11 June 2021

Contact lifts climate change ambitions with new science-based targets

Contact Energy ('Contact') has committed to ambitious new climate change targets aligned with the goal of minimising global warming to 1.5 degrees, and approved by the influential Science Based Target initiative (https://sciencebasedtargets.org/).

In April 2019, Contact was the first New Zealand energy company to set verified science-based targets, and these initial targets were updated in September 2019.

Contact is aiming to reduce overall emissions by more than 45%. This would see a reduction of over 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of removing more than 100,000 petrol cars from the road for a year.

Contact Energy CEO Mike Fuge said the company’s new science-based targets were “very ambitious” but also aligned with Contact’s strategy and decarbonisation agenda. 

“We’ve placed renewed effort on enhancing our environmental, social and governance credentials and we’re committed to playing a leading role in the decarbonisation of New Zealand. We all need to understand the urgency and play our part.

“The targets are one thing, but more importantly they will be accompanied by action. We are well under way with several things which will reduce our emissions. This includes building the low emission, renewable geothermal power station at Tauhara, as well as reviewing the future of our thermal portfolio.”

Since 2012, Contact has reduced its overall emissions by 62 per cent. This has been achieved by closing down high-emission power plants, prioritising low-emission fuel options for electricity generation, and completing emission reduction projects across its sites. 

Globally, over 1000 companies have registered with the Science Based Target initiative and have collectively reduced their emissions by over 25 per cent since 2015. 



How Contact reports emissions

Contact uses the Greenhouse Gas Protocol to measure and report on its emissions. Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from operations; Scope 2 emissions are from the purchase and use of electricity; and Scope 3 emissions are created throughout the company’s supply chain.

Details of Contact’s SBTI targets

Contact Energy commits to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG  emissions 45% by 2026 from a 2018 base year. Contact Energy also commits to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions from all sold electricity 45% by 2026 from a 2018 base year. Contact Energy commits to reduce scope 3 from use of sold products emissions 34% by 2026 from a 2018 base year.

About the Science Based Target initiative

The Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) is a collaboration between CDP, World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and is one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments. It champions science-based target setting as a way of boosting companies’ competitive advantage in the transition to a low-carbon economy and tackling climate change.


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Leah Chamberlin-Gunn