Welcome to our two weekly review of energy and environmental events and developments from both here in New Zealand and around the world. As always, we hope you find our collection of articles to be of interest in what continues to be a rapidly evolving area.
Pure Advantage have completed a survey showing a high proportion of NZers have the appetite required to effect change and reduce emissions.
Seven in ten Kiwis are comfortable with the current reduction targets that have been set. One in five think our emission reduction targets are not ambitious enough, with under 35’s in particular wanting strong and accelerated reduction of carbon.
The NZ Super fund is actually making efforts to reduce carbon, allocating 40% of its portfolio to low carbon strategies and hoping to reduce its emission intensity by 20% by 2020. It’s a decision based on long term risk evaluation of their whole portfolio.
Other major European Investors are also working to lower carbon in their portfolios.
Interest in sustainable investing has grown, rising 33% between 2014-2016. Leading the change, 75% of millennials say their investments can influence climate change. Half of all investors believe sustainable investing requires a financial trade-off, but research shows risk adjusted rates of return are achievable, and comparable to the “norm”.
The energy market is quickly changing. The presence of technologies such as solar and wind energy, coupled with new battery technologies, allows communities or even individuals to be energy suppliers. Carterton, NZ, may soon be paving the way with a community owned solar farm that could save co-op members up to 50% of their electricity costs.
Not to be outdone by Carterton, the Wellington area has gained the first recycling plant for PET plastics in NZ, which is a timely development since China announced that it will no longer import recycled materials. The plant will have the capacity to process 6000 tonnes, while we currently import 20,000 tonnes and only recycle about 8,000 tonnes.
While NZ may be moving ahead in some areas of sustainability, we are still way behind in others. Professor Ralph Sims puts forward a strong case for increasing investment to decarbonise our transport sector, using Scandinavian nations for comparative purposes.
Why keep buying and throwing things away, when you can rent and return? The consumption of household goods in western society is now at its upper limit. We have moved away from the days of repairing things, instead throwing them away and buying new ones. This wasteful practice needs to stop, and the sharing economy model can help get us there.
Organisations can also make a big difference in shifting towards a circular economy. Rather than buying raw materials for production, investing in circular processes is shown to provide a boost in customer trust, organisational efficiency and cost savings. This article shows 5 in-depth examples of organisations adopting circular processes and the benefits they have observed as a result.
Annually, Americans contribute around 20 billion disposable nappies to landfills, each of which can take up to 500 years to degrade. One couple, feeling ashamed of their contributions, decided to make a change. While cloth nappies are a greener alternative, the energy and water costs were still high. They instead opted for a completely diaper free option called “Elimination Communication” to manage their third child’s bowel movements.
Thanks for taking the time to read this issue and we look forward to catching up with you again. If you have any items of interest you would like to submit, then please feel free to forward them.