Great South’s support for the region to meet net zero emission goals by 2050 has been recognised with a win in the sustainability category at the Grand Business South Awards in Dunedin on Friday night (17 November).
The Award recognises Great South’s work empowering businesses to reduce emissions via its Decarbonisation Workshop Series for business, Murihiku Sustainable Tourism Programme and the Government Waihōpai Invercargill Decarbonisation Contestable Fund it established in partnership with EECA.
The award also recognises Great South’s commitment to sustainability as a certified carbon conscious organisation, which it achieved in September this year.
Great South General Manager Strategic Projects Stephen Canny said it was very gratifying to have the work Great South is doing recognised externally.
“It adds to the mana and credibility of the programme.”
More than 70 Murihiku Southland businesses have taken part in the decarbonisation series so far and a further 18 have taken part in the sustainable tourism programme.
“Reducing emissions is something every business will have to address at some stage, and its pleasing to see so many Southland businesses already doing their bit.”
As part of each programme, participants learnt how to measure emissions and were supported to develop an action plan to address them.
“Our support demystifies the process for businesses, with the added benefit that it insulates them against the rising cost of carbon,” Mr Canny said.
Great South has been actively working with businesses to reduce emissions for the region since 2018 when, in partnership with the Ministry for the Environment and the Tindall Foundation, it established the Carbon Neutral Advantage programme.
It has been measuring the region’s emissions since that time and commissioned the Net Zero Southland Report from Ernst & Young, which was released in July 2021.
One of the most effective emission mitigation options identified in the Net Zero Southland report, was transitioning fossil fuel heating and cooling systems to clean energy, which is when Great South established the programme with EECA.
Between the Government Waihōpai Decarbonisation Contestable Fund, the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund and the State Sector Decarbonisation Fund, 98 of Murihiku Southland’s 186 boilers have been converted to renewable energy, with 60 more to be converted by 2026.
“This will significantly reduce Murihiku Southland’s overall emissions. Already, regional emissions have dropped by 14.8% from 2018 to 2022.” Mr Canny said.