Priority One’s year in review: Sustainability


A strong stance on environmental sustainability is crucial for the future resilience of the sub-region’s economy.

Take 5 on Sustainability

Priority One Sustainability Lead, Marissa Nikora, discusses Priority One’s Sustainability Strategy for the Western Bay. Driven by member demand, the strategy aims to position Tauranga as New Zealand’s most sustainable city, focusing on environmental, social, and economic aspects. Collaborating with local businesses and Tauranga City Council, the strategy aligns with regional priorities in transport, energy, waste, and land. Projects like the Regional Energy Transition Accelerator Programme and Circular Construction demonstrate the tangible progress that’s been made. Marissa encourages businesses to start their sustainability journey with tips on carbon reduction, risk assessment, and sustainable transport, and looks ahead to 2024, as events and workshops will further support businesses in decarbonisation and sustainable growth for the region. Explore sustainability resources and case studies for guidance, and connect with Marissa to get involved.

Environmental Sustainability Strategy

Priority One’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy was redefined in 2022/23, focusing on decarbonisation and the circular economy, with projects across land, energy, transport, and waste. Priority One delivered eleven workshops and events supporting local businesses and attracting 454 attendees to build capability and learn about financing sustainability initiatives, decarbonisation, transport alternatives, electrifying transport fleets, sustainability brand storytelling, circular economy and Green Star building standards. Priority One also implemented our own sustainability framework, measuring our environmental footprint and developing a plan to reduce our impact.

Decarbonisation Programme

Decarbonisation Programmes delivered by Priority One, in partnership with Tadpole, enabled 32 local businesses to start their sustainability journeys. The decarbonisation programme worked with businesses to understand their current sustainability status and to provide the tools to enable them to begin measuring their internal footprints and implementing strategies to lessen their impact.

We also supported Bay of Connections and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) to deliver the Regional Energy Transition Accelerator (RETA) key findings from their first phase of work to understand what is needed to decarbonise process heat use in the Bay of Plenty. There are 29 demand sites in our region with 16 of those industrial businesses and a majority utilising reticulated gas. The regional roadmap to decarbonise using geothermal, biomass and electricity is the next step in the RETA programme, and will be made publicly available in March 2024.

Circular Construction Project

The ongoing development of the Circular Economy project, spearheaded by our three councils, is underway. We will continue to work closely with the councils once this report is finalised. Through industry engagement with the construction sector and our focus on the circular economy, we have established the Circular Construction project. With the aim to create an industry led group that will promote and activate circularity within the construction sector, we have set our first meeting for the new year to formulate our action plan to establish key initiatives that will help us achieve our goal.

Shift – Rethink Your Commute

The Shift Hub was a successful delivery activated for the month of July and we have since created a mini Shift Hub that we took to business to help educate staff on how they could adopt alternative modes of transport. The opportunity exists for Priority One to utilise the already established ‘Shift’ brand to influence city and region wide mode shift to reduce congestion and emissions, by supporting the Transport Systems Plan (TSP). Mode Shift is established in Tauranga City Council’s Climate Action & Investment Plan, and is an important business delivery that Priority One will support.