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.

 

 

 

The numbers

 

 

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 FYI7 Spark announced that the ageing PSTN would be decommissioned and replaced by a nextgeneration IP-based network. The migration is expected to provide 1,366 tonnes of materials for recycling over the next 6 years

2025 Carbon Aspiration

Last year Spark set an ambition to reduce carbon emissions by 25% by 2025 from FY16 levels. In FY17 Spark reduced emissions by 15% owing largely to a more renewable electricity supply. This level of performance in the first year gives us confidence that Spark can achieve the goal. Spark began measuring its carbon emissions in FY06 and since then, has achieved on-going reductions at world-class rates. Spark is endeavouring to embed these improvements for sustainability.

GHG_emissions_graph

Energy-efficient vehicles

Smart transport plays a key part in sustainability and during FY17 Spark continued to roll out the Spark Plugs electric vehicle charging programme to more areas around New Zealand. Spark Plugs utilises lower-voltage chargers to provide people with a ‘top-up’ to their range, up to 40km off a single 30 minute charge, depending on the car. In addition to the four plugs rolled out during the trial in FY16, this year Spark partnered with Kapiti Coast District Council and Wellington City Council to roll out more plugs. Four phone boxes in Kapiti have been fitted with chargers, with more planned for Wellington City during FY18. The Spark Plugs charging stations extends the work Spark has done to convert more than 1,000 phone boxes into Wi-Fi hot spots.

Thirty of New Zealand’s largest companies, including Spark, have committed to at least 30% of their corporate fleets being electric by 2019. Spark is endeavouring to shift to electric vehicles, starting with corporate pool cars with the view to expand to the entire fleet. Of Spark’s corporate pool, 2 are electric vehicles (EV), 14 are hybrid and 35 are equipped with stop/start hybrid technology, bringing energy-efficient cars to 58% of the fleet.

RE:MOBILE

Unwanted mobile handsets, especially those directed to landfill, can have undesirable environmental outcomes. 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 FY17, 33,263 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. Working collectively with other telecommunications providers who also participate in the RE:MOBILE scheme, Spark works to meet the programme’s targets and ensure its success.  

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. Spark has announced that the ageing PSTN will be decommissioned and replaced by a next generation IP-based network. The migration is expected to provide 1,366 tonnes of materials for recycling over the next 6 years.

Building design

Spark announced that it will lease a new high-profile 5000 sqm office in Christchurch overlooking Cathedral Square. The building is set to be completed in July 2019 and will help relocate around 450 people who are currently spread across four locations as a result of the 2011 earthquake. The purpose-built facility comes with a base isolation system to protect people should there be an earthquake and displays sustainability technologies. 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.

Smart bikes

With a number of city councils reviewing public transport options, Spark is giving low-carbon biking some ‘street smarts’. Back in 2014, Spark began supporting the bike-share scheme of Christchurch entrepreneur Rob Henderson which has taken another leap with the introduction of new technology. Two brand new "smart bikes" from Germany were introduced in FY17 which have been purpose-built to integrate with Christchurch City's Metrocard. They have been equipped with an on-board computer on the back, along with a mobile data connection and GPS. As well as being a more convenient way to use the bikes, the technology helps cement the bikes as a viable public transport option. The two smart bikes are currently being trialled by the Christchurch City Council as a public transport of the future.