With a low-carbon future in mind, Spark has an aspiration to reduce our emissions by 25% by 2025 from FY16 levels.
This aspiration will be confirmed over the course of the next two years as the impact of technology choices takes effect and reinforces our existing commitment to environmental responsibility and recognises how passionate New Zealanders are about their clean, green environment.
Since the FY06 base year, Spark’s annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have halved.
Both direct and indirect emissions reduced this year. Spark’s direct emissions (from sources controlled by Spark) include: the vehicle fleet, refrigerant, diesel for backup generators and natural gas. In FY16, Spark achieved a further 5% reduction in direct emissions. Spark’s indirect emissions reduced by 11% this year. Indirect emission sources include waste, business travel and electricity.
The majority of Spark’s emissions are from electricity sourced from the national grid. New Zealand has one of the least carbon intensive electricity grids in the world, and since FY06 the grid’s carbon intensity has more than halved.
The national electricity grid is now 82% renewable, and New Zealand’s 2025 target is 90%. The very high proportion of renewable electricity in its supply means that Spark is a low-carbon business. This extends to all our services, from mobile and broadband to data centres.
Electricity emissions decreased by 13% this year. A reduction in the carbon intensity of the national grid fully offset a slight growth in power consumption. Spark’s power consumption in data centres continues to grow, such as with the acquisition of the CCL Group this year. Spark has managed to constrain the overall growth in power through various energy efficiency initiatives.
In FY16, two of Spark’s data centres were recognised for energy efficiency. The Mayoral Drive Data Centre trialled a cooling system, Vigilent, which will see Spark reduce our energy consumption by over 517,000kWh per year. The new system also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 274 tonnes-CO2e.
The new flagship Takanini Data Centre uses the latest technologies, such as free-cooling that dramatically reduces energy use and carbon emissions. Passive cooling operates for 95% of the time without the use of chillers. Such design innovations more than halve the data centre’s carbon footprint.
Spark New Zealand’s waste management strategy proactively manages and coordinates removal and recycling of all waste to ensure it is processed in an efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner.
The programme utilises a concept of four “R” priorities: recovering, reusing, reselling and recycling.
The waste management strategy ensures standardised waste stream processes, transparency in waste recovery activities, adoption of best practice sourcing and compliance with New Zealand’s current and future waste legislation.
In an Australian first, Spark trialled the use of phone boxes as charging stations for EVs. Four phone boxes throughout New Zealand in Waipu, Wellsford, Waiwera and Waitakaruru were fitted with electric vehicle chargers. The Spark Plugs charging stations extends the work Spark has done to convert more than 1000 phone boxes into wi-fi hot spots.
In addition, two all-electric Peugeot Ions, the first in New Zealand, were introduced to Spark’s pool car fleet. The EVs are the first of their model in New Zealand and join the other 35 fuel efficient Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles in the fleet. As the update of EVs in New Zealand grows and the technology improves, Spark is monitoring the potential to adopt more EVs.
Spark New Zealand is a member of the Telecommunications Forum RE:MOBILE product stewardship scheme, which was created to reduce the environmental impact of unwanted mobile handsets. In July 2014 this became the first e-waste scheme in New Zealand to receive accreditation from the Ministry for the Environment.
In FY15, 26,715 phones were recycled through the RE:MOBILE programme. Once collected, working devices are onsold to emerging markets, with a percentage of the profits going to a charitable beneficiary. Unusable devices are recycled through the correct channels, resulting in potentially harmful substances being diverted from landfills.