This year we have embarked on an exciting sustainability journey. In the last five years we have transformed our port into the best in Oceania for efficiency and customer service, and now we want to do the same from a sustainability perspective. It is our ambition to be the most sustainable port in New Zealand and to be a pioneer in sustainability within the industry.
We have sought the advice of an international NGO that specialises in helping businesses reimagine and transform the way they work to create a sustainable future. Our aim is to create a strategic sustainability framework this year (2016/17) and start work on a small number of pilot projects to help build our capability.
“It is our ambition to be the most sustainable port in New Zealand and to be a pioneer in sustainability within the industry”
In the past, sustainability for us has mainly meant work to reduce our environmental impact. While we have achieved some great results, we have tended to work ‘initiative by initiative’, rather than as part of a strategic plan. By taking a more strategic approach and by focussing on all the key areas of sustainability (financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, social and relationship and, of course, natural) we will be able to achieve much more.
We believe we have the potential to deliver some significant sustainability outcomes both on port, in our surrounding community, and by acting as a catalyst for change up and down the supply chain.
We have a good record for reducing our impact on the environment and our neighbouring communities through work to reduce energy use, emissions, noise and light pollution, and our impact on marine wildlife. Projects this year have included the delivery of our first hybrid capstan truck (used in mooring ships) and the introduction of a new pilot boat which uses one third less fuel than the old boat.
One of our most significant environmental achievements is the work we have done to reduce the number of Bryde’s whales being killed by ships in the Hauraki Gulf.
Since 2012 Ports of Auckland and shipping lines have been involved in a collaborative effort with scientists, iwi and conservation groups working to reduce ship strike on Bryde’s whales in the Hauraki Gulf. After looking at various ways to reduce whale deaths, it became apparent that lower ship speeds were necessary. In 2013 Ports of Auckland led the development of a voluntary protocol for shipping in the Gulf which aims to get average speeds down as close as possible to 10 knots.
The results speak for themselves. Since the protocol was introduced ship speeds are down 25% and in nearly three years only one whale has been killed, compared to two-a-year on average previously. It is a good example of how partnership and collaboration can work to make it possible to balance environmental and economic imperatives to deliver a more sustainable shipping service into Auckland. A win-win.