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Our environmental contribution

Here at HBRC our team is committed to taking action and making change. Learn more about our contribution.

We're walking the talk

We know as an organisation we need to walk the talk. We’re aware of our impact and have a plan in place to achieve net zero carbon certification by 2025. We aspire to engage and motivate others on the journey to achieving a carbon neutral Hawke’s Bay by 2050.

What we are doing in our own offices

To track our progress we review our carbon footprint annually, and we’re taking actions to reduce our emissions.

Find out more about actions:

  • We have an EV first policy and are transitioning to petrol hybrids as we replace older fleet vehicles. Staff are actively looking for future charging site possibilities to accommodate EV growth.
  • Our fuel use is monitored and is decreasing over time, we are also transitioning away from diesel where we can. As the largest contributor to council's gross emissions, fuel use is a key focus.
  • All our vehicles are fitted with long-life tyres (60,000 km) to reduce waste. Monthly inflation checks help us to reduce wear and tear, and fuel use.
  • We encourage staff to use video meetings instead of travelling to other regions.  Due to this, we are seeing a reduction in year-on-year air travel. Where air travel is taken, it’s offset with the AirNZ fly neutral programme which invests in local and global off-setting initiatives.
  • We're reducing energy consumption of our facilities through staff education and replacing equipment with more efficient alternatives as we're able through maintenance schedules.
  • We use LED lighting in our buildings and our air conditioning only works on demand.
  • We monitor for spikes in energy use and conduct regular maintenance to avoid waste or inefficiency.
  • We have a glass milk bottle service that takes around 1,000 2L plastic bottles out of use annually.
  • Our recycling service and worm farm reduces waste going to landfill.
  • We use a refill service for kitchen supplies to reduce plastic bottles going to waste (dishwash liquid and powder, sanitiser spray).
  • We've reduced paper towel/napkin use by introducing washable reusable towels.
  • We use carbon neutral, sustainably sourced paper and the majority of our council agenda 'papers' have gone digital.
  • We provide staff with a ‘Sustainable Corner’ where we re-purpose loose containers, bottles, and keep-cups for staff to use to reduce the use of single use plastic.
  • We recycle and dispose of redundant IT equipment through e-waste providers.

The key contributors to our carbon footprint are fuel, energy use and air travel.  Whilst our carbon emissions have been decreasing over time, we are now establishing a more strategic approach to our biggest emissions contributor, fuel. The focus on this approach will be to reduce overall fleet emissions through annual replacement schedules without impacting the services we provide.

See the Corporate Carbon Footprint sections in our Organisation Performance Reports.

Waitangi Reserve Marley Miki 13With a large amount of land under our management in parks, trails, rivers and lakes, the Regional Council has a significant number of carbon credits gained from trees we have planted over time.    

While we are not yet certified by an independent third party, we estimate we are more than able to offset our emissions through our existing plantings.  We are in the process of developing a carbon trading policy document and aim for our organisation to be certified carbon neutral by 2025.

Internationally, we know that greenhouse gas emissions from Information Communication Technology (ICT) account for around 2% of emissions. In 2022, we engaged Resilio and locally based Mōhio to review the sustainability of our ICT systems and practices to estimate our environmental impact and suggest improvements.

As a result of this review, in 2023 we will be introducing the following actions:

  • In house 3D printing of phone protection cases  to avoid emissions from transport and packaging, and reduce cost
  • Increasing the lifespan of our ICT equipment from 3 to 4 years
  • Introducing energy save mode for computers
  • Using secondhand equipment for replacement keyboards and mice
  • Repurposing all ICT equipment that is no longer in use through the Digital Wings programme avoiding landfill
  • Turning off computers and equipment at night or for long periods of inactivity
  • Installing devices for automatic shut down and energy save mode
  • Annual tree planting that matches the trees used in printer paper.

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