Queenstown’s Ziptrek Ecotours is celebrating Christmas early with the announcement it’s the first Queenstown company to achieve Zero Carbon Business for 2019.
The news follows an independent assessment of Ziptrek’s last financial year by Ekos, a non-profit enterprise developing carbon projects to grow and protect indigenous forests in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
This end of year achievement flows into the company’s 2020 plan as it transforms into a Future-Fit business, a global and open-sourced sustainability framework for business. Future-Fit measures Ziptrek’s capacity to be environmentally restorative, economically inclusive and socially just, relating back to the UN Development Goals.
Celebrating a decade in business, Ziptrek Ecotours is already renowned as a pioneering eco-tourism company founded on strong principles of sustainability and conservation for which it has won many awards.
This latest achievement follows a year of measuring and offsetting the carbon footprint of its business operations with certified carbon credits, in this case contributing to the Rarakau Rainforest Conservation Project in Southland.
The project is the closest of its kind currently available to Queenstown businesses, and is used for conservation management and landowner community development in Southland.
Ziptrek is working with Ekos to support a project closer to home in 2020.
To help develop its carbon performance, Ziptrek has been ensuring all travel on flights with Air New Zealand are offset in line with their FlyNeutral carbon offset programme. It has also switched to electricity retailer Ecotricity which is 49% community owned, 100% renewable and also certified carbon neutral, to further increase its ‘green’ partnerships.
The 5000-plus trees, shrubs and grasses that the company has planted over the past ten years on its zipline site at Gondola Hill or around the local area, thanks to the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust, are a bonus.
“They’re not included in this scientific calculation as they’re not certified for carbon, but in our mind they’re a huge bonus for the birds, bugs and biosphere in our local context,” said Ziptrek Ecotours company director Trent Yeo.
“We’re looking closely at other ways to continue to reduce our carbon emissions, such as reducing the need to travel in the first instance.
“We’re undertaking webinar training sessions rather than travelling to certain events and we reward our staff for biking to work rather than driving.
“For Ziptrek, this is an additional layer of robustness to what we’ve been doing for the past ten years, and our customers know their zipline adventure in Queenstown will be carbon free.
“As well as being the first company in Queenstown to achieve Zero Carbon, we will be the second business in New Zealand to become Future-Fit certified, and do so behind tourism giant Tourism Holdings Limited, high five to them,” says Trent.
To celebrate its zero carbon status, Ziptrek has produced a T-shirt with a graphic created by Ed Hawkins, depicting the rate of warming in different countries around the world from 1901 to 2018.
The ‘Show Your Stripes With Ziptrek’ T-shirt shows the temperature variation of Aotearoa over time and is locally-printed in Queenstown on organic cotton.