Our environmental impact

We aim to achieve year-on-year improvements in our sustainable practices. We have an obligation to act sustainably, both as an organisation and as a service provider to the community.

One of the city’s key strategic goals – adopted as part of our vision, Wellington Towards 2040: Smart Capital – is to be an eco-city. To meet this goal, the Council is taking an environmental leadership role, proactively responding to environmental challenges and setting an example for others. This section provides an assessment of our corporate ‘environmental footprint’.

We have measured our performance using corporate sustainability indicators that follow Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.52 The indicators are:

greenhouse gas emissions
energy use
fuel use
water use
paper use
waste produced and recycled.

Greenhouse gas emissions

The corporate emission reduction targets adopted by the Council are:

Year 2003 2010 2020 2050
Target (against base year) Base year Stabilise
(0% increase)
-40% -80%

The Council’s corporate greenhouse gas inventory covers all of the activities of the Council and its Council-Controlled Organisations, in line with reporting requirements of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This includes emissions from water supply, stormwater and wastewater activities, as well as methane emissions generated by the collection and disposal of the community’s waste in Council-used landfills.

We will be engaging independent experts to review and audit our corporate greenhouse gas emissions. These audit results will be ready for public reporting in the 2013/14 Annual Report.

Energy useTop

We have undertaken a range of projects aimed at improving the energy efficiency of our operations which have achieved positive results. We have seen a decrease in both electricity and gas use from 2011/12 to 2012/13.53

However, weather is a key variable in our ‘business as usual’ electricity and gas usage and is a contributing factor to the decrease over the past year. For example, while we did some gas efficiency work, the majority of the reduction can be attributed to the reduced need for heating due to the exceptionally warm weather.

Our energy management plan has implemented many electricity savings measures; however the impact of those savings measures has been lessened by the increase in demand for air conditioning over summer. Overall usage has decreased, which is a positive result.

Corporate energy use

Year 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13
Electricity (kWh) 28,824,859 27,989,319 28,580,202 27,774,631
Gas (kWh) 19,515,668 17,394,927 17,583,849 15,875,753

Fuel useTop

There has been a declining trend in the use of fuel in our vehicles.

Since 2009/10, there has been a 28 percent reduction in petrol use and a 40 percent reduction in diesel use. These changes in petrol consumption can largely be attributed to the improvements in fleet management and utilisation, and procurement specifications of light vehicles. The decline in diesel use is largely due to changes in the landfill operations and confining the Council's bulk fuel reliance at the Southern Landfill to the composting operations. The bulk fuel volumes are set to reduce by 88 percent.

Corporate fuel use

Year 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13
Petrol (litres) 188,806 168,906 155,276 134,772
Diesel (litres) 726,469 699,257 653,282 434,468

Resource useTop

Water use has reduced by 4.8 percent in 2012/13 compared to 2009/10 however there was a slight increase from last year. This is mainly due to the drought conditions experienced and while there was a period where sportsfield irrigation stopped, it was not long enough to offset the extra usage up to that point.

Our paper use has steadily declined since 2009/10. We have continued to print more documents internally on demand, instead of completing large external runs. With regards to committee agendas we used to print 72 copies per meeting, and we now only print 46 copies. With the introduction of Council DashBoard – the Cloud-based solution to deliver meeting documents on iPads for the Mayor and Councillors we expect to see a further decline in the amount of printing required.

Corporate resource use

Year 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13
Water-use (m3) 511,117 517,970 466,706 487,428
A4 paper (reams) 18,225 16,042 15,118 7,36854

For 2012/13 the organisation produced 273.33 tonnes of waste of which 160 tonnes (58 percent) was recycled. Compared to the previous year our total waste has increased, however we have increased the amount we recycle – up 4 percent from last year.

Ongoing projectsTop

We have a range of projects that, subject to partner funding, will help reduce our environmental footprint further. These include:

53Data reported in the rest of this section is for Council owned and run properties only.
54We changed paper suppliers in December and to date the paper usage from January–June 2013 is not available. This figure represents our usage from July–December 2012.