Forests for Health New Zealand 

Reduce Your Carbon

While offsetting is encouraged, it is not on its own sufficient to curb the dangerous acceleration in greenhouse gas emissions. Everyone has a responsibility to reduce their personal carbon emissions and there are frequently additional benefits of doing so.

Measuring Emissions

You can calculate your current carbon footprint using a carbon calculator.

The ACE Carbon Calculator has been developed by NZ research firm Catalyst. It covers all common business and household emission sources.

The CarbonZero website provides online carbon calculators for households and businesses.   


Driving a vehicle is one of the most significant sources of CO2 emissions for most people. Below are some tips for reducing this. 


One of the healthiest and cheapest ways to get around. 

Walking also has the lowest environmental impact of all forms of transport. It produces no pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, community safety is enhanced when more people choose to get out of their cars and into the streets.


What's so good about cycling? Cycling helps keep us fit. People who ride to work arrive invigorated and/or can work off the day's stress on the way home. Exercise is known to reduce the risk cancer, cardiovascular disease plus it provides beneficial effects on stress and mental health.

Cycling to, from and for work also reduces local road congestion as well as air and noise pollution. Active transport assists New Zealand to reduce its greenhouse gas emission.

Healthy employees are more efficient, more productive and take less time off work.

People can generally cycle 5 kilometres comfortably and many work journeys may be just that distance. 


If driving is unavoidable, choose an efficient vehicle and ride share where possible. The Rightcar and Energywise websites can help you choose an efficient vehicle. The GreenFleet Carculate tool assists car buyers of all types to make more objective vehicle choices. Tips on efficient driving are available on the GreenFleet website. 


Flying on an occasional basis can add up to more CO2 emissions than the rest of your personal life combined. If you have to fly, there are a few measures you can take to help reduce the impact.

Tip #1. Stay at home/Check the alternatives
Technologies like teleconferencing and video Skype are easy and cost effective ways to be part of a meeting without actually physically attending. Not having to travel to your meeting allows major work-time savings. If you have to travel short-haul, can you ride-share with colleagues
 or take another mode of passenger transport (e.g. train)?

Tip #2. Fly Direct Whenever Possible
Not only is flying direct way more pleasant than a 3 hour stop-over in an out of the way place, it will cut down on the amount of fuel used on the journey. The amount used at cruising altitude is far less than when taking off. The largest amount of fuel per kilometre is used during take-off and climb. This is why short-haul flights are more carbon intensive per kilometre than long-haul. More take-offs mean more fuel used to get you to your destination.

Tip #3. Combine Trips if Possible
Try to combine multiple meetings into a single trip whenever possible. Stay a little longer to combine business trips with visiting family/friends where possible.

Tip #4. Choose Your Aircraft Wisely

Try to choose airlines which operate the newest equipment. Online booking sites and airline timetables will tell you the type of aircraft the airline typically uses on any given route. The latest aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 are significantly more fuel efficient per passenger than their older counterparts. Turboprop aircraft might fly lower and slower but they are more fuel efficient. Tell your airline that you prefer more efficient aircraft.

Tip #5. Buy and Deduct Your Carbon Offset
The links on the home page of this site allow you to fund tree planting at the Forests for Health site in Wellington. Alternatively, you could try planting your own trees to offset your trip. Airlines also offer carbon-offsets for travel. The ACE carbon calculator (click here to download) will help you to work out emissions related to your trip. 

Tip #6. Avoid the temptation of business class. 
Extra legroom means less seats. Less seats means more fuel burned per passenger mile. All the extras provided in business class come at a price of additional fuel burned and carbon generated.

Tip #7. Take less stuff.
Every kilo of luggage means additional fuel burned to get it to its destination. Try to stick to your weight limit and avoid excess baggage. With some airlines you can reduce the fare by taking no checked baggage.

Tip #8. Take a shuttle or ride-share to the airport.
Every little bit helps and sharing a ride with a shuttle or with your colleagues is a common sense way to save fuel and emissions as well as the cost of airport parking.

Tip #9. Try taking the vegetarian meal option.
Choosing vegetarian meals (including in the air) is a good way to reduce your environmental footprint.

Mark Roberts,Sustainable Business Network 2012.

As well as containing original material, this article has drawn on and quoted the following sources:
Have to Fly for Business? - Matt McDermott

Pack Less, Fly Direct, Stick with Economy - Sami Grover

How Green is the Airline Industry, Really? - Sarah Novak

Photo credits:
V. Heath

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