We are exceptionally proud to have our managed hostels be the first accommodation network in the world to be Toitū carbonzeroCertTM certified!
Despite the enormous pressures of the pandemic on YHA and the loss of international visitors to New Zealand, we were determined to remain focused on the bigger picture and continue to invest in our carbon reduction and offsetting commitments.
What are our emissions?
Since becoming certified in 2016 we have reduced our emissions 176 tonnes CO2 equivalent. That's the equivalent to the emissions of 24 Kiwi households for a whole year! That's despite adding a brand new 128 bed hostel and cafe in Lake Tekapo.
Here's our progress over the past 5 years (ending June 30 each year)
- 2016 - 914 tCO2e
- 2017 - 851 tCO2e
- 2018 - 781 tCO2e
- 2019 - 719 tCO2e
- 2020 - 738 tCO2e
How did we do it?
First, we brought Enviro-Mark Solutions on board to help us with the difficult process of measuring our greenhouse gas emissions. They looked at our National Office and managed hostels to find out where we're producing the most emissions. This lets us know where we're at currently, and where we can focus our efforts to make the greatest reductions.
We've committed to a 5% annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for YHA's managed hostels and National Office. We've had a slight blip as we increased our network assets in 2019 but we're still focused on retargeting a 5% decline based on our new network structure.
We know that gas and electricity are our biggest sources of emissions, which is why we continue to invest in solar and geothermal energy. Replacing lights with LEDs, and double-glazing and insulation upgrades all help to shrink hostels' carbon footprint.
Offsetting our greenhouse gas emissions means putting our money where our mouth is and purchasing carbon credits to offset what we do produce. There are a number of carbon credit providers both in New Zealand and overseas. Pre Covid we chose to stay local via an accredited offset programme supporting the regrowth of native forest on Banks Peninsula. However during these difficult times we have reverted to funding offshore programmes which are still certified providers but offer more affordable options. Once we rebound we will revert back to New Zealand based programmes.
We don't make our guests pay for our offsets either. It is our responsibility to do the right thing. However if you want to contribute we offer guests the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint further through the Green Footprint Project.
This year we are also thrilled to take up the Meridian Energy's Certified Renewable Energy. This means we are guaranteed to only use electricity delivered from renewable sources bringing our net emissions down to 517 tCO2e
Can we prove it?
Sure can! We get a snazzy certificate to show off the fact we're Toitū carboNZeroCertTM certified, we're listed on the Enviro-Mark Solutions website, and we have a disclosure statement available for anyone who's interested in the nitty-gritty of our carbon measurements. If you've got any bright ideas we might be able to implement in our reduction, let us know!
Why did we do it?
First and foremost, we did it because it's the right thing to do. Climate change is one of the biggest issues facing the world today and it's our responsibility to do what we can to help. YHA New Zealand was founded on a love of the outdoors, which means we're pretty determined to protect the awesome environment New Zealand has to offer too.
This commitment to environmental sustainability goes through the entire organisation. Staff at all levels, YHA members and the YHA Board are all keen to ensure we deliver quality, affordable accommodation that also doesn't cost the earth.
Can other organisations get involved?
Heck yes they can! This is something we actively encourage (challenge, even!) businesses to get behind and commit to. Get in touch with the folks at Enviro-Mark Solutions and they'll give you all the info you need to get started.