A growing population will put strain on our natural resources. It is vital that we ensure resources are used efficiently and sustainably for future generations. A sustainability focus will allow us to begin transitioning Christchurch to a low carbon city.

Changes to our Community Outcomes and Strategic Priorities

The Council approved a new 2020 strategic framework on 19 December 2019 and this is currently part of the consultation document on the annual plan.

Information on our revised Community Outcomes and Strategic Priorities is currently being developed.

What this means for our district

  • Energy is used efficiently, with a greater proportion from renewable sources.
  • Water is used efficiently and sustainably.
  • Each person and organisation works towards zero waste.
  • We transition to being a low carbon city.

How we are contributing

We have recently replaced our car fleet with an electric car sharing service(external link). These cars are shared with other organisations who have signed onto the scheme, and will help council achieve our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.

We are currently developing a policy statement on climate change, and action plans for our approach to mitigation and adaption. Our Waste Management and Minimisation Plan outlines our approach to waste minimisation, and encourages all organisations and individuals to take responsibility for reducing waste to landfill.

How you can help

Reduce your carbon footprint by taking your bike or sharing a ride with friends and family, or using public transport. Consider a battery electric vehicle if you're buying a new car, or try out a car share scheme.

If you're building a new home, or renovating an existing building, use sustainable materials and incorporate renewable energy options to save you money and help the environment. Avoid watering your garden during the the day in summer to avoid evaporation and water wastage.

How we are doing

Status What do we want to achieve? What has happened?
Mixed result
Mixed Results

Total energy consumption

Energy use has increased by 10 percent since the earthquakes, to a total of 32,700 tera joules in the year to April 2018. Since then it has declined by 2% to 32,100 tera joules in the year to December 2018. Further information.

Negative result

Renewable versus non-renewable energy consumption

Renewable energy as a proportion of total energy use has declined from 38% before the earthquakes to 33% in 2018. Further information.

Community Carbon Footprint During the 2016/2017 June financial year, Christchurch emitted an estimated 2,485,335 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). However forestry and vegetation in Christchurch captured an estimated 362,679 tCO2e, reducing Christchurch's gross greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to 2,122,656 tCO2e. Further information.
Mixed result
Mixed Results

Total waste to landfill

Waste ending up in landfill decreased by 7% in the year to June 2018 when compared to the previous year, with 282,000 tonnes going to landfill, however this is still 6 per cent higher than the pre-earthquake peak. Further information.

Total energy consumption

Energy consumption in the City was reasonably stable before the earthquakes, with just under 30,000 tera joules used each year. 

The earthquakes had two effects on energy use, with a decline immediately after the beginning of the earthquake sequence (for about a year), and then increased energy use as the rebuild progressed.

Energy consumption appears to have peaked in April 2018 at 10% higher than the pre-earthquake at 32,700 tera joules.  Since then Christchurch's energy consumption has declined by 2% to 31,100 tera joules in the year to December 2018.

Total energy use per person has followed a similar pattern to total consumption with a post earthquake increase in consumption per person.  Between 2013 and 2017 average consumption has been around 85 giga joules per person, however in the 2018 year this has declined to 82.7 giga joules per person the lowest it has been since the earthquakes.

Renewable versus non-renewable energy consumption

Before the earthquakes, 39% of energy used in the City was from renewable sources, such as hydro and biofuels. Since the earthquakes, the proportion of renewable energy has declined to 33% of the total energy used in 2014 and remained at this level.

The major contributor to this growth in non-renewable energy use has been the growth in transport energy use, especially the growth in diesel use, which increased from just under 7000  to over 9700 tera joules since 2014.

Christchurch community carbon footprint

During the 2016/2017 June financial year, Christchurch emitted an estimated 2,485,335 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). Excluding forestry sequestration or take up of carbon dioxide, this equates to 6.6 tCO2e per person.

Transportation represents 53% of these emissions, followed by stationary energy (23%), Agriculture (10.5%), Waste (9%) and Industry (5%).

Forestry in Christchurch resulted in sequestration (carbon capture) of an estimated 362,679 tCO2e which reduces Christchurch's gross greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to 2,122,656 tCO2e.

Total waste to landfill

Waste going to landfill was decreasing during the 1990s and early 2000s. It then started to increase steadily to peak at 265,000 tonnes in 2006. 

Waste generation is often linked to consumption, which tends to be higher when the economy is doing well. The global financial crisis in the mid-2000s could be one of the reasons for waste to landfill decreasing from 2006.

In 2009, the Council introduced the three bin kerbside rubbish, recycling and organic collection. This resulted in waste being diverted from the landfill, with the amount of green waste being composted doubling and the rate of recycling continued to increase. 

As a result of the demolition and rebuild programme since the earthquakes, waste going to the landfill increased, peaking at 310,000 tonnes in 2015. This was 13% higher than the pre-earthquake peak in 2006. As the rebuild programme progresses, we can expect the waste to landfill to decrease. This is reflected in 2018, where the waste to landfill decreased to 282,000 tonnes, the lowest it has been since 2014. 

Further information

Please email monitor@ccc.govt.nz for further information.

Liability statement

Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in processing, analysing and reporting the information provided in these web pages and reports. However, the Christchurch City Council gives no warranty that the information in these web pages and reports contain no errors. The Council shall not be liable for any loss or damage suffered consequent upon the use directly, or indirectly, of the information supplied in this publication.