Staff member Demaris with her e-bike outside AA Insurance House in Auckland.
Did you know the average New Zealander emits 6 tonnes of carbon* a year? That’s 8 return flights between Auckland and Sydney!
At AA Insurance, we're committed to looking after our customers and our people as well as what’s important to them, like our communities and the environment. The impact our daily habits have on our planet is often bigger than we think. With a few simple and deliberate actions, we can collectively work towards reducing our carbon footprint, and contribute towards a brighter future for New Zealanders. We’ve asked the AA Insurance team to share some of the actions they have taken at home to reduce their carbon footprint.
Measuring what matters
Calculating your own carbon footprint can be a first step towards understanding and managing your environmental impact. Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases that are generated by your actions, normalised to carbon dioxide equivalent. At AA Insurance, our calculations showed us that, at 45%, fuel consumption was a huge contributor to our overall emissions. With that knowledge, we began transitioning our corporate fleet to hybrid vehicles. Now, 85% of our fleet is hybrid, reducing our annual emissions by 27%. There are many calculators out there that can help you identify where the opportunities lie for you to reduce your own impact.
Taking meaningful action
Once you’ve identified your areas of opportunity, you can start thinking about the actions you are ready to take to reduce your carbon footprint. What are the easiest and most effective changes you can make to live more sustainably? Our staff members have shared the changes they’ve been making to reduce their impact:
Waste: being attentive to the waste you create is a first step to reducing it. Our staff have taken steps to repurpose their green waste thanks to worm farms and composting bins. Making conscious purchasing decisions, such as buying loose fruit and vegetables and goods in FSC certified paper, recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging, can help reduce the waste that goes to landfill. Did you know that you can recycle your soft plastics in some of the nation’s largest retail stores?
Water: clean water is a precious commodity and reducing our use is not only good for the environment but can help save money too. Activities that use the most water are showering and doing the laundry. Watercare has a number of suggestions on how we can save water in our homes and gardens, starting with limiting our showers to 4 minutes. Can you rise to the challenge? Our staff have also recommended catching shower water and rainwater to feed the plants.
Energy: turning off the lights after you leave a room is a good place to start when it comes to saving energy. A few of our staff members have moved over to energy saving light bulbs, such as LEDs, to reduce their power consumption, and others have bought draught stoppers to reduce heat loss in their homes over the winter months. At AA Insurance, meeting room lights are turned off every evening to save power, and our offices are equipped with sensors, so the lights automatically go off once an area sits empty for 15 minutes.
Shopping: one of the best things we can all do for the environment is to buy less stuff, starting with clothing. The production of new clothes can have a substantial carbon footprint attached to it. Next time you need a new outfit, why not check out your local op shop? Buying groceries at bulk food stores and farmers’ markets and making conscious purchasing decisions at your local supermarket - like buying products with the Toitū carbonzero certification logo or the largest packs of produce available – can all help reduce the environmental impact of your weekly shop. And, when you’re out and about, don’t forget your reusable shopping bags, water bottle and coffee cup – you never know when they might come in handy.
Transport: for many of us, transport is the biggest contributor to our carbon emissions. Some of our staff members have been cutting their vehicle use by walking or cycling for shorter trips and using public transport and ridesharing for their commute. If you are upgrading your car, why not have a look at the hybrid or electric vehicle options available to you? You can learn about insuring EVs and hybrid vehicles on our blog.
Offsetting your carbon
Whilst taking action to reduce our carbon footprint is key, some emissions are unavoidable. There are a few ways to offset these: for individuals, you can financially support environmental projects through carbon offsetting schemes, widely used on flights. You can also join a local tree-planting initiative and enjoy a day outside with family and friends, doing good in your community. Our AA Insurance Executive Management team planted trees to offset the emissions created by employees travelling to our annual Town Hall meeting.
By making a few small changes to our daily habits, we can reduce our individual carbon footprint and positively contribute to the protection and preservation of our environment for generations to come. Why not start tracking your carbon footprint today and see what actions you can take?
Check out our Corporate Social Responsibility page for more information on what we're doing for our customers, people, communities and environment.
*Greenhouse gases generated by human activity (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides) are normalised to carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq.), but often simply called "carbon".
Now’s a great time to review your insurance. We recommend checking your details are up to date and ensuring the policy and cover you’ve chosen is right for you and your insurance needs.
If you have any questions about your insurance, need to update your AA Insurance policies or would like a quote, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re open from 8am to 8pm weekdays and from 8am to 6pm weekends and public holidays.
This blog provides general information only and is not intended to be a recommendation or personalised financial advice. Excesses, terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply to AA Insurance Limited’s policies. Please check the policy wording for details of cover. The provision of cover is subject to the underwriting criteria that apply at the time.