Working together to make Southland carbon neutral

Southland has set itself the ambitious goal of becoming a carbon neutral region which the Government is backing with a $190,000 grant from the Government’s Community Environment Fund.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced the funding today for the Carbon Neutral Advantage project which will see local business, industry and communities work together to transition Southland to a carbon neutral region.

“Venture Southland’s ambitious project to take a regional approach to reducing carbon emissions shows great leadership and is something the Government is proud to support,” Eugenie Sage said.

“Communities are often best placed to find solutions to problems and I look forward to seeing what Southland can do.”

Over the next three years Venture Southland aims to measure, assess, and take steps to reduce the region’s emissions. The project will establish a regional carbon neutral framework, create a local carbon measurement tool, identify and set carbon reduction targets, and conduct a feasibility study for a regional carbon financial tool.

“New Zealanders want action on climate change and so it’s great to see Venture Southland taking up this call to action at a regional level,” Climate Change Minister James Shaw said.

“The benefit of this type of collaborative approach is that it helps bring in all the relevant perspectives, as well as build a resilient and sustainable economy.”

“Climate change is not just an environmental issue, it also has social and economic impacts. Southland produces 15 per cent of New Zealand’s tradeable exports, mainly from the primary sector. This project should help future proof that position.” James Shaw said.

“To reach net zero by 2050 it will take every part of New Zealand working together to achieve this. The regional approach that Venture Southland is taking is innovative and has the potential to be applied in many other regions across the country.”

The Government’s Community Environment Fund empowers New Zealanders to make a positive difference to the environment. Funding is traditionally given to projects that strengthen environmental partnerships, raise environmental awareness and encourage participation in environmental initiatives in the community.  The fund has provided $10 million to over 90 projects since 2010.

For more information about the Community Environment Fund visit http://www.mfe.govt.nz/more/funding/community-environment-fund

For more information about the Carbon Neutral Advantage project visit http://venturesouthland.co.nz/projects/energy-efficiency/carbon-neutral-advantage