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In response to our role in reducing Aotearoa New Zealand’s carbon emissions – we’re in the process of developing the world’s first comprehensive steel product offset calculator.

This is part of our steel product carbon offset program – Hōtaka Whakakore Puhanga Waro (mo te Hua Rino), which has been developed to provide a robust carbon offsetting program for steel products in New Zealand.

Reducing the steel industry’s emissions is a big challenge. This is because carbon is primarily used in the steel making process as a reductant (rather than a fuel). And currently, no commercially viable alternative exists for coal as the reductant in steel making.

Until such an alternative is developed, it is important for the industry to utilise carbon offsetting as a mechanism to reduce net emissions.

How it works

  1. Emissions for most steel products used in New Zealand are calculated using our online calculator [1];
  2. Emissions are then offset via Ekos through the calculator itself. It has a requirement for the offsets to be focused on the planting and protection of native forests which in turn provides additional biodiversity and human capital benefits; and
  3. Ekos will send a receipt and certificate via email to show that emissions for a particular project/product have been offset.

 

It is important to note that once you have filled out the calculator:

  •  If the carbon impact of your steel products is less than 20 tCO2e then you will have the option to offset this straight away.
  • If the carbon impact of your steel products is greater than 20 tCO2e then your form will be submitted to an Ekos carbon analyst who will be in touch regarding next steps.
thinkstep-anz

How is the steel products carbon calculated?

carbon-calculator-concept

Why will this program be trustworthy and credible?

  • It is based on science!
    The core offsetting calculations in this program are based on life cycle assessment (LCA) and environmental product declarations (EPDs). This means the data is publicly available and peer-reviewed, and calculated in a consistent and comparable way across products.
  • Independence
    In consultation with us, the program rules were developed by independent sustainability advisors at thinkstep-anz. HERA, as an independent research association, has no vested interest in supporting one steel product, supplier or manufacturer above another.
  • Offsets that are trustworthy and have broader sustainability benefits
    Ekos is a New Zealand social enterprise that grows and protects indigenous forests, developing sustainable development outcomes in rural communities. Ekos’s carbon credits arise from establishing new forests and protecting existing forests indefinitely from logging. These conservation activities create measured, reported and verified carbon benefits. Ekos is recognised as a credible carbon offsetting scheme by ConsumerNZ[2].
[1] Alternatively, calculations can be performed manually using the guidance found in the programme rules
[2] https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/carbon-offset-schemes

Why is it important to support indigenous forest restoration and regeneration?

In New Zealand, regenerating and restoring native forests represents a huge opportunity for sequestering carbon, while creating jobs, restoring biodiversity, and protecting soils and waterways at home.

In Aotearoa, 85% of the land was once covered in indigenous forests, and home to a host of unique species of plants, birds, insects and reptiles. Today, only 24% of this kind of land cover remains. Taking steps to right this is important, particularly given we are experiencing a biodiversity crisis with 4000 indigenous species at risk of extinction.

Natural forests assist this, as they are among the most biodiverse places on the planet and form an enormous carbon store, regulating the world’s weather and climate. More carbon is stored in soil (44%) than living biomass (42%), with the rest found in dead wood (8%) and forest litter (5%). The alternative of agricultural tree plantations with very few species are much less carbon dense and support much less life.

Supporting indigenous forests is a win-win approach that tackles the complex links between climate, forests, waterways and other ecosystems, whilst weighing the impacts on local communities and economies.