Set Targets

Step 1:

Set emissions reduction targets that, at a minimum, align with New Zealand's nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement (30% by 2030 vs 2005 levels).

There are several ways an organisation can determine what target to set. The simplest way is to quantify the previous year's full set of data; then set a reduction target for the following year that can realistically be achieved.

Robust emission reduction targets are set on longer time frames, using more historic baselines.

Setting a target to align with New Zealand's Paris Agreement commitment (30% by 2030 vs 2005 levels).

Organisations need to ask themselves:

How easy is it to access organisation data from 2005, in order to establish the baseline?

If this is too far back, how far back are you able to go?

What would have been the approximate difference in baseline between your proxy year, and 2005?

You can make a good estimate based on comparing the operational size of the business, the number of staff, and significant changes to business practices or number of offices/locations etc.

Now calculate 30% less emissions - and this is your target for the year 2030.

This will allow you to map steps towards this reduction target in the short, medium and longer term. It will put a high level plan in place for reaching the target.

The good news is that the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) reckons there are always 'quick wins' to be made. Many businesses could shave up to 20 per cent off their energy costs alone, with smarter energy use.

Good energy management goes hand in hand with reducing emissions - EECA has resources on how to do this, including how to set realistic targets.

Setting more ambitious targets

Science based targets

A science based target is aligned with the level of decarbonization an organisation is required to do, in order to keep the global temperature increase below 2°C when compared to pre-industrial temperatures.

The Science Based Target Initiative's objective is to help at least 300 companies, representing at least two gigatoones of emissions, establish science based targets by 2020. The Initiative supports organisations with guidance documents and webinars on the target setting process, and also validates submitted targets at no charge.

Pathways to 'Net Zero'

This approach is based on the science and modelling used to determine global warming targets, and the corresponding carbon 'budget' that would see it achieved. If the carbon budget has been 'spent', warming will continue to rise but at a more unpredictable rate.

Taking a Net Zero emissions approach means emissions can continue - but they must be balanced by emissions offsetting solutions, such as technological solutions, tree planting and Carbon Capture and Storage solutions.

The Vivid Economics Report has outlined several different scenarios that would see New Zealand achieve domestic emissions neutrality in the second half of this century.

These scenarios can be used to help a business think about what their operations could look like in the Net Zero emissions world of 2050 and start to plot a pathway to get there.

This approach acknowledges  that there are several unknown solutions or options that will appear along the way. It enables a business to prepare for planning and investment decisions that support a Net Zero world and get ahead of any regulatory changes, which could impose change to business practices.

In New Zealand, Toyota and Fujitsu have announced Net Zero emissions targets by 2050.