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Carbon Neutral

As part of the lead-up to our Pūrongo Toitū, 2023 Sustainability Report, we're highlighting our five sustainability initiatives that fall under our WM Porohita (To be circular) sustainability strategy.

Our 2050 Goal for Carbon Neutrality

In a bold move towards sustainability, WM New Zealand has announced its ambitious goal to achieve carbon neutrality across all operations by 2050. We're set on transforming our practices to reduce our carbon footprint and lead the industry in decarbonisation. This announcement comes with a comprehensive strategy that outlines key objectives and innovative measures to tackle climate change.

Gas Capture

Innovative Decarbonisation Efforts

At the core of our strategy is decarbonisation, with significant investments in gas capture technology for our landfills. These efforts have already paid off, with Class 1 landfills reducing carbon emissions by 43% since 1990. Notably, these landfills have exceeded New Zealand’s Paris Agreement targets by reducing CO₂e emissions by 53.1% since 2005, achieving the 2030 goal nine years early.

In 2023, we saw a 36% reduction in our total gross carbon footprint compared to the previous year, with landfills accounting for half of the total emissions at 45,177 tCO2e. This reduction was driven by recalibrations from the Ministry for the Environment, reflecting less organic waste due to increased diversion efforts.


Operational Emission Reductions

We're making strides in reducing emissions from its daily operations. Between 2020 and 2023, WM New Zealand cut its operational greenhouse gas emissions by 8%, from 58,744 tCO2e to 47,006 tCO2e.

Despite a 5% increase in diesel emissions from its fleet of over 960 trucks due to business growth, the company is mitigating this through the expansion of its electric vehicle (EV) fleet and route optimisation.

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Fleet Electrification and Industry Recognition

WM New Zealand was celebrated as the winner of the Australasian Fleet Management Association’s (AFMA)2023 Environment Award in recognition of outstanding commitment to sustainability, waste reduction, and greener fleet management.

Head of Fleet Jitesh Singh was also announced Fleet Manager of the Year. It was the first time in the 26-year history of the awards that one company has won two AFMA awards. Here is a snippet from the judging: “WMNZ has embarked on a transformative journey towards fleet electrification and decarbonisation and has been at the forefront of innovation and collaboration, working closely with international partners to bring cutting-edge electric vehicle technology to New Zealand.

In addition to this technical prowess, WM has fostered a culture of pride and enthusiasm among its 1,500 employees as they embrace the electric vehicle revolution. As Fleet Manager of the Year Jitesh is recognised for his knowledge and dedication to elevating the entire fleet industry. He is a true ambassador for safety, efficiency and sustainability.” 

WM New Zealand’s notable achievements, under the leadership of Jitesh, include:

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Hybrid Innovations and Methane Detection

As part of our ambitious goals to achieve carbon neutrality, we've implemented innovative technologies and practices that are making a significant impact.

Hybrid Gear at Silverstream Landfill

In a leap towards climate-friendly technology, we've introduced hybrid yellow gear at Silverstream Landfill. This initiative is a key part of our strategy to reduce diesel use and carbon emissions. The landfill now operates two new hybrid Komatsu excavators that run on both diesel and electricity. These machines handle essential landfill tasks, such as forming slopes, providing intermediate cover, and maintaining stormwater and roading infrastructure.

Owned by Hutt City Council, Silverstream Landfill shares our commitment to decarbonisation. The hybrid excavators will operate 362 days a year, using 20-40% less diesel than traditional machines. The Silverstream team logs all fuel usage to monitor performance and report on efficiencies and carbon savings.

Detecting Methane from the Sky

To further our sustainability efforts, we've deployed a cutting-edge methane detector drone at our landfills. This drone uses advanced laser beam technology to track fugitive methane emissions, which are small amounts of methane that escape our gas capture systems. With this technology, we can identify and fix leaks quickly, significantly improving gas capture.

Surveyor Mehrdad Rafiepourgatabi operates the drone, conducting monthly surveys at Kate Valley, Tirohia, Whitford, and Redvale landfill and energy parks. The drone's programmable flight map ensures it covers only the designated areas during each flight. By emitting a laser beam towards the ground, the drone measures methane concentration and identifies hot spots in real time. This allows us to carry out necessary maintenance or repairs promptly.


Leading by Example

Managing Director Evan Maehl featured on TV ads, billboards, digital advertising, radio and podcasts in 2023 as part of the EECA’s (Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority) Gen Less campaign.

Gen Less encourages New Zealanders to live more with less harmful and more efficient energy use, and to take positive climate action. Evan featured in the Future of Business campaign, targeted at businesses, which account for 40% of NZ’s energy-related emissions.

Currently, only 1 in 4 New Zealand businesses is taking climate action. Evan is one of several high-profile leaders who stepped up to encourage other businesses to begin their decarbonisation journey. His message:

“We remain committed to continuous improvement, learning, and dialogue. This is the beginning of a long journey for us.”

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WM Porohita Updates

These stories paint a wider picture of our WM Porohita (To be circular) sustainability strategy, which is also our company strategy.