Science organisations combine to plot a path to net carbon zero

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Eight government-owned science organisations have joined forces to accelerate the reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions.

The seven Crown Research Institutes and Callaghan Innovation have been working individually in this area for some years and have come together for a week-long series of online workshops to share best practice and insights on how to get to net carbon zero in their operations as quickly as possible.

Workshop co-ordinator Roger Robson-Williams, of Plant & Food Research, said the initiative will enable the organisations to pool their knowledge and experience and achieve more in their greenhouse gas emission programmes.

“Together the eight organisations employ about 5000 staff and have offices and research facilities in more than 50 locations around the country. The workshops will be practical ‘how-to’ guides focusing on specific areas of our business operation,” Dr Robson-Williams said.  

Climate Change Minister Hon James Shaw, who spoke at the opening session of the workshop series today, said he was delighted that Crown Research Institutes and Callaghan Innovation had come together to work out how we can cut emissions in the government’s science sector.

 “The window of opportunity to clean up our act and stave off a climate catastrophe is vanishingly small, but it is still there for the taking,” Minister Shaw said.

“Whether or not we seize that remaining chance comes down to the actions taken and the changes made by a great many people and organisations; changes that will, over time, add up to a better and cleaner future.” 

Each of the online workshops this week will focus on a different aspect of the operational challenges the eight organisations face in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. The programme includes a number of case studies on transitioning to net carbon zero.

It Includes examples of programmes to reduce emissions from staff commuting and business travel, from procurement and waste, from land-based production of food and fibre, and from smart building and construction decisions. 

 “As well as improving awareness, the workshops will enable sharing of approaches, pitfalls and successes and strengthen our commitment to be carbon neutral,” Dr Robson-Williams said.  

Up to 100 staff from the eight organisations are participating in the workshops. At the end of the series a summary of the main findings and outcomes will be produced. It will include a directory of the participants and their areas of expertise to enable an ongoing network of collaboration on climate action across the organisations involved.

Note: Science New Zealand comprises the seven Crown Research Institutes: AgResearch, ESR, GNS Science, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, NIWA, Plant & Food Research and Scion. The Crown agency Callaghan Innovation is an associate member.