Our position on climate change

Climate change is a real global challenge already impacting our communities, our economy and our environment. We’re committed to taking real steps to address climate change, with a clear path to achieve net zero emissions from our generation operations by 2035.

We believe that human activity is accelerating climate change, so we are putting our energy where it matters by reducing our own emissions while supporting large industries and all New Zealanders to reduce theirs. We have accelerated our ambitions to decarbonise our generation portfolio by investing in significant new renewable generation while working through a systematic and planned removal of baseload thermal generation. At the same time, we’re supporting industry to decarbonise by transitioning to low carbon fuels like electricity.

As we navigate our way to a net zero future, we will make sure our customers always have access to secure, reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy. We know the transition to a low carbon economy won’t be easy, so we’re committed to open, honest, and productive partnerships to provide solutions to climate change.

Our emissions

Our greatest emissions are from power generation at our thermal and geothermal operations (scope 1).

We monitor our direct emissions and other discharges to air in line with resource consents and reporting requirements under the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Accurate monitoring enables us to track progress against targets and ensure transparency in reporting. Since 2018, we have been voluntarily reporting our scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. More information is in our GHG Inventory Reports below:

FY23 GHG Inventory and Assurance Report
FY22 GHG Inventory and Assurance Report
FY21 GHG Inventory

To see more historic emissions data, please see our ESG Reporting page.

Our emission reduction targets

Paris Agreement goal

We support the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and we are pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C. 

Net zero scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2035

Direct emissions from our power plants (scope 1), and all emissions from the purchase and use of electricity (scope 2) will be net zero by 2035. This will be achieved through investment in new renewable generation, the closure of baseload thermal generation, reducing our reliance on thermal peaking generation during periods of peak demand, carbon capture and reinjection, forestry offsets, and demand response innovation.

Science Based Target initiative (SBTi)

Contact was the first electricity company in New Zealand to set emission reduction targets through the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi). This initiative independently measures our progress to decarbonise and ensures that our targets regarding Climate Change are ambitious and in line with the current science required to minimise global warming to 1.5 degrees. We support a science-based approach to decarbonisation of the economy and believe that a science-based approach should guide mitigation actions and government policy on climate change.

Our current verified targets are:

  • To reduce our scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2026
  • To reduce absolute scope 1 and scope 3 emissions from all sold electricity by 45% by 2026
  • To reduce our scope 3 emissions from use of sold products by 34% by 2026

Aligning with government goals

New Zealand has committed to reaching net zero emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases by 2050 and reducing biogenic methane emissions between 24 and 47% by 2050.

New Zealand’s Climate Change Commission has published its climate action advice to the government in 2021 and 2023, detailing the paths to meet these climate targets.

We support these reports, which take a rigorous science-based approach to assess New Zealand’s current carbon trajectory. We agree that New Zealand must adopt the lowest cost mitigation opportunities to remain internationally competitive and minimise the impact to consumers, enterprises, and businesses.

In particular, Contact agrees with the Commission that:

  • More renewable generation will need to be built to enable emissions reductions across the economy
  • Gas will have a declining but important ongoing role in New Zealand’s energy mix
  • The Emissions Trading Scheme, with the right settings, is an effective market-based mechanism to price carbon and create incentives to decarbonise across New Zealand
  • Geothermal has a strong future in New Zealand. 

Taking our place in the business community

We are members of four trade associations which all support emissions targets in line with Paris Agreement goals, including the commitment to net zero. Contact’s strategy is aligned with all four associations.


Information on climate policy positions of our trade associations is here.

Helping New Zealanders lower their own emissions

Through our decarbonisation journey, we asked ourselves how we could help New Zealanders lower their own emissions by making a small change to their everyday behaviour.

Our plans Good Nights, Good Weekends and Good Charge help New Zealanders save money, and lower their own carbon emissions by using energy at off-peak times.

When most people get home from work in the early evening, they turn up the heating, cook dinner, and put some washing on. Everyone doing this at the same time creates peak demand which requires all our national electricity generation – including that generated by fossil fuels such as gas, diesel, or coal – to keep the lights on. The more we can shift power use to off-peak times, the greener our electricity becomes.