Waste Management NZ Limited introduction
Waste Management is New Zealand’s leading resource recovery, recycling and waste management provider. We are a modern, progressive and professional operator, driven by the core values of safety, customer service and sustainability.
Our capabilities include: recycling and resource recovery; waste to energy initiatives; solid waste management; liquid and hazardous waste collection, treatment and disposal; the design and operation of many state-of-the-art waste management and recycling facilities nationwide.
Our facilities include: landfill and renewable energy parks; material recovery facilities; transfer stations; liquid, hazardous and medical waste processing facilities. Each facility features best practice environmental protection measures.
Our sustainability background
Our focus is on the future, the possibilities it holds, and ultimately the protection of it.
We provide a wide range of services to hundreds of thousands of public and private sector customers across New Zealand, managing their waste streams and supporting them in meeting their sustainability objectives.
In 2018 we created For Future Generations, our sustainability strategy, which outlines Waste Management’s commitment to practices that meet the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In it, we identified five key sustainability focus areas: our environment; our communities, our customers; our people; our business.
Each key area has a set of unique projects, towards which, collectively as a business, we will focus our energy and effort and report back annually. Each key area has also been reviewed to identify how it fits under the United Nationals Sustainable Development Goals, which New Zealand signed up to in 2015, and how we can provide a positive influence.
Our sustainability milestones
Waste Management has been committed to a reduction of our GHG emissions since 1998, with the installation of flares and renewable energy generators at our Redvale Landfill and Energy Park in Auckland.
More recently, we became one of the early signatories (July 2018) of the Climate Leaders Coalition, which now has 100 signatories, represents 60% of New Zealand’s gross emissions, employs nearly 180,000 people and makes up more than a third of private sector GDP. Our membership means we have committed to measuring and publicly reporting our
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, setting a public emissions reduction target and working with our suppliers to reduce their emissions.
We are also a founding member of the Sustainable Business Council and we have recently become the first company in the waste industry to be CEMARS (Certified Emissions Measurement & Reduction Scheme) certified.
We have been audited by CEMARS to measure our GHG emissions, and are creating reduction strategies based on this assessment. We are fully CEMARS accredited.
Our reduction activities include our electric vehicle programme, where so far we have transitioned a third of our light vehicle fleet to electric in order to reduce our carbon emissions. We have also developed an EV Innovation Hub to convert our diesel trucks to electric vehicles, and currently have nine operational EV trucks across New Zealand, with plans to increase this number to 20 by the end of 2019.
We also work to reduce our emissions at our landfill and energy parks across New Zealand, which have been recognised with a number of awards. We capture over 95% of landfill methane gas and turn it into electricity, with generation capacity to power 24,000 homes.
We also capture and treat leachate (the liquid component of the waste) from our landfills to protect the surrounding substrate.
30% of the material our customers generate and we collect is recycled and reused, around 200,000 tonnes every year.
Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill
At Waste Management we view all major decisions through an environmental lens, specifically prioritising the impact of our activities on GHG emissions, energy and water use, direct discharges and biodiversity.
We believe climate change is a major risk to our business, to New Zealand and to humanity. As such Waste Management supports the creation of a Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill to establish a framework within which New Zealand can develop climate change policies in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
This includes our support for:
embedding into law New Zealand’s support for the aspirational goal in the Paris Agreement for a limit of 1.5°C global temperature increase above pre-industrial levels;
New Zealand’s net emissions of greenhouse gases, other than biogenic methane, to be zero by 2050;
the establishment of five-year emission budgets; and,
the creation of an independent Climate Change Commission.
Through the Climate Leaders Coalition, Waste Management has already committed to reducing our GHG emissions to support New Zealand’s transition to a future low carbon economy.
We believe a bipartisan approach to supporting this bill is necessary to ensure long-term clear direction for New Zealand’s economy.
Long term predictability will support greater confidence in business investment, particularly in long term investments such as those by Waste Management. Facilitating a transition for New Zealand which generates the most value for our economy is essential.
1.5°C TARGET IN LAW
We support embedding the Paris Agreement 1.5°C target in law, providing a clear signal to New Zealand’s business community regarding New Zealand’s transition to a low carbon economy. Greater detail and specifics regarding the obligations of business to enable achievement of these reductions is essential.
2050 NET-ZERO TARGET
Waste Management supports the setting of net-zero emission targets which not only support the Paris Agreement, but aligns with our commitment contained within the Climate Leaders Coalition. Further, it will provide certainty and predictability for making our long term business decisions and investments.
We believe all sectors of the economy should be targeted, ensuring distribution and cost is spread evenly and fairly economy-wide.
CLIMATE CHANGE COMMISSION
Waste Management supports the establishment of an independent Climate Change Commission to provide robust specialist advice on emissions budgets.
We believe the commission needs to represent a broad cross-section of expertise, including te ao Māori to ensure the principles of Te Tiriti of Waitangi are interwoven into its work.
NATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE RISK ASSESSMENT AND NATIONAL ADAPTATION PLAN
Waste Management supports a National Climate Change Risk assessment and National Adaptation Plan.
However, short-term, disconnected decision-making, particularly in local government, can impact the ability of business to invest in solutions which support reduction in emissions.
Waste Management believes these plans should consider and allow for input from those who have the most significant responsibility for adaptation – including central government and local government, as well as businesses such as Waste Management (as one of many owners of critical infrastructure) as the organisations make investment and planning decisions regarding New Zealand’s essential long term assets.
Ongoing consultation with these businesses and government bodies will ensure the National Adaptation Plans are relevant and realistic.
EMISSION BUDGET SETTING
We support the proposed five-year emission budgets process, but believe the first budget period should start earlier than 2022. Setting an emission budget from 2020 would give more time for New Zealand to reduce its GHG emissions and supports business like ours which are already making significant inroads towards reducing emissions.
Waste Management believes that Government has an important role to ensure that the carbon budget process maintains a high level of transparency and oversight. It is critical, for example, that emissions and emission reductions are viewed in terms of a total system process, rather than a subset of only some of the steps in that system or process.
New initiatives or changes targeted at meeting carbon reduction goals must be evaluated against a ‘net carbon’ position, not just a benefit in one aspect or one dimension of the process being changed.
Within many public and commercial entities, for example, we see that the approach to reducing waste has become insular and disconnected from overall climate change impact, often resulting in changes that are targeted at only one dimension ‘waste diversion’ and disregard the net increases in carbon emissions that result from those changes.
In order to address these issues and to minimise the unintended consequence of increasing net carbon emissions, Waste Management submits that as a part of the process to introduce this legislation, all existing climate change and emissions reduction legislation should be amended to ensure that objectives and definitions are aligned with the objectives of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill.
Waste Management has been audited by CEMARS to measure our GHG emissions, and is creating reduction strategies based on this assessment. We are fully CEMARS accredited.
Our reduction strategies include our electric vehicle programme, where to date we have transitioned a third of our light vehicle fleet to electric in order to reduce our carbon emissions. We are also converting our diesel trucks to electric vehicles, and currently have nine operational EV trucks across New Zealand. We also continue to capture landfill gas at our landfill and energy parks, with over 95% of gas captured, which is turned into electricity, generating enough energy per day to power more than 24,000 homes.
Waste Management has had a decrease in operational emissions (which excludes landfills) by 1.5% from 58,233 tCO2e in 2017 to 57,374 tCO2e in 2018 through a focus on reducing air travel which led to a significant 18% reduction in flight emissions, in addition to having 10% of our 300 cars electric in 2018 leading to a 14% reduction in regular petrol emissions.
Despite these improvements, over time Waste Management anticipates an increase in overall emissions, specifically related to significant investments we will make to provide necessary landfills for the disposal of the community’s waste as our population continues to grow.
Waste Management’s view is that investment in essential infrastructure such as this will require special consideration by the Climate Change Commission with regards to our ability to achieve ongoing emission reductions over the period through to 2050.
Waste Management would suggest an appropriate measure that reflects our focus on reducing emissions, for example per capita, whilst supporting investment in infrastructure which enables sustainable growth for New Zealand business and industry.
At Waste Management we have taken significant steps to understand and adapt our business for the new reality posed by climate change. We are investing significantly in reducing our GHG emissions and view operating sustainably as core to the ongoing success of our business.
We’re taking action to keep our future positive and support the Government’s intent in the creation of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill.