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What the Regional Council is doing

To help towards the climate crisis we have we have declared a climate emergency and set a goal for the region to be carbon neutral by 2050. We've been getting our own house in order and changing how we operate to reduce our carbon footprint.

What climate action work is the Regional Council doing?

We have declared a climate emergency and set a goal for the region to be carbon neutral by 2050.

We’re already undertaking a wide range of actions through our current work.

Here are our active work programmes:

What we are doing to reduce emissions

  • Public transport – we manage the go Bay bus service to help Napier and Hastings locals reduce their carbon footprint and free up our roads, and the MyWay on-demand service in Hastings
  • Cycling - we support recreational and commuter cycling and walking with 200kms of Hawke’s Bay Trails, and we work with all Hawke’s Bay councils to connect with the iWay cycle network
  • Sustainable Homes – we support locals to have warm, dry homes that keep draughts out, reducing Hawke’s Bay’s energy use and making our whānau healthier
  • Getting our house in order (see below) – we’ve got a corporate sustainability programme to lower our own carbon footprint.

What we are doing to protect communities from a changing climate – resilience

  • Flood protection – in 2020 alone we invested over $12 million in flood protection infrastructure to protect our communities and industry 
  • Predator Free Hawke’s Bay works alongside the Regional Council on a region-wide predator control programme
  • Education- We support teaching and learning for a sustainable world in kindergartens and schools from Te Māhia in the north to Sherwood School in Central Hawke’s Bay
  • Environmental monitoring - we monitor our environment throughout Hawke’s Bay, checking that our water, air and climate are how we want them
  • Climate Action Network- we coordinate a CAN-do focused network of businesses and local councils to explore the challenges and opportunities of climate change.

What we are doing to drawdown carbon

  • Biodiversity - we work to protect and improve the variety of plants, animals and micro-organisms across 150,000 hectares of land, 6,700km of streams and 77 lakes
  • Protecting wetlands as part of our ecosystem prioritisation programme
  • Erosion Control Scheme – we work with farmers to plant trees and prevent erosion on highly vulnerable land. It’s estimated that about 252,000 hectares of Hawke’s Bay hill country is at high risk of erosion
  • Right Tree Right Place programme on marginal farmland to maintain and enhance the pastoral farming system.

Action over the next 10 years

We know that the actions we take over the next ten years will be critical to ensure our climate resilience as a region.

Here are some examples of what we have planned:

Our region is at a critical turning point.

Every year, thousands of tonnes of productive soil dislodge, and fall into our waterways destabilising the land, devastating estuarine habitat.

If we want to halt this, protect the land, and make it more resilient to climate change and an increase in volatile weather events, we need to plant trees in the right place.

We are looking at upscaling planting of trees on highly erodible land at pace.

We know planting trees is the single most effective short-term action to restore erosion prone areas, slow climate change and improve water quality.

Research into Hawke’s Bay residents attitudes towards climate change shows that 55% were prepared to pay more to minimuse climate change impacts, and the most supported initiative was tree planting to sequester carbon, and reduce erosion.

We consulted successfully in 2021 to create a Climate Action Ambassador, who began in this role in February 2022. Pippa is working to bring councils, mana whenua, youth and other key organisations together to plan and take sustained and collective action.

Wai, or freshwater, is a precious and finite resource, and is under increasing pressure from a range of sources. We are aiming to make sure Hawke’s Bay has long-term, climate resilient and secure supplies of freshwater for all.

We are urgently working on a comprehensive regional water security programme for Hawke’s Bay.

We are working with other councils and tangata whenua to manage and support community resilience against coastal hazard risks for the coast from Clifton to Tangoio.

Hundreds of people’s homes are located along the coast, and there is business, industry, roads, bridges, services, the Napier Port, and the Hawke’s Bay airport.

We’ve developed the 2120 Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazards Strategy and are working on management options to build protection and community resiliency along the coast.

 

What we are doing in our own offices

We know we need to walk the talk and be the leading organisation in getting to zero carbon, to bring our contractors, other councils and partners along with us on the journey in Hawke’s Bay.

We’re reviewing our greenhouse gas footprint, with the end goal of being carbon neutral by 2025, and are working towards implementing an accredited management system known as Toitū.

We have a comprehensive sustainability program across the Council.

Corporate transport

  • We have an EV first policy and now have seven EVs with five plug-in hybrids, one full EV, and one electric motorbike. We’ve also got two e-bikes for staff to use to get to meetings
  • We encourage staff to use video meetings instead of travelling. Where travelling is necessary it is offset with the AirNZ fly neutral programme which invests in local and pacific off-setting initiatives
  • We run safe driving campaigns and also monitor driver behaviour and speed - both of these have an effect on fuel use
  • 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

Energy

  • We’re going through our buildings and replacing lighting with LED lights
  • Our air conditioning is regulated by a sensor that tells it to only work on demand
  • All new computer monitors are energy efficient models
  • We monitor for spikes in energy use and conduct regular maintenance to avoid waste or inefficiency

Waste

  • 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 buy second-hand furniture, or buy furniture with recycled content, including carpet where we can
  • 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

Reduction in carbon emissions at our Dalton Street offices

Despite a significant increase in the number of staff over this period, you can see from this graph we have managed to reduce our carbon emissions quite substantially over the last 6 years.

Dalton St Offices Annual Gas + Elect Carbon Emissions Comparison June 20

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