One thing that successful, climate-friendly businesses have in common is a clear sense of purpose when it comes to learning about environmental sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint.

Your emissions reduction journey will be an incremental one, made up of some small actions and quick wins, some long-term process changes, and potentially some larger high-impact projects.

To achieve real results, it’s important to lay the foundations by establishing clear goals, and in the first instance, setting an initial commitment within your business to create change.

The opportunity for business

By playing your part in New Zealand’s transition to a low-emissions future, your business can reap financial and non-financial benefits.

  • Cost savings — reduce operating costs through energy efficiency and fuel switching.
  • Social license — improve your reputation with socially responsible consumers and investors.
  • Brand value — tap into new markets, spark innovation and create business opportunities.
  • Employee engagement — attract and retain talent.
  • Compliance — stay ahead of regulation for climate change mitigation.

Climate action can’t wait

The spotlight is on businesses to take more targeted action against climate change. To meet our legislated emissions reduction targets, faster and greater progress is required to reduce the harmful greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere.

Taking climate action such as reducing energy use and switching away from fossil fuels can have many benefits for business, beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The sooner the switch, the greater the impact.

Climate change

Small businesses can make an impact

  • 40 %

    of New Zealand’s energy-related emissions come from business.

  • 97 %

    of New Zealand businesses are small businesses with fewer than 20 employees. (MBIE)

  • 17 %

    of New Zealand businesses have a good level of knowledge about how to reduce emissions. (EECA Business Monitor, Nov 2022)

Set your vision

Whether your motivation is environmental, or more aligned to business sustainability, it makes sense to start your climate journey early.

It helps to have a long-term vision for what you want to achieve, such as gaining carbon neutral or climate positive certification, but you may feel that you need a better understanding of what that journey might look like first, before making any commitments.

There’s room for constant improvement on any sustainability journey – and you don’t need to be perfect to make an impact.

Steps to emissions reduction

Build brand value

Lake Hawea Station in Otago, run by Justine and Geoff Ross, is Australasia's first certified carbon positive farm. Their credentials have opened up partnership opportunities for the business — and customers pay a premium for the environmentally responsible product.

“We've got 8 years left to meet our national climate targets, and we just want to do our bit and influence change in some way. To sequester more carbon from this world than we emit into it is the single biggest koha we can make to the world."

Justine Ross, Lake Hawea Station

Embrace the challenge

“I think decarbonisation should be really exciting – we need to challenge ourselves to be smarter, help develop new ways of doing things that can serve the dual purpose of cutting costs and future-proofing our business.”

Mike Sutherland, Sawmill Brewery Owner

Attract customers and talent

“Over time, people will only choose businesses that they believe in. Sustainability is vitally important – and you will find that you get driven people who are excited about working for you and can really drive your business forward.”

Trent Yeo, Executive Director of Ziptrek Queenstown