Annual report 2021/22

Our use of natural resources

Our use of natural resources and managing the environmental impact of our activities.

enviroment.pngPublic organisations need to use their resources wisely – including the natural resources they consume – and minimise their impact on the environment. We have been assessing the environmental impact of our activities for the past few years, looking for opportunities to reduce or mitigate that impact.

We have:

  • implemented the main waste management improvements in our Wellington office that an audit by the Sustainability Trust recommended;
  • presented features for staff about waste minimisation initiatives on our intranet;
  • worked on developing an internal environmental impact reporting dashboard, using the data we gathered from suppliers;
  • increased our technology capability in the last few years, which has allowed our staff to work more remotely and helped reduce our emissions from travel; and
  • committed to reporting on our greenhouse gas emissions and reduction targets and plans from 2022/23, as a voluntary contribution to the Government’s Carbon Neutral Government Programme.

As part of our commitment to reporting on our greenhouse gas emissions, we have started measuring emission sources that we have sufficient historical data on. This means the results in the table below do not reflect our entire carbon footprint and currently exclude some significant sources of emissions (such as our outsourced audits to other audit service providers and certain products and services that we use).

We will continue to review our systems to provide a more complete carbon footprint over time.

We chose 2018/19 as our base year to measure those emission sources. This is because our reduction efforts are best represented in a year before the onset of Covid-19, when our main sources of emissions were from auditors travelling to client sites.

Our emissions inventory complies with the ISO 14064-1:2018 standard and reflects a financial control consolidation approach to determine the scope of our emissions reporting. This means we have included all the Auditor-General’s business units in the emissions reporting boundary.

Inventory summary

We are working to establish emissions reductions targets and a plan to reduce our emissions. This plan will include projects to improve our emissions data quality and projects to reduce our overall emissions. We will look for other opportunities to reduce our overall environmental impact.

Based on the sources we are currently able to measure, our emissions for 2018/19 are in the table below. We will use this as our baseline for measuring emissions.

Category (ISO 14064-1:2018) Scopes (ISO 14064-1:2006) 2018/19
Category 1: Direct emissions and removals Scope 1 104
Category 2: Indirect emissions from imported energy Scope 2 47
Category 3: Indirect emissions from transportation Scope 3 663
Category 4: Indirect emissions from products used by organisation Scope 3 44
Category 5: Indirect emissions associated with the use of products from the organisation Scope 3 0
Category 6: Indirect emissions from other sources Scope 3 0
Total direct emissions 104
Total indirect emissions 754
Total gross and net emissions 858
Murray makes his own guitars and plays one when he leads our waiata group (1 of 10)

Inherent uncertainty

There is some uncertainty associated with preparing a greenhouse gas emissions inventory. To minimise this uncertainty, source data has been obtained directly from suppliers where possible. In some instances, information has also been estimated or extrapolated, such as emissions from employee mileage claims. This estimation process increases the level of uncertainty.

We have calculated our emissions based on the most up-to-date emissions factors available from the Ministry for the Environment and supplier sources at the time our inventory was produced and independently verified. Subsequent to this, the Ministry for the Environment has updated a small number of emissions factors. We have assessed the impact of the changes as not material to our reported performance and have not recalculated our result using the updated factors.