Measuring carbon footprint first step for climate action

Measuring carbon footprint first step for climate action

Waka Pacific Trust reveals how it overcame the challenge faced by many organisations wanting to take climate action; how to start?

Waka Pacific Trust says learning how to measure its carbon emissions and use that data was the motivating step that started its climate action journey.

Waka Pacific Trust is the owner and operator of Due Drop Events Centre and Vector Wero Whitewater Park in Tāmaki Makaurau. Taking climate action was high on its radar, but the challenge was knowing where to start.

“We recognised the importance of reducing our impact on the environment and knew we were well short of where we needed to be,” says Angharad Sturrock, GM Events at Waka Pacific Trust.

The turning point came when the Trust participated in a climate action workshop series, based around the Climate Action Toolbox. The four-month programme, sponsored by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, armed the Trust with the tools and knowledge to navigate its climate action journey.

“The opportunity to take part in the workshop helped to guide and motivate the team.”

The programme also connected participants with other organisations from the arts, culture, sport and recreation sectors in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

“It was really good meeting the others in the workshop and understanding what they had already done. Some venues out there were a lot further ahead than us. It was quite motivating to see that we weren’t the only ones at the start of their journey.”

To identify priority areas for climate action, the Trust started by measuring its carbon footprint. Thanks to detailed guidelines on how to collect the necessary data for the footprint calculation, the process didn’t seem as daunting as initially perceived, says Angharad.

“Prior to the course, we were unsure how best to measure our carbon footprint and what data should be included. The spreadsheets and knowledge given throughout the workshops on why that data was needed and how to use it was really helpful.”

Looking at invoices for the previous year, data was obtained for key business activities such as energy use, waste and staff travel. Collaboration was crucial, with the Due Drop Event Centre and Vector Whitewater Park joining forces to collect shared data. Together, they were able to establish a baseline carbon emissions calculation for the Trust, providing a means to track progress year-on-year.

The footprint results also highlighted the areas requiring attention, including a need to focus on waste management. This was an area the Trust had already identified as a challenge, with waste being generated from various streams such as daily operations and external events.

“We already knew our waste management wasn’t being done very well and the footprint results validated that.”

Equipped with this knowledge, the Trust is continuing to review how on-site waste practices can be streamlined to reduce emissions. It is collaborating with its waste management company, caterer and clients to find solutions.

The Trust also organised a workshop, led by Waste Management NZ, to help educate staff about the various waste streams, best practices and recommendations. This initiative was received positively and has inspired some waste reduction champions who are engaging with clients about the issues.

While it’s early days, monthly waste reports will help determine the tangible outcomes of these efforts. Waka Pacific Trust anticipates a reduction in carbon emissions and says there is potential to cut costs as well.