February 16, 2023 | By Bronwen Largier

The first of New Zealand’s new generation of convention centres, Te Pae Christchurch, has announced its ambition to have its operations at net zero in less than 18 months’ time.

The centre has been open for less than a year, kicking into business after New Zealand’s crowd-restricting measures lifted around Easter 2022. Having already secured gold certification from Toitū Envirocare and won their Exceptional Achievement in Environmental Management award in November 2022, the venue is again partnering with Toitū to get Te Pae’s operations to net zero.

“It is great for our business and it’s great for business events to have a place like that, but it’s also needed and what we should be doing,” said Te Pae’s general manager Ross Steele at the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) yesterday, where the venue’s next sustainability goal was launched to Australian and international media.

“In our first year, we will procure carbon credits to be net zero but the future for us is how we reduce our carbon footprint.

“We’re very confident that we can make it by the end of the 2024 financial year,” said Steele.

“One of the biggest emitters of carbon is your energy usage – we use 100 per cent green energy. We do that now. So why shouldn’t we then take that next step forward?”

Steele said once the centre had achieved carbon neutrality, it would focus on helping its clients and suppliers reduce and offset their carbon footprint.

“The goal will then be to bring clients and suppliers along on the journey and look at ways to work with them to minimise the impact of the events we host – something we are well supported in with Ōtautahi Christchurch’s own commitment to reaching net zero emissions.”

“For us, sustainability and sustainable operations go beyond just measuring waste and offsetting carbon emissions. It’s about legacy – what we leave behind for future generations, and how we instil values that will ensure we are not only environmentally sensitive but leading the way in this area for years to come,” said Steele.

The venue is currently in the benchmarking phase of its journey to carbon neutrality, with the second phase of the project to identify reductions and offset opportunities for any remaining emissions.