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).  

Public transport

Taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 

Examples of actions we are taking as an organisation to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions include:

Tuam street office
Environment Canterbury’s Tuam Street office, which was completed in April 2016, is heated by a heat exchange unit, using artesian water pumped through the building. 100 per cent of water abstracted from the aquifer is discharged back into to the aquifer, hence there is no net water consumption from the aquifer for heating or for cooling. 
Low-carbon transport

We encourage the use of alternative, low carbon transport options to our staff and to the community, such as cycling and public transport. Electric bikes have recently been added as another way for Environment Canterbury staff to get to meetings in other parts of the city.

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.

Single-use plastic bags levy

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.

International experience has shown the introduction of levies can be effective and in countries like Denmark, Ireland and China, have led to a dramatic reduction in plastic bag use. A levy could play an important role in helping New Zealand’s efforts to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover waste. Read more on the LGNZ website.

Printing efficiency

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 on the fly, 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.

Our floor printers use carbon neutral, 20% recycled copy paper. We are currently investigating a move to “Follow-me” printing, which will further reduce instances of people sending documents to print and then leaving them on the printer.

Any printing we outsource is up against stringent requirements. Our region wide campaigns, such as “Living Here”, are printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved paper only – 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.

Also, a number of our pull-up banners are recycled by our digital print services team and reused for other campaigns. Old printed stock is often cut down and often made into notepads for staff use.