Thursday 12th July 2018
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A group of 60 businesses who've signed up to a new climate change initiative will tackle problems shared along their supply chains rather than continue to go it alone.
The new Climate Leaders Coalition - whose signatories include Z Energy, Fonterra Cooperative Group and Westpac New Zealand to name a few - represent almost half of New Zealand's emissions and their buy-in in reducing the nation's carbon footprint and meeting the government's goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Spearheaded by Z Energy chief executive Mike Bennetts, who is already preparing his transport fuels company for a future without fossil fuels, the 60 CEOs have signed up to a commitment to measure and report their emissions and work with their suppliers to reduce emissions in an effort to limit global warming within two degrees as set by the Paris Agreement.
Bennetts said he doesn't want to cut across work by other groups, such as the Sustainable Business Council, and wants to emulate the success of the Business Leaders' Health & Safety Forum, where firms got together to take meaningful steps to reduce the level of workplace harm.
"There's a whole range of things we could collectively do, and instead of Z doing the odd thing, Z combining its resources with potentially up to 60 other companies means we can do more in a more targeted way than each of us going off and doing a little bit of everything," Bennetts said.
For Z, the signatories offer some obvious supply chain tie-ups such as jet fuel buyer Air New Zealand, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports, transport and logistics firms TIL Logistics, Freightways and Toll, and carmaker Toyota to name a few.
The 2017 Statistics New Zealand/Ministry for the Environment report 'Our atmosphere and climate' showed local greenhouse gas emissions rose a gross 24 percent between 1990 and 2015, most of which happened before 2005, largely from increased road transport and agricultural production. It was higher on a net basis at 64 percent due to higher logging rates.
New Zealand's government is currently consulting on the Zero Carbon Bill, which proposes sharp emissions reductions by 2050, led by Climate Change Minister James Shaw.
Over the weekend, the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund Group, which counts the New Zealand Superannuation Fund as a member, unveiled a new framework offering guidance for long-term investing and asset ownership in relation to climate change.
Victoria University school of geography, environment and earth sciences professor James Renwick said the group of business leaders had the potential to make a "significant difference" to reducing emissions and is part of a welcome shift by in sectors including agriculture to meet the 2050 goal.
"The CLC group is responsible for a sizable fraction of the country’s emissions of carbon dioxide, from transport, energy production, and industrial use of fossil fuels," Renwick said. "These are the sectors where emissions growth has been fastest in the past two decades, so it’s exciting to see businesses tacking emissions in this area."
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