Carbon offsets for MFE staff air travel

Michael Brown made this Official Information request to Ministry for the Environment

The request was successful.

From: Michael Brown

Dear Ministry for the Environment,

I have read with interest the MFE's Environment Sustainability Strategy (i.e. the online PDF marked Draft August 2018, at: and note that you are aiming to measure, report and externally verify your carbon emissions. I am interested to know more detail about what the Ministry is doing to mitigate the environmental impact of its own activities, in particular around the emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), as this could potentially serve as a model for the wider public service.

One of the main sources of GHGs is the transport sector, and air travel in particular. My question is: Does the MFE offset carbon emissions resulting from staff air travel?

Could you please also provide the following information:

1. If MFE does offset staff-air-travel related carbon emissions, then please provide the policy and operational documents relating to the offsetting.

2. The total kilometers of air travel taken by MFE staff in the 2018-2019 financial year.

3. The amount of carbon produced by this 2018-2019 air travel (if information is available).

4. The name of the external organisation who externally verified the figures for questions (2) and (3), if this data has been verified.

5. If MFE has offset the GHG emissions resulting from the 2018-2019 air travel, provide the cost of the offsetting and details about the organisation(s) who provided the carbon credits.

6. If MFE is not currently offsetting its GHG emissions, please provide any documents relating to the estimated cost of doing this and plans to implement offsetting.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Brown

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From: Ministerials
Ministry for the Environment

Kia ora and thank you for contacting our team.

We will endeavour to respond to your request as soon as possible and in any event no later than 20 working days after the day your request was received. If we are unable to respond to your request by then, we will notify you of an extension to that timeframe.

Please note the Ministry for the Environment will release responses to selected OIA requests on our OIA responses page shortly after the response has been sent.

If you have any queries, please feel free to contact us.

Ngâ mihi nui

Executive Relations team
Ministry for the Environment – Manatû Mô Te Taiao
Email: [MFE request email] Website:
23 Kate Sheppard Place, Thorndon, Wellington 6143

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From: Ministerials
Ministry for the Environment

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Kia ora Michael


Please find attached the response to your request of 11 August 2019.


Ngâ mihi


Executive Relations Team
Ministry for the Environment – Manatû Mô Te Taiao
Website: [1] 
23 Kate Sheppard Place, PO Box 10362, Wellington 6143

[3]cid:image010.png@01D256EA.F8872C70 [4]cid:image011.png@01D256EA.F8872C70 [5]cid:image012.png@01D256EA.F8872C70



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From: Michael Brown

Dear Vicki (Ministerials),

Thanks for this information and I look forward to reading the 2018-19 Enviro-Mark report which you indicate is due soon.

As air travel made up 82% of the MFE carbon emissions in the 2017-18 year, I applaud your target of reducing air travel by 20% by 2020. But you also may want to look again at off-setting the emissions, as it seems relatively inexpensive. If my calculations are correct, the Enviro-Mark calculators suggest that at $35 per tCO2e, you could offset the whole of your 2017-18 emissions for just over $46,000.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Brown

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