Here at Mt Hutt we are on a mission to do the best we can by our environment.
This year we have made a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030. We know it’s a big goal, but we're ready for it – and we're already part way there.
We're proudly guided by the concepts of kaitiakitanga (meaning: guardianship and protection) and manaakitanga (meaning: respect, generosity and care). We understand and acknowledge that our environment is the backbone of our operation, and it’s our responsibility to look after it.
We don't take anything we do for granted and our promise to share our passion for the mountain has never felt as important as it does right now, as we begin our journey to carbon neutral by 2030.
ROAD TO CARBON NEUTRAL
Mt Hutt belongs to family owned and operated tourism powerhouse – NZSki. Our sister mountains are Queenstown’s Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.
At NZSki our primary greenhouse gas emission sources are diesel fuel - used for grooming and transport - and electricity. Together our three mountains produce approximately 3000Tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 and 2 only) annually.
To kick start our journey of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, we have committed to reduce net carbon emissions by 50% this season. Here's how we plan to do that;
1. We’ve purchased Meridian Energy’s Certified Renewable Energy product. In conjunction with our emission reduction programs it also means we can report our market-based scope 2 emissions as zero* (our scope 2 emissions are currently reported as over 1000T per annum).
2. Purchasing Carbon Credits from Carbonz – the credits come from native vegetation blocks in the Otago and Canterbury regions; for 2023 this offsets 400T.
3. The continuation of NZSki’s Emission Reduction Initiatives.
*Using the market-based reporting methodology as per the GHG Protocol’s Scope 2 Guidance.
You’ll notice carbon offsetting is one part of our multi-pronged approach. We know this isn’t a long-term solution and overtime the native trees we plant will begin to sequester carbon, taking over from the credits we purchase. Our most important focus is ensuring we’re doing all we can to minimise our emissions through our carbon reduction initiatives.
To move towards our goal, we are committed to taking advantage of the very best technology available in the industry and this season we will be trialling a Diesel-Electric Groomer.
We are always working to do more, but we think this is a pretty good start as we begin our decarbonisation journey. We will continue to keep you posted on our progress.
RESTORE & REGROW
One of our exciting initiatives we’re undergoing on our sustainability journey is restoring and revegetating our mountain. To date we have planted 6,550 native Manuka and Totara trees. We have been planting these trees over a number of year and in the future these trees will begin to sequester carbon, taking over from the credits we purchase.
A SAFE PLACE TO LAND
In the past few years there have been a few kea visit Mt Hutt – but we’d love to see more. Kea are the world’s only alpine parrot with very cheeky and inquisitive personalities. We work hard to ensure Mt Hutt is a habitable environment for our native birds. Our revegetation and predator trapping efforts will continue to help support these native birds to visit our mountain regularly.
To help the Kea and other birds, we run an extensive trapping programme which includes 65 traps across several kilometres of the mountain. The trap lines intercept and trap pests such as stoats, possums and rats from wandering up Mt Hutt and threatening bird nests and young. Reducing the number of pests on the mountain also increases food sources for the birds. So far, we have trapped and eliminated almost 1,000 pests.
We have been working hard to significantly reduce waste in our café and restaurant through a number of different initiatives. We have also made a commitment to measure the amount of waste that goes to landfill and into our innovative waste technology called an 'ORCA' – this will help us gain better understanding of how we can further successfully make reductions.
The ORCA is a pretty special piece of technology. This machine takes all food waste from our café and restaurant and creates the perfect environment for it to break down into a liquid that then gets added to our wastewater system to make its way off mountain. This technology eliminates the need to truck our food waste off mountain.
- 90% of the tableware we use (mugs, plates, knives, forks) are either reusable or home-compostable
- We’ve outlawed takeaway cups, single use sauce packets, and many types of single use plastic food packaging
This season we are also part of The Chunky Loan Cup System – guests can pay $10 for a cup they can keep either keep, return for a $10 refund or swap it for a clean one next time you grab a coffee.
SNOW ON THE GO
Our snowmaking machines are the best in the business meaning they're energy efficient when using both power and water to make snow. The water used is from our snowmaking reservoirs that are kept topped up via bores that tap into aquifers or streams that are fed by snow melt and run-off.
Our fleet of groomers are equipped with SNOWsat - a sophisticated snow management technology that leverages GPS and accurate ground surveys. SNOWsat continuously measures and displays snow depth in real-time allowing our groomer operators to distribute snow more evenly as they traverse the mountain, and ensure we only make snow where it’s needed. Coupled with detailed machine/operator diagnostics, SNOWsat has enabled a 15% reduction in seasonal fuel and power associated with trail preparation and maintenance.
This season we will also be trialling a Diesel-Electric Groomer.
We encourage all our guests to ride-share or book a lift up with the external bus companies we work with, to reduce the amount of trips taken per season. One bus can offset 50 to 60 car trips. Snow Riders NZ is a great place to find mates to share a lift up the hill with. This season we are also tracking fuel efficiency across our vehicle fleet to encourage efficient driving practices in vehicles and grooming.