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ORC Tallies Up Its Own Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) today presented an inventory of its own greenhouse gas output (GHG) for the financial year 2018-19.

The inventory tallied ORC’s total gross GHG output over the 12-month period at 578 tonnes, made up mostly from transport fuels, domestic air travel, and purchased electricity.

Transport fuels for ORC’s fleet of 59 vehicles accounted for 349 tonnes, or about 60% of the GHG total. Domestic flights, mainly between Dunedin and Wellington, made up 103 tonnes, or 18% of the overall output, and purchased electricity for ORC offices, depots and pump stations totalled 76 tonnes, or 13%.

The assessment of ORC’s own GHG emissions was agreed as part of this year’s Annual Plan, and sits alongside the Otago region GHG inventory by district, which will soon be underway in collaboration with local authorities.

ORC Chief Executive Sarah Gardner said the assessment was a first for the organisation.

“There’s no requirement for us to do an inventory like this of our own organisation, but it has been really helpful for us to take a step back and understand what ORC’s day-to-day activities look like in terms of carbon output.

“Crucially, this work also sets us up with a baseline to measure improvements over time.”

Mrs Gardner said the report was parallel to the region wide emissions assessment.

“The other piece of work we are doing in the current financial year will be a higher-level assessment of greenhouse gases across all of Otago, looking at the region’s top emission sources and identifying possible mitigations and adaptation methods with our local authority partners. That work is on track to be completed in early 2021.”

Today’s report also outlines a plan of recommended actions for reducing ORC’s carbon footprint.

“We have agreed internally to move forward with the recommendations wherever possible to reduce ORC’s greenhouse gas output. Some of these are relatively easy things – areas where we’ve already been improving this year as a result of Covid-19 lockdown, like travelling less for meetings that can be done online,” Mrs Gardner said.

“Other parts of the recommendations are going to need more time and investment, like transitioning to low carbon alternatives for our vehicle fleet, which has to be able to cover thousands of kilometres of hilly terrain across Otago.”

The report can be viewed online in today’s Council agenda, starting on page 220: https://www.orc.govt.nz/media/9310/agenda-council-20201125-web.pdf

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