options for working with local government and communities [POL Min (07) 10/16 refers].

Progress to date

Regional forums

  1. “Sustainable Futures” regional forums were held in Manawatu/Wanganui, Hawke’s Bay and Waikato. Themes for discussion were encouraging sustainable action in food and drink, housing, daily travel, and leisure. Attendees appreciated having the opportunity to think strategically about what a sustainable future for their region would look like and to advance practical solutions. Forums received excellent media coverage from local newspapers (e.g. Hawke’s Bay) and Maori Television (e.g. Waikato).

Sustainable Management Fund

  1. The Sustainable Management Fund (SMF), within Vote Environment, has been refocused and enhanced to support delivery of community-based household sustainability projects. A new SMF category entitled ‘Encouraging Sustainable Households’ has been introduced to raise awareness about sustainable practice in energy use, water use, transport, and waste disposal.  Funding, of between $10,000 and $200,000 per annum, is available for up to three years which provides certainty of resources and contributes to better outcomes.
  2. Separately from the Sustainable Management Fund, the Ministry for the Environment has supported the Sustainable Living and Sustainability Trust outreach programmes. Both programmes are direct capability building programmes aimed to educate a wide range of households about sustainable practice in energy use, water use, transport, and waste disposal.
  3. The Sustainable Living programme is a 10 week adult education programme currently delivered through 22 councils. Additional funding has been provided to expand and grow participation in the programme - 1,300 people are expected to attend the course and 10,000 people are expected to use the web materials by July 2008.
  4. The Sustainability Trust Ecokiwi programme is a new programme and leverages existing meetings (such as church, Rotary, and Lions groups) to enable attendees to find out about and remove barriers to making environmentally sustainable choices. Funding was used to develop and implement the programme - 750 participants are expected by July 2008.

 Sustainability portal

  1. The sustainability.govt.nz internet portal serves as a central point for all key household sustainability information by pulling together the array of household sustainability initiatives and information across New Zealand. At another level, the portal is a shared information exchange and meeting place for groups clustering around sustainability ideas, issues and actions. Data gathered will be able to help inform and refine the development of information and awareness messages and ongoing policy programmes.
  2. The first phase of the portal was launched on 18 September 2007 with existing household-related information (such as Smarter Homes, ENERGYWISE™ Fuelsaver and Reduce your Rubbish websites), video clips from regional forums, and a weekly sustainability opinion poll.
  3. The full sustainability portal was launched on 4 December 2007. The portal contains open discussion forums, use of mixed media, and interactivity (such as the sustainability challenge, film competition, and sustainability action plan). Councils and others are able to post case studies and other information on the site, thus providing local stories to a national audience.
  4. A package of information and advice based on the sustainability portal was also prepared for Ministers.

Information and awareness raising programme

  1. An information and awareness raising programme was designed to support and bring about behaviour change over the long term. A Communications Review Board was established to provide coherence across government departments on sustainability, avoid duplication, and leverage resources. A shared workspace was also been set up through the State Services Commission to facilitate greater coordination and collaboration across government agencies on sustainability.
  2. The information and awareness raising programme delivered an integrated and consistent picture of sustainability activities through:
    1. key messages;
    2. a calendar of sustainability events and opportunities;
    3. a monthly talk sustainability newsletter;
    4. an overarching household sustainability strapline; and
    5. a Household Sustainability stand at Home Shows.
  3. Sustainability key messages were developed for consistency when communicating to the public. International sustainability messages have also been created for Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade overseas posts to use in their host countries to initiate conversations that both profile New Zealand’s work in this area and facilitate reporting on significant trends and specific developments off-shore.
  4. A calendar of sustainability events and opportunities was developed to help coordinate sustainability activities across departments. The Ministry for the Environment launched the monthly newsletter talk sustainability in August 2007 about central and local government sustainability initiatives.
  5. A common overarching sustainability strapline (sustainability.govt.nz) was developed and applied to all appropriate existing and new programmes by government agencies. Examples of its use include the Department of Building and Housing’s "your guide to a smarter home" programme where the strapline was featured on the TV advertisements and booklets, the Rightcar website, and policy documents for the Emissions Trading Scheme, New Zealand Energy Strategy and New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy. The strapline is also a website address and directs people to the sustainability portal.
  6. A joint seminar with the Journalists Training Organisation and PricewaterhouseCoopers was held in August 2007 for 35 journalists on climate change and sustainability. It aimed to increase journalists’ understanding of sustainability and climate change (including scientific, policy and economic aspects) to enable them to write more informed stories on these issues.
  7. A cross-government presence (partnership between Ministry for the Environment, Department of Building and Housing, and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) at the Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch and Wellington Home Shows was a significant success, with approximately 100,000 visitors having the opportunity to learn how they can take sustainable actions in the home. It allowed central government to engage with our target audience at a time when they are making major decisions that have an impact on their sustainability across key themes of the household programme: water, building, energy and waste. There was strong interest in sustainability and strong support for government action on sustainability. Visitors were pleased that they could go to the stand for direct, unbiased information from government agencies on sustainability-related decisions such as heating options.
  8. Other information and awareness activities implemented include supporting the ‘Outlook for Someday’ film challenge for young New Zealanders (with the Ministry of Education), the next television series of WA$TED! and unpaid media activity such as articles in the Dominion Post, New Zealand Herald, regional newspapers and radio.
  9. Research has been undertaken to benchmark current knowledge, attitudes, actions, and then track changes over time. The research results will inform the development of the information and awareness raising programme (i.e. who to target, what key messages to communicate, and which channels of communication to use), and measure New Zealanders’ changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviour towards sustainability. The research is being coordinated across government (e.g. in consultation with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority and Land Transport New Zealand) to avoid duplication. The results will be available in December 2007.

Monitoring of outcomes

  1. The Ministry for the Environment was directed by Cabinet to develop a monitoring programme to measure the awareness and uptake of sustainable choices and actions by households [POL Min (07) 10/16 refers].
  2. The Ministry for the Environment, in consultation with relevant agencies, is leading the development of indicators and reporting for the six flagship sustainability initiatives [POL Min (07) 9/20 refers]. The Ministry is using an outcomes-based approach to identify outcomes, indicators, and evaluation questions, with a view to effectively evaluating and achieving those outcomes for each of the six sustainability initiatives. National aspirational outcomes for household sustainability will be developed as part of this approach.
  3. Baseline information about household behaviour, awareness, perceptions and willingness to act was collected in October and November 2007 (see paragraph 28). Best practice tools and methods that have been identified to measure the effectiveness of the Household Sustainability Programme are related to the level of interest, knowledge and understanding of sustainability concepts rather than focusing on behaviour change in the first few years. Experience from health campaigns (e.g. Quit smoking, Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand) indicates this is an appropriate approach because behaviour change outcomes may take many years or often decades to occur.

Options for working with local government and communities

  1. Engagement with local government and communities confirmed that while broadcast messages from government agencies are effective in increasing knowledge, they are only one of the tools necessary to effect behaviour change. Individualised, personalised and one-on-one approaches to interventions can be more effective in assisting people to take sustainable action. Direct support and information provision through community groups are also required to encourage uptake of the practical actions necessary to deliver the Household Sustainability Programme. The refocus and enhancement of the SMF (see paragraph 12), and funding of the Sustainable Living and Sustainability Trust programmes (see paragraphs 13-15) contribute to this. Events and activities proposed for 2008 will build on this approach (see paragraphs 44-67).
  2. The Ministry for the Environment will work with community groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on information and awareness raising activities (e.g. sustainability portal), provide opportunities for collaboration among NGOs (e.g. regional forums), investigate the potential for synergies and co-operation with local government and school initiatives (e.g. working in partnership with advisers funded by the Ministry of Education), and provide financial support to projects that put a greater focus on results rather than on number of outputs (e.g. through the SMF, which is results-based).
  3. In some sustainability issues, local government is leading the way, while in others central government leads, and there are lessons for both spheres of government. However, on many issues the most traction seems to be made when the two spheres of government work together. For example, all local authorities have lodged their draft land transport programmes for 2008/09 with Land Transport New Zealand and the plans include community focussed activities to promote sustainable travel. This partnership approach is a key concept in the drive towards sustainability.
  4. Regional capability will continue to be built in the delivery of sustainability programmes. This will happen by building partnerships with local government and NGOs, consolidating regional sustainability activities, delivering best practice and encouraging councillors and managers to articulate clear environmental outcomes in long term council community plans. People are more likely to make behaviour changes when they are supported by local government. The Ministry for the Environment will develop a sustainability “toolkit” containing case studies, templates, research and incentives to support local government to deliver sustainability activities. Councils will be able to apply the toolkit to specific local issues that are important to them. The Ministry for the Environment will also investigate the value of linking up environmental education and sustainable business regional networks with household sustainability projects.
  5. Local government has signalled that it wants to take leadership and implement environmental sustainability in its own operations before starting to work on sustainability outreach activities within their own communities. Some councils identified this as the key reason they were not yet working on household sustainability programmes. Govt3, the Sustainable Government Procurement Project and the Carbon Neutral Public Service initiative currently assist central government to demonstrate sustainability in its practices. There is potential for these initiatives to be extended further to local government. As part of the Sustainable Government Procurement Project, Cabinet considered proposals in December for a single procurement policy to be applied to the wider state services. This work will assist local government to improve their sustainable procurement practices, and in doing so, there may be further opportunities to encourage and support the adoption of broader sustainable business practices.
  6. Consideration will need to be given to how the Communities for Climate Protection–NZ (CCP-NZ) programme might contribute to assisting councils to exemplify environmental sustainability in their operations. Twenty-nine councils already belong to the Ministry for the Environment-funded CCP-NZ programme which provides a strategic framework assisting councils to measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ministry for the Environment officials are exploring options for delivering Govt3- and carbon neutral public service-type programmes to local government alongside work on the Sustainable Government Procurement Project.

Research needs

  1. Good quality social, environmental and economic research is critical to designing and assessing successful sustainability programmes. Research is needed to assess barriers to action, motives for change, to evaluate whether people are changing, and to assess the environmental outcomes of sustainability programmes. An understanding of New Zealanders’ attitudes and values related to consumption and the use of resources to sustain quality of life expectations, and how these are translated into individual and collective environmental impacts and actions is also required.
  2. Local government has signalled that central government could take the lead by providing robust, nationally coordinated research into sustainable behaviour to assist local government in developing effective sustainable behaviour change programmes. The Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology agree that there is a gap in the current knowledge base to inform evidence-based policy and decision-making in the Household Sustainability Programme and that social research to support the development of effective sustainable behaviour change policy and programmes is a priority. Consideration is being given to what actions would be required to address these gaps and support sustainability interventions.
  3. Land Transport New Zealand is currently developing a behaviour research programme to underpin its work to promote sustainable transport. The research programme will have a regional as well as a national focus to enable local government to leverage off the research for local community focussed land transport activities.
  4. The Beacon Pathway Ltd collaborative research consortium[Beacon Pathway Ltd is a collaborative research consortium comprising Building Research, Scion, Waitakere City Council, Fletcher Building, and New Zealand Steel.] is providing  valuable new insights for sustainable practice in building technologies, construction industry practices, urban planning, policy and regulation as well as consumer understanding and needs. This research is beginning to inform new approaches to healthier and more sustainable housing. This research funded through Vote: Research, Science and Technology with industry co-funding supports a six year research programme approved in 2003.
  5. Further research unique to New Zealand’s household sustainability practices and behaviours is required to inform policy and practice interventions and impacts.

Upcoming events and activities

  1. A summary of proposed events and activities is provided in Annex 1.

December 2007 – January 2008

  1. A sustainability challenge which pulls together the many disparate strands of environmental sustainability action across New Zealand was launched on 4 December 2007 in conjunction with the sustainability portal. It generates a sense of collective action by asking participants “What’s your next step?” and allows people to make an individualised personal choice about practical actions they will take to be environmentally sustainable. It intends to recruit New Zealanders to commit to a cumulative four million steps (actions) towards sustainability. Momentum will continue to build around the sustainability challenge as it is used as a re-current theme and co-brand for 2008 sustainability events and activities.
  2. The Ministry for the Environment’s forthcoming state of the environment report, Environment New Zealand 2007, will be released in December. It reports on 19 environmental indicators across 10 topic areas: household consumption and expenditure, energy, transport, waste, air, atmosphere, freshwater, oceans, land, and biodiversity. This report provides a platform from which to engage key sectoral groups and the public on the government’s sustainability work programme, and reinforces the need to take early action [CBC Min (07) 23/20 refers]. This engagement will be aligned with the cross-government work programme on sustainability [POL Min (07) 9/20 refers].
  3. By the end of December, it is intended that new regulations will be in place to give effect to a new, mandatory point of sale Vehicle Fuel Economy Labelling scheme.  At this time an information and education campaign for the industry and dealers will be implemented. When labelling becomes mandatory there will be a promotional campaign targeting car buyers to raise awareness and educate buyers about the label.
  4. Also in December, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) plans to begin the roll out of a voluntary Home Energy Rating Scheme.  Promotion and publicity of the voluntary scheme will be via a launch event in December followed by a regional publicity campaign and some targeted advertising over the next few months. EECA will report back on whether a mandatory scheme should be introduced by the end of 2008. 
  5. By the end of January 2008, EECA will be looking to appoint partners for the delivery of interest-free loans and grants for energy efficiency and clean heat upgrades, under a new scheme agreed in Budget 2007.  There will be promotion to raise homeowners’ awareness of the availability of grants or loans as partners become ready to deliver the scheme.

February – April 2008

  1. The second series of the WA$TED! television series, with support from the Ministry for the Environment and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, will begin screening in February. The previous series reached a cumulative audience of three million viewers and is now being used in over 250 schools as a teaching resource. A series of live shows leveraging off the television series are also being developed and are proposed to involve 30 schools in 20 centres. The Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Education are currently investigating government involvement in this as part of the lead up to World Environment Day.
  2. About 1000 primary schools are expected to take part in ‘Feet First Walk to School Week’, an event aimed at increasing the number of children who walk to school, which will be rolled out nationally from 3-7 March.
  3. [withheld on the basis of commercial sensitivity].
  4. Bikewise Week featuring 35 ‘Go by bike days’, 26 ‘Mayoral challenges’, a ‘Business battle’, and 450 smaller events, will be held nationally from 23 February to 2 March 2008. The expected reach for these events is greater than 10,000 people with 500 organisations participating.
  5. A promotional campaign aimed at raising awareness of energy efficiency decision-making in the home will begin in February.  As part of this campaign EECA and its partners will also promote the financial assistance scheme for insulation and clean heat installations.  The general awareness raising part of this campaign will be branded ENERGYWISE™ and will also carry the household sustainability strapline.
  6. The 2008/09 funding round for the SMF opened on 11 October 2007 and will close on 22 January 2008, for projects commencing 1 July 2008. Publicity is planned around the announcement of successful SMF recipients in February/March 2008. This will accelerate the number of community programmes directly contributing to sustainable action.
  7. A national advertising campaign, aimed at encouraging people to consider leaving their cars at home and share rides, cycle, walk and use public transport, will also be launched in April.
  8. The Ministry for the Environment will continue to hold regional forums on a regular basis to build momentum around sustainability. Two forums are already planned for early 2008 in partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council and New Plymouth District Council to feed into their long term community planning processes. A forum with a sustainable business focus will also be held in Christchurch in March/April 2008.
  9. Momentum around the sustainability challenge will continue to increase in February to April 2008 with a regional focus in the lead up to World Environment Day (5 June 2008). Some of the regional activities will leverage off the community outreach initiatives funded by the Ministry for the Environment such as the Sustainable Living and Ecokiwi programmes (see paragraphs 13-15).

May – July 2008

  1. New Zealand will host United Nations World Environment Day on 5 June 2008. Over 100 countries participate in and observe World Environment Day. The focus of the global celebrations will be on the solutions and the opportunities for countries, companies and communities to "Kick the habit" and foster low-carbon economies and lifestyles. This provides an opportunity to showcase New Zealand to the world. The Ministry will work with local government to develop regional events and activities associated with World Environment Day. At least 100 community events will be organised throughout the country. These events will be linked with the “steps” committed to by individuals and communities as part of the sustainability challenge.
  2. The celebrations will run for the whole week and peak with an announcement of national environmental sustainability awards. The Ministry for the Environment currently runs the Green Ribbon awards, presented on World Environment Day, that recognise the outstanding contributions made by individuals, organisations and businesses to sustaining, protecting and enhancing New Zealand’s environment. The Ministry is investigating opportunities to link the Green Ribbon Awards with other environment-related awards to provide a bigger international focus for the awards.
  3. A separate Cabinet paper will outline plans for World Environment Day and its funding implications. The celebrations are proposed to include: UNEP Core Activities (e.g. internationally renowned art exhibition), a domestic programme that draws largely on existing efforts (e.g. Green Ribbon) with some enhancements, resources for communities to allow NGOs, businesses, schools etc to 'do their own thing', and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to raise awareness off-shore.
  4. Screening the winning short films from the Outlook for Someday film challenge (sponsored under the sustainability strapline) at international film festivals in June/July 2008 is also being pursued. Over 220,000 tickets were sold during the 2007 international film festivals in New Zealand.

August – October 2008

  1. The Ministry for the Environment is working with other agencies, such as the Department of Building and Housing and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, to develop a plan for relevant cross-government collaboration at 2008/2009 Home Shows. A cross-government presence at Homes Shows enables efficient targeting of sustainability information directly to households and provides greater coherence to the government’s sustainability programmes. The expected reach of this initiative is greater than 100,000 people.
  2. The Ministry for the Environment is also investigating supporting an electric car to compete in the Dunlop Targa NZ Rally (October 2008) in partnership with corporate sponsors. Over 350,000 people watch the rally on television (nationally and internationally), and over 2,500 people are involved as competitors, car support crews, and spectators.
  3. It is expected during this time that 4 million steps will have been committed to as part of the sustainability challenge (one for every New Zealander) and publicity events to commemorate this milestone will be planned.
  4. Land Transport New Zealand is contributing content to a TVNZ programme that is intended to raise awareness of transport sustainability issues, which will go to air in mid-2008.
  5. The 2009/2010 funding round for the SMF opens in October 2008 with accompanying publicity and awareness raising activities.

Beyond 2008

  1. The national environmental sustainability awards will be an ongoing annual event on World Environment Day. Land Transport New Zealand is proposing to launch “sustainability in transport awards” in 2009. [withheld on the basis of commercial sensitivity]. Legacy and leverage opportunities for sustainable households are also being developed around the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Linkages with other initiatives

  1. The activities outlined in this paper fit within a broader picture of how the government is going to support households to take sustainable action by:
    1. Making change easier – The sustainability online portal, education programmes and information provision (e.g. at Home Shows) help inform people about the sustainable choices and steps they can take in waste, building, renovating, energy, water and transport. The eco-verification initiative will allow consumers to know which products and services meet standards for environmental sustainability. The recently launched Rightcar website provides environmental, fuel efficiency and safety ratings and comparisons for cars in New Zealand to car buyers.  The Land Transport New Zealand and the Accident Compensation Corporation ‘Future Fleet’ initiative showcases vehicle safety, sustainability and efficiency to fleet buyers. Revision of the Building Code will help improve the energy efficiency of homes. Housing New Zealand Corporation is promoting discounted energy efficiency light bulbs to their tenants. Access to recycling facilities in public places will enable householders to recycle when away from home, while product stewardship schemes will assist householders to dispose of specific products in an environmentally responsible manner.
    2. Giving the right signals – The emissions trading scheme provides price signals to reduce household energy and petrol/diesel consumption. The Vehicle Emissions Rule introduces new standards for vehicle emissions aimed at improving air quality. Mandatory standards and labelling of appliances with information about water efficiency (WELS) and energy efficiency (MEPS) encourages consumers to choose more energy efficient and water efficient products. The ENERGYWISE™ Homes’ loans and grants to retro-fit houses with insulation and solar water heating grants act as incentives to improve the energy efficiency of homes. The Home Energy Rating Scheme (HERS) is currently being developed to make New Zealanders aware of the energy performance of their houses. The scheme will make the right information available to enable people to make informed choices about what they want from their homes. A national waste levy will send a clear signal about the way New Zealand views waste, and shift the cost away from those who take responsible action to reduce waste, and onto those who do not.
    3. Getting people involved – Regional forums have been used to engage with local government, NGOs and the community to identify how to assist households to take sustainable action. Engagement through the business partnerships initiative is also relevant because business leaders and workers are also householders and they respond to the change in business conditions caused by changes in household behaviour. Some of the advice targeted to households will also be useful for small and medium enterprises (especially those not targeted by sector strategies under the business partnerships initiative) and some businesses and industry groups are also partners in delivering the Household Sustainability programme (such as Beacon Pathway Ltd). The sustainability challenge and [withheld on the basis of commercial sensitivity] will recruit households to take practical action.
    4. Government takes the lead- The government departments and agencies lead by example through the Govt3, carbon neutral public service and sustainable procurement initiatives.
  2. In addition, the Ministry of Education has developed a number of initiatives to support Education for Sustainability (EfS) in schools. Since publishing the soon to be revised Guidelines for Environmental Education in New Zealand Schools (1999), environmental education has evolved. Now called Education for Sustainability (to reflect the key goals of the United Nations Decade for Sustainable Development), the aim of EfS is to integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning. These aims also underpin the principles and values documented in the New Zealand Curriculum (2007).
  3. The Ministry of Education also funds a number of EfS programmes and initiatives including:
    1. The national team of Education for Sustainability (EfS) advisers, who provide support and advice to primary and secondary teachers and schools. The EfS advisers are regionally located in the School Support Services of the Universities’ Colleges and Faculties of Education.
    2. Matauranga Taiao (EfS advisory support in Maori medium schools)
    3. The development of Achievement Standards in Education for Sustainability under NCEA; and
    4. Significant financial support for Enviroschools.
  4. I envisage that the regional capability activities (see paragraph 35) will help link up these education initiatives with local government, community group and business-led sustainability projects in the regions and that the educational effort will support and encourage changes in behaviour.

Consultation

  1. The Ministry of Economic Development, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of Building and Housing, Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Transport, Land Transport New Zealand, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, and Housing New Zealand Corporation were consulted and concur with the contents of the paper.
  2. The Treasury does not have any comments on the paper, given that the paper does not have significant economic or fiscal implications.
  3. Consultation with local government on the proposed sustainability events and activities is intended after decisions are made.

Financial implications

  1. The proposed programme of events and activities will be funded from existing Department baselines. A separate Cabinet paper will address the funding implications associated with New Zealand hosting World Environment Day.

Human rights

  1. There are no inconsistencies with the Human Rights Act 1993.

Legislative implications

  1. There are no legislative implications.

Publicity

  1. Publicity associated with the 2008 events and activities is planned at this stage.

Recommendations

  1. The Minister for the Environment recommends that the Committee:
  1. note that in May 2007, the Cabinet Policy Committee invited the Minister for the Environment to report by 21 December 2007 with progress to date on developing and implementing the Household Sustainability Programme and more detailed options for working with local government and communities [POL Min (07) 10/16];
  2. note that the Sustainable Management Fund within Vote Environment was refocused and enhanced, a series of regional forums were held, a sustainability portal launched, a sustainability ‘strapline’ logo was developed, and a cross-government information and awareness raising programme implemented, and that these activities promote and facilitate sustainable action at the household level;
  3. note that the Ministry for the Environment will continue to work with local government and community groups to build regional capability in delivering sustainability programmes, and that officials from the Ministry for the Environment will investigate options for delivering Govt3 and carbon neutral public service- type programmes to local government;
  4. note that a gap has been identified by central government and local government in the current knowledge base to inform evidence-based policy and decision making in the Household Sustainability Programme;
  5. invite the Minister of Research, Science and Technology, with the Minister for the Environment, to consider options for addressing the gap in the knowledge base;
  6. note that the Household Sustainability Programme will reach a wider audience in 2008 through building partnerships with local government and community groups, the sustainability challenge, Home Shows, the WA$TED! television series, environmental sustainability awards, celebrations around World Environment Day, and other activities;
  7. agree that the Ministry for the Environment organise a series of events and activities in partnership with other agencies and departments, local government, community groups, and businesses leading up to World Environment Day 2008.

Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister for the Environment

Annex 1: Summary of proposed events and activities

December 2007 – January 2008

  1. Launch of the online sustainability portal.
  2. Launch of the sustainability challenge.
  3. Release of the state of the environment report, Environment New Zealand 2007.
  4. New mandatory point of sale Vehicle Fuel Economy Labelling scheme. 
  5. Roll out of a voluntary Home Energy Rating Scheme.
  6. Delivery of interest-free loans and grants for energy efficiency and clean heat upgrades.

February – April 2008

  1. Screening of the second series of the WA$TED! television series. A series of live shows leveraging off the television series are also being developed and are proposed to involve 30 schools in 20 centres.
  2. ‘Feet First Walk to School Week’.
  3. [withheld on the basis of commercial sensitivity].
  4. Bikewise Week featuring 35 ‘Go by bike days’, 26 ‘Mayoral challenges’, a ‘Business battle’, and 450 smaller events.
  5. A promotional campaign aimed at raising awareness of energy efficiency decision-making in the home.
  6. Publicity is planned around the announcement of successful Sustainable Management Fund (within Vote Environment) recipients in February/March 2008.
  7. A national advertising campaign, aimed at encouraging people to consider leaving their cars at home and share rides, cycle, walk and use public transport.
  8. Regional forums in partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council and New Plymouth District Council to feed into their long term community planning processes. A forum with a sustainable business focus will also be held in Christchurch.

May – July 2008

  1. New Zealand will host United Nations World Environment Day on 5 June 2008. At least 100 community events will be organised throughout the country.
  2. Announcement of national environmental sustainability awards.
  3. Screening the winning short films from the Outlook for Someday film challenge (sponsored under the sustainability strapline) at international film festivals is also being pursued.

August – October 2008

  1. Cross-government collaboration at 2008/2009 Home Shows.
  2. The Ministry for the Environment is also investigating supporting an electric car to compete in the Dunlop Targa NZ Rally in partnership with corporate sponsors.
  3. 4 million steps will have been committed to as part of the sustainability challenge (one for every New Zealander) and publicity events to commemorate this milestone will be planned.
  4. Land Transport New Zealand is contributing content to a TVNZ programme that is intended to raise awareness of transport sustainability issues, which will go to air in mid-2008.
  5. The 2009/2010 funding round for the SMF opens with accompanying publicity and awareness raising activities.

Beyond 2008

  1. National environmental sustainability awards will be an ongoing annual event. Land Transport New Zealand is proposing to launch “sustainability in transport awards” in 2009.
  2. [withheld on the basis of commercial sensitivity].
  3. Legacy and leverage opportunities for sustainable households are also being developed around the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Cabinet Decisions

POL Min (07) 28/22

On 12 December 2007, the Cabinet Policy Committee (POL):

  1. noted that in May 2007, POL invited the Minister for the Environment to report by 21 December 2007 with progress to date on developing and implementing the Household Sustainability Programme and more detailed options for working with local government and communities [POL Min (07) 10/16];
  2. noted that the Sustainable Management Fund within Vote Environment was refocused and enhanced, a series of regional forums were held, a sustainability portal launched, a sustainability ‘strapline’ logo was developed, and a cross-government information and awareness raising programme implemented, and that these activities promote and facilitate sustainable action at the household level;
  3. noted that the Ministry for the Environment will continue to work with local government and community groups to build regional capability in delivering sustainability programmes, and that officials from the Ministry for the Environment will investigate options for delivering Govt3 and carbon neutral public service- type programmes to local government;
  4. noted that a gap has been identified by central government and local government in the current knowledge base to inform evidence-based policy and decision making in the Household Sustainability Programme;
  5. invited the Minister of Research, Science and Technology, with the Minister for the Environment, to consider options for addressing the gap in the knowledge base;
  6. noted that the Household Sustainability Programme will reach a wider audience in 2008 through building partnerships with local government and community groups, the sustainability challenge, Home Shows, the WA$TED! television series, environmental sustainability awards, celebrations around World Environment Day, and other activities;
  7. agreed that the Ministry for the Environment organise a series of events and activities in partnership with other agencies and departments, local government, community groups, and businesses leading up to World Environment Day 2008.