Environmental sustainability is key when it comes to Spark driving innovation in New Zealand. Spark believes that sustainable business practices mean greater competitive advantage in the long term.




The numbers



2025 Carbon Aspiration

As a technology business, Spark has a relatively low emissions base. We began measuring our carbon emissions in FY06 and, overall, since then we have reduced annual emissions by 46%. In the medium term, our annual greenhouse gas emissions (measured in tonnes of CO2 equivalent) are on a downward trend, but we are focused on continuing to challenge ourselves to go further and reduce both direct and indirect emissions. That’s why in 2016 we set an ambition to reduce carbon emissions by 25% from FY16 levels by 2025. We are also looking at how we may need to adapt to the risks presented by climate change.


Energy-efficient vehicles

Smart transport plays a key role in sustainability and Spark has been focused on this area for a number of years. From 2015, when there were far fewer options for fully electric vehicles (EVs) and infrastructure in market, Spark deployed 47 hybrid vehicles into our fleet. These vehicles have significantly lower emissions than our Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) fleet vehicles. 

In 2016, Spark joined 30 of New Zealand's largest companies in committing to at least 30% of their corporate fleets being electric by 2019. In addition to Spark's core corporate fleet, we also include our business hub and subsidiary fleets in this number. We exclude Connect 8's fleet, because it is a joint venture rather than a fully-owned subsidiary, and a significant portion of its fleet is comprised of commercial vehicles (such as trucks or diggers) for which there is not currently a suitable electric alternative. 

Spark is working hard to meet this target, starting with our corporate pool cars and then shifting to EVs across the rest of our fleet.


Spark aims to reduce the impact of unwanted mobile phones by encouraging customers and employees to recycle handsets. As a member of the Telecommunications Forum’s RE:MOBILE product stewardship scheme, Spark supplies recycling bins in all retail stores and in many office buildings around the country. In FY18, 25,442 mobile phones were recycled through the RE:MOBILE programme. Spark’s recycling stations accept mobile phones, chargers, home phones, modems and tablets.

RE:MOBILE recycles mobiles through appropriate channels, resulting in tonnes of potentially harmful substances being diverted from landfills. Once collected, working devices are on-sold to emerging markets, with a percentage of the profits going to the environmental charity Sustainable Coastlines.

Continuing to grow the awareness of RE:MOBILE through internal and external promotion will be a focus for FY19.

Network recycling

Spark’s waste management strategy proactively manages and coordinates removal and recycling in an efficient and cost-effective 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. Waste is allocated into different waste streams, including mobile phones, printed circuit boards, copper cables, lead batteries and all types of metals. After sorting they are processed appropriately with some components exported overseas for reselling, recycling or reusing. About three to four containers of equipment are sold offshore each year. 

In FY18 Spark recovered a total of 497 tonnes of recycling made up of 41 tonnes of Network e-waste material and 455 tonnes of Network metals, cables and batteries. Batteries made up 254 tonnes of the e-waste. 

Building design

Spark announced that we will lease a new high-profile 5,000 sqm office in Christchurch overlooking Cathedral Square. Due for completion in 2019, the building will co-locate the approximately 450 people who have been spread across four locations since the 2011 earthquake. The purpose-built facility features a base isolation system designed to keep our team safe in the event of an earthquake, as well as a range of key sustainability technologies: 

  • Advanced chilled beam units (an air distribution device that provides sensible cooling and heating)
  • Solar control glazing system
  • Integrated light-sensor system
  • Rain water tank to provide water to toilets
  • Low-energy lighting
  • Bike parking and end-of-trip facilities, such as showers
  • Strategic position close to key public transport hubs

Green Star, an internationally recognised rating system, has awarded the property 5 stars, acknowledging New Zealand excellence in building design. NABERS NZ, a system for rating energy efficiency of office buildings, has given the building a minimum of 4.5 stars recognising excellent performance. 
Once this building is complete, our three main offices, housing around 2,600 of our people, will be designed to these 5-Star standards.