Action on climate change: What organisations are doing

Many New Zealand organisations are taking action on climate change. Read some of their stories.

Finalists in the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards 2019

Smarter transport category

We need to move away from from fossil fuels towards low carbon, efficient and people-focused transport solutions.

Businesses doing great things in this space include these finalists in the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards 2019.  

Read about their initiatives on the NZI Sustainable Business Network website.

Revolutionising energy category

We all need to reduce our carbon emissions.

Businesses doing great things in this space include these finalists in the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards 2019.  

Read about their initiatives on the NZI Sustainable Business Network website.

More stories

The Warehouse Group

The Warehouse Group became a carboNZeroCertTM certified organisation on 15 February.  

The Warehouse Groups says on its website:

"We’re the largest company in New Zealand – and only the third major retailer globally - to be carbon neutral."

We’re doing this because we care about the health of our people, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the planet.

We are committed to this journey. Our target is to reduce emissions by 32 percent by 2030 (from our 2015 base level). This is in keeping with the target of staying within 2⁰C of warming, based on pre-industrial levels, set by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

It’s a big challenge, and a daunting one, but we’re excited by the opportunity to do our bit for the decarbonisation of the New Zealand economy. We are in a unique position to influence change around how we manage carbon emissions, particularly among our customers and suppliers. We all need to work together for the wellbeing of everyone and we hope you will join us on this journey."

Read more on The Warehouse Group website

Contact Energy

Contact Energy, one of our largest electricity generators, has a decarbonisation strategy to help tackle climate change. It has reduced its greenhouse emissions by 50 per cent over the past five years.

With Contact's long-life renewable generation assets now producing around 80 per cent of the electricity it delivers to households and businesses in New Zealand, Contact has been able to have its borrowing programme certified green by CBI. This is part of its focus on innovation.

In August 2017 Contact introduced a $1.8 billion Green Borrowing Programme, which gives investors the opportunity for the first time to invest in certified Green Debt Instruments issued by a New Zealand company. 


Countdown has released its first report that aligns its corporate social responsibility work with its sustainable development goals. It has made a wider corporate commitment to reduce its carbon emissions to 10 percent below 2015 levels.

Its carbon emissions dropped by 12 per cent in the 2017 financial year compared with the previous year. The company is minimising food waste to landfill as it decomposes and emits carbon, and is looking at refrigerants that emit less carbon. Emissions are already down 18 per cent on last year’s emissions.

New Zealand Post

New Zealand Post is rolling out 500 fully electric delivery vehicles to reduce the carbon footprint of the mail it delivers.

With assistance from EECA’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, The mail business has also recently purchased five electric vans for its courier fleet. The vans will help assess suitability for a wider roll out.

A total of $15 million has been set aside for the purchase of electric vehicles over the next two years.

Wellington Zoo

Wellington Zoo was the first Zoo in the world to be carboNZero certified.

The installation of 48 solar panels on the front entrance building helps save the same amount of power as one and a half average households per year.

The zoo also has a tree planting programme to suck up emissions and it buys carbon credits for carbon emissions that they can’t reduce completely. The carbon credits help regenerate native forest in the Pigeon Bush reserve. This provides more habitats for our native animals by connecting Rimutaka and Tararua Conservation Parks. The zoo also have a poop composting scheme.

Ports of Auckland

Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson says "We have set ourselves the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025 and having zero emissions by 2040”.

The company recently completed the first step toward that goal by accurately measuring its emissions and developing a plan to reduce them. It is the first port in New Zealand to become a CEMARS (Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme) certified organisation.

It has measured direct and indirect emissions associated with the business and those of subsidiaries (diesel and electricity usage, air travel etc). In the 2017 financial year it generated 16,208.47 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e). To reduce that total it has created an emissions management and reduction plan which sets out the projects and interim targets that will enable the delivery of the long term goal of a zero emissions port by 2040.


Apparelmaster, a family owned Auckland laundry and work-wear rental company has decreased its carbon footprint by 14 per cent and its water consumption efficiency has improved by 15 per cent.

The company achieved Gold Certification from Instep, a carbon certification programme, following completion of its third annual greenhouse gas emissions profile. It reviewed and refined its processes to reduce water and heat use in their plant, and has invested in more efficient technology.

It has also started using bio-diesels on-site and in its fleets to reduce emissions and is using GPS tracking to maximise fleet routes, so less miles driven.

Waste Management NZ

Waste Management NZ Ltd has opened New Zealand’s first workshop dedicated to converting diesel trucks to electric vehicles.  The company received $500,000 towards the venture from the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund administered by EECA.

The company expects to convert 20 of its diesel trucks into electric vehicles over the next two years. It has more than 850 trucks and 200 cars on the road.

Managing Director Tom Nickels sees an electric future for the company. “We believe the majority of the Waste Management fleet will be suitable for the application of EV technology.”

It’s first three trucks were converted in the Netherlands by EMOSS, an electric powertrain and transport company.

The business has now completed its first conversion in its own workshop. This is a full electric ‘box body’ truck, which will be used to collect medical waste from Auckland Hospital.  Two more electric waste collection prototype trucks from EMOSS will arrive in the next month.

Tom Nickels says each electric truck will save 125 litres of diesel a day. The stop-start nature of a waste collection truck, with up to 1,200 pick-ups per day for a Side Load service, makes this the perfect use for electric rather than diesel power.

Waste Management turned to electric power in 2000 after attempts to power its truck fleet with methane gas generated from its landfills ran into technical hitches.

The company is the largest producer of renewable energy in Auckland and the largest generator of energy from waste in New Zealand.

The workshop for electric conversion will be made available to other non-waste companies to convert their fleets.

New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre

The New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre is developing practical solutions and new ideas to help solve New Zealand’s and the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) problem.

In partnership with Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium, the centre has a number of solutions in the pipeline with some at the pilot stage and one already in discussions with commercial partners.

Potential solutions include development of methane inhibitors and vaccines for animals that directly target methane-producing methanogens, breeding low GHG animals, low emission feeds and increasing carbon storage in pastoral soils.

These novel solutions would also help New Zealand agriculture become even more efficient in producing food than it already is. Based on latest figures, GHG emissions from agriculture have increased by 12 per cent over 1990 levels, while total dairy production nearly tripled, beef increased by almost 50 per cent and lamb production increased slightly despite ewe numbers being reduced by half. These efficiency gains have already made an important contribution to limiting New Zealand’s GHG emissions – without them, emissions from agriculture would have increased by more than 40 per cent.

While the improved productivity achieved by New Zealand farmers is addressing a portion of the GGH problem, it’s not enough to reduce the absolute amount of agricultural GHGs being produced. And yet, emissions from all sectors have to be reduced to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit overall warming to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

That’s why the work of the centre is so critical. A government funded consortium of nine Crown Research Institutes (CRIs), universities and industry bodies, it was formed in 2009 to ensure we meet our international greenhouse gas emissions obligations without reducing agricultural output.

The centre is a key supporter of the New Zealand government’s investment in the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA). The GRA was formed in 2009 bringing together 50 countries to collectively find and share ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions.

This includes work such as increasing soil carbon content through manipulating carbon inputs to stabilise and enhance stocks. And giving farmers tools to quantify soil carbon content and model how changes in their management will affect that.

Research has shown that specific management practices and farm systems are already enabling profitable, practical and low GHG emitting sheep, beef and dairy farm systems.

Z Energy

Eight years ago, New Zealand company Infratil Limited and the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation got together and bought a global company’s New Zealand downstream fuel business.

Z Energy (Z) is New Zealand’s largest transport energy company, supplying around 45 per cent of New Zealand’s total fuel needs across the Z and Caltex networks.

Z Energy’s guiding statement: to ‘solve what matters for a moving world’ has very clear applications to its sustainability journey which started in 2011, with a long list of targets to clean up its back yard, and to provide low-carbon solutions to customers.

Since then, Z has:

  • installed LED lighting in retail sites
  • installed the country’s largest public-place recycling scheme on its forecourts
  • introduced fully compostable coffee cups
  • built a sustainable bio-diesel plant in South Auckland
  • installed reticulated water recyclers in our carwashes
  • installed electric vehicle fast-charging stations on its retail sites
  • invested in Mevo, an electric car-sharing company
  • banned single-use plastic bags from its sites
  • led the conversation on how New Zealand businesses can tackle climate change.

Z has long been on the record as believing in the science of climate change and taken material steps towards decarbonising both its own and its customers’ activities.

Z Energy has committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2020, and offsetting those it is unable to avoid.

“We are committed to moving from being a part of the climate change problem to the heart of the solution,” says Head of Sustainability Gerri Ward.

“We will be bold and provide leadership and a range of solutions to enable our customers, stakeholders and communities to join us on the journey to a low carbon future.”

Z’s view is that reducing emissions in all sectors requires coherent, predictable government policies that match the new global ambition. This will need to include efforts to support the path towards a global price that is supported by a linked emissions market, enduring and long-term political accord to encourage and stimulate alternative energy investment, and a meaningful price on carbon that will engender real behavioural change.  

“Our view is that New Zealand is now more able to afford to take meaningful action on climate change, and the scientific impetus as to why this matters means New Zealand can no longer afford not to take meaningful action,” says Gerri.

Auckland International Airport

Auckland International Airport has developed an emissions management and reduction plan to reduce the amount of energy consumed on the airport campus by 20 per cent by 2020.

Steps include:

  • replacing equipment like air conditioning systems with the most efficient new technology
  • replacing most of the lights in the terminals with light-emitting diodes (LED)
  • connecting these LED lights to energy-saving smart controls that adjust the amount of lighting generated based on natural light levels and the number of people in an area like a gate lounge
  • installing solar panels on the roof of our international terminal and office buildings to generate solar power
  • installing ground power units on all international gates. These allow aircraft preparing for their next flight to turn off their on board auxiliary power units which run on jet fuel and plug into low-carbon local electricity
  • adopting a fleet of rechargeable vehicles.

For more see the Auckland International Airport website.

Ngāi Tahu Farming

Ngāi Tahu Farming is a leader in driving positive change in the agriculture sector. It aims to improve the environmental, social, cultural and economic outcomes of its operations through best practice.

Ngāi Tahu Farming’s approach is underpinned by its philosophy: Toitū te Marae o Tāne, Toitū te Marae o Tangaroa, Toitū te Iwi - When land and water are sustained, the people will prosper.

People’s actions must therefore protect the life-giving capacity of the environment to ensure future generations can live, work and provide for their families.

The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are incorporated into Ngāi Tahu Farming’s practices.

In its dairy operations, Ngāi Tahu Farming has reduced its stock rate from 3.8 cows per hectare to 3.2 per hectare while improving productivity.

Ngāi Tahu Farming has also planted around 45,000 hectares of mostly natives to provide a long-term carbon sink, native bird corridors, shelter belt and water quality benefits. This is in addition to the carbon sink provided by its forestry asset.

Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland War Memorial Museum became, in 2011, the first museum in the world to achieve a Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme (CEMARS) certification.

It has customised its air conditioning system to meet specific environmental conditions for each part of the building in an energy efficient way and installed solar panels to power the museum on its roof.

Carbon emissions have been cut by 31 per cent in the past two years and the amount of waste going to landfill reduced by 32 per cent in the last year due to a comprehensive waste and recycling system. Staffs are educated about energy and water usage and get to see real-time savings from renewable energy sources.

Toyota NZ

Toyota NZ aims to reduce its emissions by 90 per cent from 2010 levels by 2050. One way it is doing so is by actively promoting the adoption of hybrid technology as a way of reducing fuel usage and carbon emissions.

Toyota is the New Zealand leader in the sale of hybrid vehicles to reduce fuel consumption with 40 per cent of its Lexus sales being hybrid models.

It is also committed to importing plug-in hybrid Prius models while it works on making new plug-in technology more accessible in NZ.

Toyota NZ measures its carbon footprint under the Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme (CEMARS) approach and sets targets and initiatives to reduce carbon. “To make sure we are getting somewhere a biennial SDR is published to report progress.”

Fujitsu NZ

Fujitsu NZ has committed to decarbonise so it is carbon neutral by 2050.  It has office electricity targets and measures office electricity consumption, which is expressed in terms of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). 

It is also determined to drive down CO2e derived from business travel and has invested in telecommuting, green vehicles, and policies, processes and staff subsidies for public transport.

All sites under Fujitsu control in New Zealand purchase 100 per cent renewable energy. With data centres representing 97 per cent of its carbon emissions, Fujitsu makes significant investments in state of the art data centre facilities that are industry leading in efficiency performance.

Enviro-mark solutions

Enviro-mark solutions grades and independently certifies SMEs and corporates who aim to be carbon zero.

It’s seeing more and more companies getting certification, in-part because procurement and tender processes are increasingly asking for credentials in emissions.

The process also creates savings for companies and quickly proves valuable. Enviro-mark solutions would probably offer an interesting perspective on why Kiwi businesses are seeking certified evidence of their work more and more.