Our environmental contribution
As an organisation, Environment Canterbury is conscious of its own carbon footprint. We continue to work to reduce our organisation’s greenhouse gas emissions, and to manage our 2,700 hectares of forestry which provide a significant carbon sink (natural systems that suck up and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere).
Taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Examples of actions we are taking as an organisation to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions include:
We encourage the use of alternative, low carbon transport options to our staff and to the community, such as cycling and public transport. We have added electric bikes and electric scooters as another way for Environment Canterbury staff to get to meetings in other parts of the city.
We currently lease five electric vehicles (EVs) from Yoogo, all staff have access to the shared EV fleet at The Crossing, and we have budgeted to start purchasing our own EVs in 2019-20, with an aim of having 50% of our passenger vehicles being pure electric by 2022.
We are in the process of upgrading our fleet vehicles to have copper-free brake pads. Having copper-free brake pads will help to reduce the amount of copper and other metals that end up on the road as ordinary brake pads wear down, and then get washed into streams and rivers.
The Environment Canterbury council chair signed a letter, sent to the Associate Minister for the Environment in July 2017, calling for a levy on single-use plastic bags, alongside over 60 other Mayors and Chairs of local government organisations across New Zealand. Since then, a total ban has been announced by the government, with all single-use bags to be phased out before the end of 2019. Read more on the LGNZ website.
At Environment Canterbury, we are conscious of being efficient and having minimal waste when it comes to printing. We have our own in-house digital print service and print on-demand; meaning we can print in smaller volumes, be flexible and adapt to changes, carry minimal amounts of stock (which removes the risk of deterioration to paper stock) – all of which contributes to having as little waste as possible. We also plan to introduce new printing software in 2019 which should reduce our printing waste significantly.
Our floor printers use carbon neutral, 20% recycled copy paper. We also use “Follow-me” printing, which reduces instances of people sending documents to print and then leaving them on the printer.
Any printing we outsource is produced with stringent requirements. Our region-wide campaigns, such as our “Living Here” mailout, are printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved paper, harvested from sustainable resources and partly recycled.
Another way we consider the environment is through recycling the material we use. A number of our billboards have been made into “bean bags”, now used as pull-up seats for informal desk meetings, and our pull-up banners are often recycled and/or reused for other campaigns.