With the establishment of the Ministry’s Decarbonisation Programme in August 2021, we have embarked on the pathway to becoming a more sustainable organisation.
The Ministry has a number of sustainability and decarbonisation initiatives underway, including:
- replacing our existing vehicle fleet with low/no-emission vehicles as they come up for replacement and in countries where conditions allow;
- launching a custom-built Digital Diplomacy Suite to deliver high-quality video conferencing to enable diplomatic impact in virtual engagements and reduce air travel emissions;
- initiatives to improve the energy efficiency of properties (for example, the installation of LED lighting and integrating efficiency measures into building projects); and
- making emission-related criteria a part of business cases for major asset projects.
One of the Ministry’s key activities has been undertaking emissions accounting to measure and report emissions from our operations – both onshore and offshore.
An overview of the Ministry’s emissions can be seen in the table below.
Table 1: MFAT onshore and offshore emissions:
2018–19 to 2021–22 (tCO2e)*
|Diesel for generators||206||169||201||183|
|Taxis, rail, rental cars||90||67||37||39|
*Tonnes (t) of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent.
As we are a foreign service that represents Aotearoa New Zealand around the world, the Ministry’s profile is dominated by travel-related emissions, followed by emissions generated through electricity consumption at its more than 300 domestic and international properties. Domestic emissions comprise 3–5 percent of the Ministry’s inventory; international emissions comprise the remaining 95–97 percent.
The Ministry has set the following emission reduction targets, which are in line with a global emissions pathway that limits warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius; a 21 percent reduction (7,050 tCO2e) by 2024–25 from the 2018–19 baseline, and a 42 percent reduction (14,100 tCO2e) by 2029–30 from the 2018–19 baseline.
The Ministry will seek to reduce emissions from all sources, although we recognise that the largest gains will be made through focusing on our two primary sources. The Ministry is currently assessing the relative effectiveness and feasibility of a range of options to reduce our emissions to meet these targets.
It is essential that the Ministry pursues climate action beyond its foreign, trade, and development policy, and integrates it into our operations.