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Reduce your carbon footprint

‘Greenhouse’ gases are gases that contribute to climate change – and carbon dioxide is the most prevalent of these. The ‘carbon footprint’ of your business is the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases produced as a result of your operations.

Some businesses have larger carbon footprints than others, for example due to the amount of fossil fuels they use, the way they deal with waste, or the scale of their operations.

Customers, communities and governments around the world are increasingly concerned about the impact of climate change – as a result, many companies are working actively to reduce their carbon footprint.

The good news is that you can generally save money (e.g. lower fuel costs) when reducing your carbon footprint.

CO2 emissions reduction in action

Air New Zealand has reduced its carbon emissions by 15%, avoiding 142,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. As well as improving fuel efficiency, it is using biofuels in its ground fleets. Air New Zealand won the 2012 EECA Supreme Award. Read the media release.

Golden Bay Cement has cut CO2 emissions by 58,000 tonnes per year and is saving $3m a year, as a result of substituting nearly a third of the coal burned in its kiln for wood fuel sourced from waste. Read more.

Why reduce your carbon footprint?

Many customers, including those in international markets, are increasingly looking for products and suppliers with strong environmental policies, and smaller carbon footprints. As large corporates start implementing sustainability policies to reduce their carbon emissions, they in turn start requiring better environmental performance from companies that supply them.

If your business can demonstrate good environmental practice and progress on reducing carbon emissions, you’re likely to have a stronger competitive position.

Even if you don’t think that is important, by aiming to reduce your carbon footprint you can also save money.

Energy use and CO2 reduction

Energy use in New Zealand produces 44% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions (of which transport fuel use accounts for around half).1

Different energy types in New Zealand emit different amounts of greenhouse gases. Fossil fuels such as coal, diesel, petrol, LPG and natural gas create more CO2 emissions than electricity, because most electricity in New Zealand is generated from renewable sources. In general, focusing your efficiency efforts on on transport will do a lot more to reduce your carbon footprint than focusing on electricity; but you can probably save money in both areas.

There are two equally important ways to reduce your carbon footprint; use energy efficiently, and choose renewable (or lower carbon) fuels where possible. Good energy and fuel management is an effective way to reduce your company’s carbon footprint and reduce costs at the same time. Find out how to start managing energy.

Switching from non-renewable to renewable sources of energy can have a profound impact on the size of your carbon footprint. Find out more about using renewable energy.

The main sources of greenhouse gas emissions from businesses vary depending on the sector they operate in and the technologies they use. Find energy management advice specific to your industry.

Help from EECA

Funding and support:

 

EECA offers a range of funding assistance to help businesses improve their energy management or switch to renewable energy.

We also help fund a range of training courses for commercial building and industrial energy efficiency, and can run facilitated Energy Diagnostic sessions with your business to help you get started with energy management.

Find out about EECA's funding and support.

 

Tools and resources:

 

Browse EECA’s case studies and guides or use our online calculators.

Related links:

 

The Ministry for the Environment - read about the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)

Note:
1
http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate/greenhouse-gas-inventory-2012/greehouse-gas-inventory-2012.pdf