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14 May 2021

Port Nelson commits to reduce its carbon footprint with science-based emission reduction targets

Port Nelson Limited (PNL) has committed to reducing its carbon footprint by over 40% over the next 14 years.


This reduction is part of the Port’s commitment to comply with a ‘science-based emission reduction target’ (SBTi) programme. Once approved, Port Nelson will join 14 New Zealand companies that have set SBTi targets and will be the second Port in New Zealand to have committed to this approach. 


The Science-based targets initiative is an international organisation that provides a clearly defined pathway for companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proof business growth, as stated on the SBTi website. 


Targets are to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, which is to limit global warming to a well-below 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5C.


The Port has committed to 40% reduction in both gross GHG direct emissions (sources owned and controlled by PNL – Scope 1) and GHG emissions from purchased energy (electricity – Scope 2), from a 2019 baseline year. Port Nelson has also set targets for reductions to its waste and for encouraging its suppliers to monitor emissions and head down a reduction pathway (these areas are known as Scope 3 emissions). These targets are set to be achieved by 2035.   


To reduce Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, the Port will take bold action with the following strategies:


Operator training

The Port will provide operators of plant, vessels, and equipment with the data to assist them in understanding how best to reduce the use of fuel in their operations (while keeping a safe and appropriate pace of work).


Efficient Plant and Light Vehicles

The Port will establish a plant replacement programme replacing older diesel plant with more efficient plant, and a programme of replacing light vehicles and forklifts with electric or hybrid vehicles/plant. The new container reach stacker which provides 40% less fuel use and 50% less tyre burn than the current plant is a good example of this. Alternative fuel options for heavy plant will continue to be explored as the technology develops in this space, and the future see's the Port’s cranes plugged in (electricity) instead of diesel.


Fuel Use

Bio diesel will be introduced to appropriate mechanical plant as tests and research & development verifies its effectiveness.

The Port will also explore the establishment of solar panels on its warehouse rooves for use in plant, conversion to other fuel sources onsite or inputting into the local grid.


Operational waste reduction

The Port team will initiate actions to find savings in the areas of electricity use, commuting, business travel, and waste. 


In the past 5 years, the Port has achieved notable accolades within the environmental space. Port Nelson is the only Port in New Zealand to have a current ISO 14001 certification for its environmental management system, the Calwell Slipway basin which was one of the most contaminated sites in the country was remediated, supporting surrounding business’s as well as the community, and Port Nelson’s sustainable business logistics model QuayConnect, was awarded the MfE Green Ribbon Award. 


Looking to the future, in addition to the Port’s SBTi targets, other environmental actions include the Port increasing its focus on dust control and stormwater discharges to the marine environment. Projects to improve and minimise these impacts are underway. Ongoing improvements to minimise noise are also being developed.


Port Nelson recently renewed its commitment to the Climate Leaders Coalition (CLC) by submitting its commitment to SBTi targets. The CLC is a collective of signatories who together make up 60% of New Zealand’s gross emissions, nearly a third of private-sector GDP, and employ more than 170,000 New Zealanders.


By signing the CLC statement, each organisation has committed to measuring and reporting their greenhouse gas emissions, setting targets, and working with suppliers to reduce emissions, supporting the Paris Agreement and New Zealand’s commitment to it. 


Port Nelson is joined by other New Zealand Port Signatories, Ports of Auckland whose goal is to be net-zero-carbon by 2040, and Lyttleton Port Company whose goal is to be net-zero-carbon by 2050.






Find out more about SBTi targets here:  


Find out more about the Climate Leaders Coalition here:  


Media Enquiries:

Jessica Ammundsen – Marketing and Communications Advisor –