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Reduce your carbon footprint

Achieving a net zero future will rely on everyone reducing their carbon footprint.

What is your carbon footprint?

Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases generated by your behaviour and actions. This includes your transport choices, the food you eat, and the energy you use.

To get a better understanding of what your individual carbon footprint is, and how you can reduce it, you can follow the steps below:

  1. Calculate your carbon footprint
  2. Set goals to track and reduce your emissions
  3. Offset any remaining emissions that you are unable to reduce.

When you're thinking about your footprint, see how you compare to the New Zealand average. Keep in mind that we need to act both locally and globally to halve our carbon by 2030.

1. Calculate

To calculate your carbon footprint you'll need a general idea of:

  1. how many kilometers you travel by car, bus, train, or plane
  2. what type and how much energy you use – for example, electricity and natural gas
  3. what you do with your waste
  4. the composition of your diet.

2. Set and track targets

Once you've calculated your footprint, take the time to set some specific goals and actions to reduce your footprint. You're not in this alone, so consider sitting down with your whānau or flatmates and discussing the actions you can take.

Then, track your progress over time.

For ideas on reducing your emissions, visit Five ways to take climate action.

3. Offset your carbon emissions

A carbon offset is a way of compensating for your emissions by funding carbon dioxide savings elsewhere, such as forestry projects that capture carbon from the atmosphere.

Once you know more about your carbon footprint and have made steps to reduce emissions, you can offset the remaining emissions.

Although carbon offsetting is important, it is not a single solution. We must reduce as much of our emissions as possible, and plant as many trees as we can before doing this.

Offsetting should be only used for the carbon emissions that simply can't be reduced or eliminated.

Resources for measuring, tracking, and offsetting your carbon footprint

The following tools help you to measure, track and offset your personal and household carbon footprint.

  • FutureFit by Gen Less gives a snapshot of your impact on the planet and suggests positive changes to reduce your footprint. You can use this to track your changing footprint over time and see how your actions have contributed to an overall increase or decrease.
  • Toitu’s free carbon calculators let you calculate your household and travel emissions, with the option for offsetting.
  • Visit Toitu.co.nz or Ekos.org.nz to explore offsetting your emissions.
Example of a carbon footprint snapshot from FutureFit.nz, including a
Example of a carbon footprint snapshot from FutureFit.nz