Port Nelson steps up to business group targeting transformation to low-emission economy

Port Nelson has joined 108 other organisations pledging their support to help reduce emissions in New Zealand.

The Climate Leaders Coalition is a collective of signatories who make up 60 per cent of New Zealand's gross emissions, nearly a third of private sector GDP, and employ more than 170,000 New Zealanders. 

Since it was launched in July 2018, 109 chief executives have so far signed the original joint statement to take voluntary action on climate change.

By signing the statement, each organisation has committed to measuring and reporting their greenhouse gas emissions, setting targets and working with suppliers to reduce emissions, to help keep global warming within 2°C.

Additionally, all Coalition members supported the Paris Agreement and New Zealand's commitment to it, the introduction of a Climate Commission and carbon budgets enshrined in law. 

PNL environmental officer Kelly Leonard said joining the Climate Leader Coalition seemed a logical step as we have already been reporting on our emissions for a few years and have targets in place for emission reduction.

"There is a real synergy between our aspirations in operating in an environmentally sustainable manner, ensuring we play our part towards reducing the effects of climate change and what this group stands for. The collective and collaborative effect we can have on the reduction of New Zealand's GHG emissions is significant". 

Outgoing Port Nelson chief executive Martin Byrne said the organisation had always made strong environmental considerations in its operations so its great to be a member of a collective of likeminded, forward-thinking organisations that face similar challenges. 

According to Ministry for the Environment data, New Zealand's gross greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 were 80.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Compared to 1990, this was a 23.1 per cent increase in emissions.

Between 2016 and 2017 gross emissions increased by 2.2 per cent, mainly from an increase in emissions from road transport and fossil fuel generated electricity production.

Port Nelson had already demonstrated its commitment to emission reductions as the first New Zealand port to become ISO14001 certified in 2007. and continued to undergo stringent annual audits to maintain this certification. 

"Maintaining the ISO14001 standard has evolved during this period, most recently with the release of the 2015 edition," Leonard said 

"ISO14001 accreditation is the highest standard for Environmental Management Systems currently achievable.  It has a continuous improvement component and this makes some aspects of certification more challenging, but helps to ensure better environmental outcomes in each recertification cycle."

Other sustainability initiatives included replacing plant and vehicles with hybrid and electric alternatives, upgrading electrical infrastructure to more energy efficient options, increasing water capture capacity and replacing existing yard lighting with LED lighting. 

As well as this, Port Nelson's warehousing and distribution business QuayConnect had made significant sustainability efforts to successfully halve truck journeys between Nelson and Marlborough. 

 - Stuff

TIM O’CONNELL

Last updated 08:23, Jul 29 2019