Locking in the sustainability gains of COVID-19

by Jeff Ruscoe, Chief Client Officer at AMP NZ

22 July 2020

84,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide – that’s the volume of emissions that could be reduced in New Zealand each year if one in five Kiwis opted to work remotely once a week. The environmental gains from moving to more flexible working is equal to taking 35,000 cars off the road, according to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

The COVID-19 lockdown presented many challenges for people and businesses, but there were some benefits too, especially for the environment, with fewer cars on the road. This contributed to pollution in Auckland decreasing by three-quarters on average through lockdown, with air quality levels described as "unprecedented” by National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research’s (NIWA) Dr Ian Longley.

AMP Wealth Management recently became a carbon neutral business, backed by our Toitu carbonzero certification. And as part of doing our bit to support the environment, we’re looking at ways we can further reduce our footprint, including mirroring some of the behaviours that led to the sustainability gains from lockdown.

We’re moving to adopt fully flexible working and will be exiting our premises in Auckland and Wellington CBDs in favour of smaller collaboration and meeting-based premises. The reduction in office space and travel requirements for our people will help us to achieve our sustainability targets. It’s not going to work for every business, but for us it’s a no-brainer – it’s good for our peoples’ wellbeing and it’s great for the environment.

The move to fully flexible working in combination with other sustainability initiatives like shifting 100% of our fleet to electric vehicles, will help us to realise our emissions reductions targets. By 2021 we’ve committed to reduce emissions from:

  • Air travel by 25%;
  • Fleet by 30%; and
  • Electricity by 7%.

And to offset our existing footprint, AMP Wealth Management is supporting New Zealand based sustainability projects, including restoring New Zealand native forest at Puhi Peaks Station, in Wellington and in Whanganui. The forests will be maintained for the primary purpose of carbon sequestration – long-term storage of carbon dioxide to mitigate the impacts of global warming.

Click here to learn about some of the other ways AMP Wealth Management is helping to protect and maintain our natural environment.