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Sustainability lies at the heart of creating a new energy future. Meeting the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, is about striking the right balance between the environment, society and the economy.
The last 12 months have seen a significant shift in the response to sustainability challenges, including ratification of the Paris Agreement by governments, commitment by leading businesses to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and increasing expectations from the financial market on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) disclosures.
Vector key sustainability risks
For our part, we have already identified a number of key risks and correlated opportunities that will drive the sustainability agenda for our business and stakeholders in the short to medium term.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals provide our business with a global framework to align to, while establishing the issues the world needs to address in order to become more sustainable. The business has identified seven priority goals from the Sustainable Development Goals that we will actively contribute to in the short term. Each goal can be referenced back to our overarching priorities of climate change and transition to a low carbon economy; and/or inclusion and equality. Performance against these goals are underpinned by Sustainable Development Goal 17, ‘Partnerships for the Goals’, which recognises that achieving these goals requires partnership and collaboration.
Enabling access to affordable energy and healthy homes will help to reduce health issues associated with cold and damp homes.
Holistic goal that aligns well to Auckland’s ambitions – resilience, energy efficiency and affordable housing.
Disruption of the current energy model will result in increased renewable energy while creating opportunities for new models to lower costs for all.
The transition to a low carbon economy will require commitment from the energy sector. With an extensive network of assets the business is also exposed to the physical risks of climate change. Both of these require a business response.
Creates an opportunity to incorporate sustainable thinking and build resilience into network development. It also acknowledges the importance of the existing network while fostering the innovation that will drive the future.
We also recognise that for New Zealand and the other countries in which we operate, there are a range of important social and environmental issues that are not covered by these Sustainable Development Goals. Over time we will be challenging ourselves on how we can contribute positively to these. By 2030 we intend to be making progress against the wider set of goals.
Teaching kids about energy use and keeping them safe.
This year, 2017, we sponsored the Epro8 Challenge in Auckland, in which 2,200 students from years 5-10 take part in a series of challenges. It’s great to see the EPro8 team getting kids more interested in science and engineering in this way, as well as pushing the boundaires of creativity, problem solving skills and team work. The event’s focus on innovation and technology is a great fit with our vision of creating a new energy future and a great opportunity to get students thinking about the possibilities of careers in this area.
We have an ongoing relationship with the University of Auckland. We sponsored and participated in the Business School’s 2016 Sustainability week, participating in events including a panel discussion on cultural sustainability and diversity. Our chairman, Michael Stiassny was a panellist at a discussion on the importance of sustainability to Auckland at the University in the lead up to the 2016 local elections.
In 2015, Vector, with the support of Entrust gave a few lucky families, community groups and schools a total of 130 solar panel and battery units to use for free for 10 years. Aucklanders nominated and voted for the most-deserving and favourite winners in their local communities. We installed our first system at Rongomai School in Otara in early May 2016 and are working on installing the remainder of the systems to our deserving winners.
Our solar panel and battery installations are helping our communities, while broadening our understanding of the technology, and the benefits it can deliver to the whole country. We are working with the residents of an affordable housing development on Ngāti Whātua land in Ōrākei. The Ngāti Whātua Kāinga Tuatahi development covers 30 housing units and is the first residential cluster in New Zealand to install batteries. Our installation of solar and battery systems is aligned with the hapū’s commitment to environmental well-being and sustainable design principles. Kāinga Tuatahi will give us insights in to the benefits, a cluster of batteries and solar systems can deliver to network development. See more details about the project in our case study.
Employees in each of our offices regularly support the community through fundraising, volunteering, awareness raising and collections. Recent events included a clothing drive at each of our main locations across the country to support local charities, and a Christmas collection to collect gifts for the Salvation Army wishing tree campaign, as well as deserving families in Taranaki.
We’ve also supported tree planting days where members of our Vector team have joined forces with Treescape to plant 2,500 trees on Rotoroa Island to help protect the natural beauty and growing native ecosystem on the island, and with Ngati Whatua Ōrākei to plant trees on Auckland’s Bastion Point.
A number of employees also actively engage with Eat My Lunch with many ordering their lunches 1-2 times a week and encouraging the use of their catering service for team events. There are also monthly volunteering sessions organised for those that want to help make the lunches.
Creating a new energy future
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© 2016 Vector Ltd