Environment

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.

Annual Report 2021

Our sustainability measures and performance are included as part of our 2021 Annual Report.

Read the report

Reporting our greenhouse gas emissions

Our Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report includes detailed reporting on our emissions. The report is prepared in accordance with The Greenhouse Gas Protocol. 

Spark's science-based emissions reduction target

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is established as the global standard for corporate emissions reduction targets. Over 800 organisations have set verified emissions reduction targets since it launched in 2015.

All SBTi targets must have a strict absolute reduction target for Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and also include a separate Scope 3 target if these emissions are greater than 40% of the total footprint.
SBTi targets are set against sector-specific emissions trajectories. The ICT sector pathways were developed with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and provide specific emissions reductions for mobile and fixed networks, and datacentres, based on projected growth and efficiency gains. These reductions are then calculated against our own emissions profile and the share of our emissions from each activity, giving a reduction target of 56% over the next decade. Our analysis shows this is ambitious, but also achievable over time.

We expect to see efficiency gains across our operations, although this will be offset by growth as we rollout our 5G network, support our customers to move to the cloud, and invest in our core infrastructure.
Electricity accounts for over 80% of our Scope 1 and 2 emissions and our biggest opportunity to reduce our emissions is therefore renewable electricity production. While we will benefit from expected grid decarbonisation, we must still focus on energy efficiency within our own operations and addressing other sources of emissions.

Emissions Target

For our value chain target we analysed our Scope 3 emissions using a mix of supplier data and New Zealand-specific Consumption-based Greenhouse Gas Emissions Input-Output Model factors. This informed a target that 70% of our suppliers by spend, covering purchased goods and services and capital goods, will have SBTi-aligned targets in place by 2026.
Analysis of our largest suppliers shows that many are already leading the way, with existing SBTi-aligned targets in place covering approximately 25% of our current spend, with a further 24% by spend in the process of establishing SBTi-aligned targets.

E-waste and network recyclingSpark has a comprehensive programme for managing end-of-life network equipment and technology. This is separated into different waste streams – such as mobile phones, printed circuit boards, copper cables, lead batteries and all types of metals. The different items are sorted, processed by our recycling partners and then some components are sent overseas for recycling, reselling, or reusing.
In FY21 we recovered a total of 638 tonnes of e-waste, an increase of 27% on last year. Of this, 132 tonnes was network e-waste (down 33% on FY20), and 506 tonnes was metals, cables, and batteries (up 67%), mainly due to the replacement of exchange batteries and associated infrastructure. We continue to improve our recycling collections focusing on education within Spark and working with some of our larger customers to support them to responsibly recycle their surplus equipment.

Mobile phone recycling

Spark is a member of the Telecommunication Forum’s (TCF) RE:MOBILE product stewardship scheme. The scheme takes unused mobile phones, and either refurbishes and on-sells them in overseas markets or recycles them. Any profits from the scheme are donated to the charity Sustainable Coastlines.
In FY21 Spark recycled 28,715 mobile devices through the RE:MOBILE scheme, up from 24,929 in FY20. We are working with our industry partners and the TCF to boost the awareness of the scheme and overcome the barriers consumers experience in recycling their devices.
In the past year the Spark Foundation also funded the Recycle A Device (RAD) scheme to collect and refurbish used laptops for students and others in need of a device.