We are excited to share that on Nov 30, 2022, Wisk New Zealand became the first part of Wisk to be certified as Toitū net carbonzero!
Toitū net carbonzero certification means that our carbon footprint, emissions reductions, and offsets have been independently verified and meet or exceed international standards and best practices. Wisk New Zealand now has a reliable benchmark against which to set future actionable goals to reduce emissions.
Wisk New Zealand is leading the way in Wisk’s pursuit of carbon neutrality. As the company grows, lessons learned from this effort will be adapted to the larger and more complex parts of Wisk in the United States and Canada.
Achieving net carbon neutrality now is important, says New Zealand Test Pilot and Senior Project Engineer Easwaran Krishnaswamy, “It is best to incorporate sustainability while we are setting up. Getting in on the ground floor with this mindset means that all the choices we make now will affect how we function in the future.”
Leanne Gordon, Manager of Corporate Services for Wisk New Zealand agrees, adding that “Establishing processes is a big part of it, which is why it is important to start early. This means we understand what’s needed, and we can set up adaptable processes which can grow with us as the business becomes more complex.”
Understanding Our Impact — The Carbon Inventory
Easwaran shared the idea of pursuing a net carbon zero certification almost two years ago. He recognized that the environmental benefits of an all-electric aircraft needed to be supported by a sustainable approach across all aspects of the company.
With the support of leadership, he paved the way to have Wisk New Zealand take sustainability to the next level.
Asia Pacific Region Director Catherine MacGowan says that carbon zero efforts have the full backing of Wisk leadership, adding:
“We know that getting carbonzero certified is just one of many steps towards ensuring Wisk is truly leading the way in safe, sustainable flight.”
The first step towards Toitū net carbonzero certification was to conduct a comprehensive carbon inventory of all of Wisk New Zealand’s facilities and activities. This meant identifying all the direct and indirect sources of carbon emissions. The second step was to accurately measure emissions. All three Wisk locations in New Zealand (Wellington, Tekapo, and Christchurch) were inventoried.
Leanne spearheaded the information-gathering efforts, which began in March 2021. This process has been ongoing and iterative, as we identified how to track and capture the necessary information. This included discovering some surprising sources of emissions, such as those associated with wastewater or the impact of staff working from home. Other information required additional research, such as identifying which landfill received each location’s garbage, as individual landfill processing methods impact carbon emissions.
Changing How We do Business
Emissions from our suppliers and service providers were the most difficult to quantify. These types of indirect emissions are, by far, the largest part of our New Zealand Office’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory, surpassing our direct emissions by a ratio of 15:1. For example, even during COVID, the New Zealand team’s largest carbon costs were from travel. Employees often travel between locations domestically and internationally.
Wisk New Zealand Emissions 2021
Undertaking our carbon inventory has already influenced considerations about who we work with. Leanne notes that after this audit process she is more likely to “select a preferred supplier in New Zealand based upon the ability of these suppliers to provide carbon emissions reports for our carbon accounting.“
Starting in 2023, Wisk New Zealand will alter its processes for tracking mail, air travel, and the mileage traveled by car to better track emissions. We will also investigate establishing preferred suppliers for all freight movement, with monthly reporting provided on accrued emissions. Easwaran points out that “most of the time sustainably doesn’t cost you more. You just have to find the correct channels. After a period of time, the benefits become clear.“
Continuous Improvement — The Goal to Keep Getting Better
Wisk New Zealand has committed to a three-year relationship with Toitū. This past year has been dedicated to identifying and measuring our carbon footprint. The following two years will be dedicated to process improvements to measuring and reducing emissions. Such iterations allow us to recognize where we can make changes and what influences these changes have on the data.
“While it might seem as if the certification of our NZ office is a small achievement in the big scheme of things, I think it’s a very important first step for Wisk. The experience the NZ team gained by going through the process will inform the carbon footprint measuring efforts for the rest of the company. I am grateful to the NZ team, especially Easwaran and Leanne, for putting that much work into the process and doing all the learning that will make it easier for the North American part of the company to get certified.”
Daniela Schaff, Wisk’s Head of Sustainability
We recognize carbon zero as a baseline goal from which to grow, and we are excited to pursue the goals we have set and achieve science-based emissions reduction targets. We recognize that Net Zero Certification is not the end, but just the beginning, of our sustainability efforts. The ultimate goal is to get emissions of all kinds to the lowest-possible levels, to protect a better future for our planet, employees, and our customers.