New Zealand: Industry leaders partner to reduce freight emissions


16 April, 2021




A report released by the Sustainable Business Council’s (SBC) Freight Group sets out an ambitious but achievable 30-year pathway to progressively decarbonise New Zealand’s freight system.

Wellington, New Zealand, 16 April 2021: The Low Carbon Freight Pathway report was launched at an event at Toll Tamaki, in South Auckland, attended by Transport Minister Hon Michael Wood and industry leaders from the transport, freight and business sectors. The Freight Group includes leaders from nine New Zealand companies committed to low carbon freight – Countdown, Fonterra, Lyttelton Port Company, New Zealand Post, Ports of Auckland, Swire Shipping, The Warehouse Group, TIL Logistics Group and Toll.

Host of the event and member of SBC’s Freight Group, Executive General Manager Toll New Zealand, Jon Adams says the companies in the group are already advancing their own decarbonization pathway and are committed to the country’s zero-carbon future by 2050.

“Every year we move around 280 million tonnes of freight across our transport system – through road, rail, coastal shipping, international shipping and air. That’s around 56 tonnes of freight per person in New Zealand. On current projections our freight volumes will increase by 33 percent well before 2050. If we do nothing, emissions will grow by over 37 percent by 2050. We need to act now.”

Fellow Group member and sustainability expert, Rosie Mercer, General Manager Sustainability at Ports of Auckand, says that members of the Freight Group partnered to help the wider freight sector get to net zero. “New Zealand’s freight system is vital to our economy and our wellbeing. It is a complex system and we believe that the most effective approach to decarbonization is leadership with an approach designed and led by, and for, industry. This is the Freight Group’s goal. At the core of this approach is working in partnership with Government to support a planned and staged 30-year decarbonization program,” she says.

Both acknowledge that decarbonization across the transport sector is ambitious but achievable.

“The report shows that the most effective pathway is to carefully manage the economic cost of the transition. Our proposed low carbon freight pathway has three interconnected horizons of work, with each horizon progressed concurrently and starting immediately. These horizons have different levels of intensity and time periods allowing a staged transition. It’s an approach that provides businesses time and greater surety to best manage the transition of their fleet.”

The low carbon freight pathway proposes:

  • Reducing emissions by optimizing the use of existing vehicles;
  • Replacing fossil fuels with biofuels; and
  • As vehicles are retired, eliminating them by replacing them with zero-carbon vehicles.

“Our next step is to work with the sector and to bring more partners on board the pathway. As more businesses begin the transition, the cost of decarbonization will fall as we achieve economies of scale,” says Mr Adams.

The Low Carbon Freight Pathway report, commissioned by the SBC Freight Group, was developed by Sapere and DETA consultants.

The report, FAQs and background information are online here.

New Zealand’s Sustainable Business Council is part of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Global Network, an alliance of more than 60 CEO-led business organizations worldwide.

More information:
Catriona Robertson
Manager Communications
Sustainable Business Council