Businesses around New Zealand are embracing change, adapting and evolving to new challenges and demands — one of the most pressing being the issue of sustainability. For a company with a long and storied history, rather than rest on its legacy (or, perhaps, because of it) NZ Post's vision is firmly in the future — with its commitment to shifting to electric vehicles propelling its sustainability strategy forward.
The rise in demand for delivery during Covid-19 and the pandemic response is happening at the same time as people around the country look to minimise their carbon footprint at work and home, with climate change a significant global issue, one that is impacting people everywhere. NZ Post is no different, and being a sustainable operation is embedded into its strategy, NZ Post Group Sustainability Manager Dawn Baggaley tells NZ Herald, and its sustainability journey focuses around the electrification of its fleet. "It is also key to future-proofing and building a resilient business, especially as 95 per cent of our emissions come from fuel burn."
E-vehicles present a successful way to reduce carbon emissions for businesses that rely on automotive transport, and they are a major focus for the company. Recent years have seen NZ Post committed to fast-tracking its implementation, and it now has one of the largest electric fleets in New Zealand.
Currently, 100 per cent of it's Paxster mail buggies (first introduced in 2016) are electric and can be seen quietly and cleanly navigating suburbs around Aotearoa to deliver letters. In total, just over 50 per cent of NZ Post's owned vehicle fleet are e-vehicles already, and that's just the start. "Electric vehicles have been central to our sustainability plans to date, and we plan to continue work in this space," says Dawn. "Our ambitious target is to have 100 per cent of our own fleet and 25 per cent of our contractor fleet electric by 2025, with the balance of the contractor fleet electric by 2030."
To reach that goal, it has taken a myriad of steps, from financing to educating its contractors and teams. NZ Posts Electric Vehicle Incentive Programme provides funding each year to support its contractor fleet shift to e-vehicles. NZ Post has also established a partnership with NZ Green Investment Finance (NZGIF) to help contractors gain access to E-vans and LEVs. "Working with both NZGIF and Carbon Group has added a whole lot of expertise to solving the problem of reducing our carbon emissions from our last-mile delivery, focusing on our contractors who are small business owners," Dawn says. "We know electric vehicles cost a lot less to run, but the initial purchasing cost can be a barrier. By teaming up with NZGIF and offering a competitive finance deal means our contractors can shift into EVs sooner rather than later."
Transparency, improvement and communication are essential to operating a business now — no matter how large or small. For those looking to lower their environmental impact, knowing their products are delivered in an electric vehicle can be a welcome change — especially empowering insight for smaller businesses.
NZ Post has been connecting Kiwis for a long time, and this isn't the first innovative move from the delivery carrier. Since April 2021, all person-to-person sending has been carbon neutral, and in 2020 it debuted sustainable packaging options. It's also been providing support, working with the New Zealand Red Cross on disaster response work, refugee resettlement and programmes in the community — like 'Delivering for Good', a project that provides free domestic courier services to organisations improving connection, belonging and inclusion in Aotearoa.
This wider approach to community is something it applies to its own staff too, like fostering the all-important message of sustainability as a collective movement. "Over the last year we have been working with our people to help them understand their own carbon footprint and how they can take action to reduce it," says Dawn, explaining NZ Post's 'Future Fit' programme that teaches people to minimise their impact, with reporting on progress.
For Dawn, that teamwork is essential to combatting climate change. "My team's job is to set the strategy and help build capability across the business, but we know we can't do it alone, so we also collaborate with suppliers and customers on low-carbon initiatives that are crucial to our success."
E-vehicles are undeniably part of our future and, increasingly, our present, and NZ Post is committed to its vision for the next generations and the wellbeing of Aotearoa. "It's about doing the right thing and aligns with our values and purpose," Dawn says. "Delivering what people care about."
Discover more about NZ Post's EV mission at Nzpost.co.nz/about-us/sustainability/electric-vehicles