NZ Gov calls for digital solution to enhance streamlined emissions reporting

New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment (MfE) is seeking expressions of interest for a digital solution to help the Carbon Neutral Government Programme (CNGP) collect, store, and analyse greenhouse gas data and associated documentation.

The MfE is calling for a provider that can supply a high-quality, ready-to-use SaaS emissions reporting system capable of gathering data from numerous organisations. Furthermore, the solution should include emission targets, emission reduction programs, verification certifications, and other supporting records.

Previously, emissions data and accompanying papers were sent through spreadsheets, Word documents, and pdf files. However, challenges in reporting have highlighted the need for a data solution that can deal with standardised emissions data from both a programmatic and organisational standpoint.

In addition, it should make it easier to analyse data over time using customisable categories, create and track emission objectives over time, and generate reports.

The New Zealand Government declared a climate change emergency on 2 December 2020, recognising the need for ambitious, immediate, and coordinated action across government agencies to meet the enormity and complexity of the situation.

The CNGP, launched in December 2020, aims to accelerate carbon reductions in the NZ public sector while demonstrating the Government’s commitment to fighting climate change.

Participating government agencies must report their most current yearly plans for lowering emissions and progress towards their gross emissions reduction objectives by 1 December each year. These reports should contain data including annual total emissions, a breakdown by source or scope for the preceding fiscal year, and a comparison of emissions reduction progress to the baseline year.

The Ministry gathers and analyses this data, which it then shares with other government agencies, ministers, and the general public. In addition, the Ministry publishes emissions reports at both the organisational and project levels, providing insights into the emissions profiles, targets, and progress achieved by government agencies and individual firms.

The CNGP stated in its March 2023 Progress Dashboard that emissions from the New Zealand Public Service in 2021/22 amounted to 303,000 tCO2e, a drop from 376,000 tCO2e, reflecting a 19 per cent reduction compared to the base year. Except for one organisation, all have established gross emission reduction objectives associated with a 1.5°C reduction route, and several have made significant progress in their reduction activities. This development pushes New Zealand closer to its 2025 and 2030 ambitions.

However, it is crucial to note that around 60 per cent of these savings were realised due to reduced air travel and remote work arrangements, which were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Changes in operational situations may cause emissions to rise in 2022/23. The CNGP stated: “The biggest challenges for most other organisations are controlling the ‘bounce back’ in air travel emissions following Covid-19 restrictions and reducing electricity emissions”.

For the coming cycle, the scope of reporting will be expanded to include the 28 Crown Agents, with the Ministry of Education also beginning to coordinate the collection of emissions data from nearly 2,400 school boards of trustees, excluding state-integrated institutions.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the Offices of Parliament, the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Parliamentary Service, tertiary institutions (including Te Pkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology), and state-owned enterprises are the final groups encouraged to measure and report their emissions as part of the 2024 collection cycle.

The submission deadline is 1 June 2023, with the implementation of the successful solution beginning in July.

The online solution is expected to be completed by 1 November, assuring preparedness for the following reporting period in December.