Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Corporate environmental sustainability

Brent Mowbray, Stuart OIiver & Sue Taylor on a waste audit. Image - Anouk Wanrooy

Brent Mowbray, Stuart OIiver & Sue Taylor on a waste audit. Image - Anouk Wanrooy

GOAL: Landcare Research continues to be recognised as a leader in corporate sustainability in New Zealand.

We have continued our long-standing commitment to continual improvement in managing our environmental performance and corporate sustainability. This year we further reduced air travel and our energy consumption, which has fl ow-on benefits for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and number of carbon credits needing to be purchased to retain our externally-audited, carboNZero certification. Another significant achievement has been to reduce paper consumption still further. These achievements have been largely facilitated by sophisticated technological improvements. High staff focus on sorting waste streams has further reduced waste sent unnecessarily to landfill.

We report comprehensively on all aspects of our environmental performance on our sustainability webpages.

Reduced energy consumption

Our electricity consumption increased slightly this year although our total energy use decreased. In 2012/13 at our Lincoln site, we disconnected a significant portion of the Godley Building and Herbarium from Plant & Food Research’s coal-fired boiler, and installed a HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system. This is not only more cost effective to run and with significantly reduced CO2 emissions, but it provides much better climate conditioning to the herbarium vaults and keeps office spaces warmer in winter. This year was the first full year under the new system. Part of the increased electricity use is attributed to the recently-commissioned Beever Plant Pathogen Facility, which is now fully operational.

Reduced travel

Travel is an integral part of our operations – for fieldwork, scientific conferences, stakeholder meetings and workshops, and to manage operations across our multisite organisation and help ensure staff feel connected to our organisation and culture. However, the benefits of travel need to be optimised against cost and greenhouse gas emissions. While we maintain our focus on 'travel only when necessary', the successful rollout of MS Lync on all PCs has contributed to our reduced air travel this year. The new technology is immediately accessible and simple to use. It has been readily adopted by staff as it enables faceto- face discussion (more friendly than phone calls), and formal and informal meetings between Landcare Research staff and with external parties without having to leave one’s desk. And importantly staff at different sites can discuss and work on the same document together online. MS Lync has been adopted by many of our stakeholder partners, facilitating online meetings and informal discussions rather than travelling to meet in person.

Reduced paper usage

We introduced a new approach to how staff print documents to multi-function copiers-printers-scanners, with significantly improved scanning capability. In addition, improvements to our own online data storage and management system (InfoFile), whereby multiple users can access and work on a common file, has encouraged many groups to work in virtual collaborative spaces rather than on paper copies.

Our investments in technology and smart systems for meeting rooms have largely done away with the need for multiple copies of printed agendas, minutes, and supporting documents.

The combined impact of these technologically-driven initiatives has been to further reduce paper usage by 17.8% across sites, which equates to about 200,000 pages or 400 reams saved this year.

Waste audits

We conduct random waste bin audits twice a year at our five largest sites. We aim to both reduce the overall amount of waste we send to landfill, and to reduce the amount of any recyclable or compostable items ending up in that stream. Sorting waste into appropriate bins is a very tangible action that all staff can take on a daily basis and the skip audits provide a regular reminder of this.

Compostable items sent to landfill contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, and are included in our total emissions footprint. Waste to landfill only accounts for 1% of our greenhouse gas emissions.

Reduced water consumption

Total water consumption has also continued to decline. This is largely due to the introduction of rain-water harvesting systems on new buildings, water-efficient systems in new laboratories and refurbishments, and a keen focus on water management. However, we acknowledge that climate (wetter summers recently) also contributes. And a significant variable is the nature of work being undertaken in some of our laboratories and greenhouse facilities – some research experiments and laboratory practices can require more water than average. Having acquired good baseline data, we are now focusing on trying to document and understand patterns of usage.

All of Government procurement contracts

The removal of landline and mobile call charges between Government agencies as part of the MBIE All-of- Government (AoG) contracts has been of significant benefit for encouraging dialogue with our stakeholders (most of whom are government agencies) and reducing the cost of doing so.

Accidental by-catch of native animals

In nine projects involving routine trapping of pests, 4722 target animals and 445 non-target introduced species (primarily ship rats) were caught. Most of these rats were caught in an area of podocarp-hardwood forest with low possum densities – rats are typically abundant in such an environment. Regrettably two rifleman were caught in commercially-available sticky traps set to sample invertebrates in one project; both birds had to be euthanased. Following this incident, the capture method was modified with a wire frame, after which no other vertebrate species were captured.

Key performance indicators

Summary data (Landcare Research parent only)

For the year ended 30 June: 2011 2012 2013 2014
Motor vehicle (km/FTE) 1660 1689 1181 1028
Domestic air travel (km/FTE) 5634 4,723 3989 3630
International air travel (km/FTE) 12,224 7756 7645 6621
Total energy (KWh/FTE) 8824 6504 6108 7081
Imputed CO2 (tonnes) 2656 2318 2056 1764
CO2 offsets for the year 2679 2318 2200 17641
Avoidable waste to landfi ll (kg/FTE/yr) 1.69 2.21 2.29 0.92
Water used (litres/FTE) 29,743 18,758 13,413 14,313
Native animals killed through by-catch 21 0 1 2

1 We had 345 credits (BHL Biogas Kinauni) from 2012/13 plus we purchased 1400 credits from Positive Climate Care 9.75 MWBundled Wind Power Project Activity (Savita Oil Technologies and its group companies in the state of Maharashtra, India) and 19 Hinewai Reserve (Permanent Forest Sink Initiative) credits through Enviro-Mark Solution’s carboNZero programme.

We produced 33.85 t CO2e/$m revenue.