One of the most commonly used and widely adopted definitions of sustainable development is “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Essentially, sustainability is about the relationship between people and planet; remembering that we are inextricably part of this planet, and that our societies (including economies) depend upon healthy biological and physical systems.
At its most literal level, ‘sustainability’ refers to the quality of a state or process that allows it to be maintained indefinitely. At present, the way we are living is not sustainable. If we carry on as we are, the Earth’s natural resources and physical systems will be irreversibly damaged and depleted.
This will have serious consequences for the ability of humans to produce enough food to meet our needs, changes in climate will displace millions of people and destroy the livelihoods of others, increasing scarcity of resources may lead to conflict and war, and loss of natural ecosystems resulting in massive species loss.
The Global Footprint Network measures how much land and water area the human population requires to produce the resource it consumes and to absorb its wastes, and whether we are consuming nature’s resources faster than the planet can renew them. Currently, humanity uses the equivalent of 1.6 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year. We are depleting the resources on which we depend for survival. A sustainable society is one in which people can lead healthy, satisfying lifestyles which are within the capacity of the planet to support. New Zealand’s footprint has been steadily declining over the last 50 years, and if this trend continues, our ecological footprint will soon overreach our biocapacity.
The problems we face in achieving sustainability are large, but they can be overcome. They can’t be solved just by changing your light bulbs (though that is certainly a good start). We will require new ways of thinking about how we live our lives – how we work, how we do business, how we eat, shop, travel and participate in our communities. We need to view resource use not as a linear process – turning raw materials into useful items, then disposing of them when they are no longer useful – but a cyclical process, where resources are instead reused indefinitely.
Among the most evident environmental problems are overpopulation, resource depletion, pollution, water pollution, waste and waste disposal, ocean acidification, acid rain, ozone layer depletion, global warming/climate change, loss of biodiversity and habitat loss, deforestation, and urban sprawl.
are harmful effects of human activity on the biophysical environment. Environmental protection is a practice of protecting the natural environment on individual, organizational or governmental levels, for the benefit of both the environment and humans.
In September 2015, the United Nations signed up to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (external link) and 169 targets.
The 17 goals and 169 targets set out a universal agenda to achieve sustainable development globally, known as Agenda 2030. They bring together the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. They apply to all countries.
The goals build on the lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals, which focused specifically on developing countries.
What do they mean for New Zealand?
New Zealand will contribute to achievement of the goals through a combination of domestic action, international leadership on global policy issues, and supporting countries through the New Zealand Aid Programme.
In New Zealand
Achieving the SDGs will require a cross-Government effort. New Zealand government agencies are reviewing the goals and their alignment with existing Government priorities. This analysis will inform a discussion on how New Zealand focuses its efforts.
At a UN meeting on Implementation of the SDGs, Minister for Climate Change Issues, Paula Bennett, identified issues that are of greatest importance to New Zealanders, and where the New Zealand Government is focussing its work. These include:
The private sector and civil society can also help reach the goals. Already a number of NGOs and businesses are considering how their work helps, and are engaging productively with government agencies.
Through global policy influence
Achieving outcomes will rely on action at the global level. New Zealand will contribute to this through our international leadership on issues such as:
Through aid investment
The New Zealand Aid Programme is well-positioned to support our partner countries’ achievement of the SDGs through its focus on sustainable economic development and complementary investments in education, health, governance and resilience.
We will work with partner countries to support priority targets in areas where New Zealand can be most effective.
This is in line with the call made by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully (external link), during the adoption of the SDGs for a targeted approach, focused on practical outcomes in order to make a tangible difference.
The Minister identified renewable energy and fisheries as “game-changers” for the Pacific region.
The Aid Programme is supporting ambitious targets for the region in terms of expanded access to affordable, reliable and clean energy and increased economic and food security benefits from sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.
How do we measure success?
Although the goals are not legally binding, countries are expected to report voluntarily on implementation.
New Zealand has emphasised the importance of measuring and tracking effectively their implementation without adding additional layers of bureaucracy.
Officials are currently working across different agencies to coordinate indicators and results measurement and reporting systems.
New Zealand’s development effort involves leadership and coordination on policy issues alongside aid funding. Our aid efforts are more likely to succeed if partner countries have effective policies in place. Therefore, engaging with partner governments on policy issues is an important part of our development work. We’re a champion internationally for development issues affecting small island developing states. Domestically, we advocate for development-friendly New Zealand policy.
New Zealand has six priorities of focus for our policy to work:
Tourism has become an important sector that has an impact on development of the country. The main benefits of tourism are income creation and generation of jobs. For many regions, it is the most important source of welfare.
“Tourism comprises the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes.” Tourism is different from travel.
Mass tourism is a form of tourism that involves tens of thousands of people going to the same resort often at the same time of year. It is the most popular form of tourism as it is often the cheapest way to holiday, and is often sold as a PACKAGE DEAL.
Alternative toursim is the opposite of mass organized tourism. “Alternative tourism involves travel that is personal and authentic and encourages interaction with the local environment, people and communities.
Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small-scale alternative to standard commercial mass tourism.
Sustainable tourism is an industry committed to making a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate future employment for local people. The positive of sustainable tourism is to ensure that development is a positive experience for local people; tourism companies; and tourists.
As more regions and countries develop their tourism industry, it produces significant impacts on natural resources, consumption patterns, pollution and social systems. The need for sustainable/responsible planning and management is imperative for the industry to survive as a whole.
Responsible Tourism– is any form of tourism that can be consumed in a more responsible way. “Responsible tourism minimizes negative social, economic and environmental impacts. generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities.
Zealandier Tours is extremely passionate about our environment and has given much consideration to ensure we are working towards sustainable practice in all areas of our business, including but not limited to our natural environment, cultural heritage, and conservation.
We have multiple measures in which we actively contribute towards a sustainable environment, culture, and conservation: We have broken these down to specific elements.
To ensure that this is not only a good intention we at Zealandier Tours has identified for all its employees, associates and clients the key areas where working together collaboratively within this business of tourism can make a real difference within the environment and for the future of our children and children’s children. We are committed as a company to provide tours which are environmentally and sociably sustainable.
What we can do
Tour itineraries / sites visited
|We offer a large array of itineraries and a variety of locations so that people do not all visit only NZ’s most popular attractions.||To reduce the impact of the footprint visited.|
|We run small to medium sized group tours||To reduce the impact of the footprint visited.|
|Educate clients about safety in the environment, re weather conditions and bush craft.||Clients will be safe|
|Tell clients they must keep to the tracks provided/marked.||Walk the tracks reduces damage to forest/ sand dunes etc.|
|Tell clients Do not to disturb the wildlife.||Wildlife will remain safe
|Tell clients Do not pick the flora||Plants will not be damaged or die. Some berries /plants etc can be poisonous.|
|Tell clients -Bring out any rubbish and/or discard correctly.
Encourage everybody to pick up another people’s discarded rubbish they may see on their journey
|Rubbish will be disposed of correctly and recycled and there will be no threat to wildlife.|
|We run both petrol & diesel fueled vehicles
Petrol fueled vehicles have a larger Horse Power- which has been proven that a powerful engine working at part throttle is more efficient than lower HP engine working at full throttle.
|Increased HP means less fuel consumption for full capacity laden vehicles – engine does not have to work so hard.
This means not producing excessive gas/carbon emission and better fuel consumption
|We run our vehicles at full capacity
|This means not producing excessive gas/carbon emission and better fuel consumption|
|Have recently chosen to upsize our vehicles to 20 seat capacity which means fewer vehicles to run the tours.||1 x 20 seat vehicle is more environmentally friendly than 2 x 10 seater vehicles|
|Maintenance of vehicles –
We service our vehicles every 10,000kms
|Ensures optimum running = less fuel|
|Tyre pressures are checked each week||Ensures optimum running = less fuel|
|We have introduced a 90km driving speed whilst carrying passengers||This is a more consistent speed given NZ road conditions – therefore uses less fuel and it’s a safer more comfortable speed to travel at.|
|We support the wise use of water
Firstly, our toilets are all dual flush.
|We are metered for water by local council body and pay for usage- so wise use costs less and saves for the environment
|All our taps are spring loaded and we check and repair any leaking taps.||Dripping tap wastes water and is costly|
|Washing of vehicles||Most of our vehicles are washed at a local commercial car wash as they are set up with correct recycle systems, and only use biodegradable products and are administered at correct measured dosage.|
|However, if and when we need to wash these at home our hoses are fitted with spring loaded water guns off/on nozzles to ensure minimal use also. We use enviro friendly products and attempt to only use correct dosage.|
|Advocate full load washes for dishwasher||Saves water usage and costs|
|Advocate full load in washing machine||Saves water usage and cost|
Energy – electricity/gas
|Lighting – we use energy saving bulbs where possible||Saves electricity/ energy|
|Heating – our building is insulated, as are the hot water pipes and cylinder.||Reduces waste of energy|
|Heating – rooms are fitted with drapes over windows||Reduces lost heat/energy|
|Heating- use energy efficient heaters||Saves electricity|
|Hot water – cylinder is run at recommended temperature of 49 -52 Celsius||Saves electricity and prevents hot water burns.|
|Equipment – we have a turn off policy when not in use and/or powersave mode for any regularly used items.||Saves electricity|
|Reduce paper consumption by printing double sided documents on paper which has been produced from “responsible forestry practices’.||Environmentally friendly|
|Printing of advertising/ marketing collateral is kept to a minimum as most advertising is done via our web site – however what is done is always printed on environmentally responsible papers.||Environmentally friendly|
|Recycle all our paper – We have a shredding policy||Reduces negative impact of waste|
|Don’t use paper/plastic takeaway cups||Reduces waste|
|We use recycled cardboard for our packed lunch boxes||Reduces negative impact on waste|
|We recycle paper / cardboard/plastics/glass/aluminum
We encourage ALL our staff and clients to follow this model.
|Reduces negative impact of waste|
|Some of our staff also recycle vegetation and food scraps to compost|
|We recycle old cell phones – drop at any phone sales outlet -Vodafone or Spark and mark for Starship Children’s hospital||Starship get monies from on selling or recycling of these.|
|Print/ink cartridges are re filled||Reduces negative impact on environment|
|Take own carry bags to supermarket||Reduces negative impact on waste.|
|Used car batteries are dropped at transfer stations||Reduces negative impact on waste|
|Old computers/ screens & keyboards are taken to recycling depot where they are stripped down||Reduces negative impact on waste|
Work with/ support financially relevant organizations which fit with our business or social cultures.
|We choose to work / partner with like-minded business with same ethos and values.||Positive message about sustainability spreads collectively|
|Partner with DOC -Dept of Conservation and pay a fee for every person we take on tour to a DOC area.||This fee assists to maintain the region with walking tracks / bathrooms/ traps for kiwi bird predators.|
|Restrict the number of tourists we take to a specific area/ region/ attraction at any one time.||Prevents harm of the region/site environmentally|
|Promote Eco tourism – not MASS Tourism||Protects the environment|