Sawmill looks beyond the trees

13 Feb 23

Our Stories

Tracy Goss, General Manager OneFortyOne’s Kaituna Sawmill

OPINION: OneFortyOne manages 80,000 hectares of land in the top of the south, our trees sequester and store tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year. That carbon is then trapped in the wood for years to come, and the harvested trees are replanted.

Whilst forestry produces a highly renewable material, at Kaituna sawmill we believe our contribution needs to extend beyond trees and carbon sequestration to decarbonising the business.

Our business is growing and processing trees. We work with the land and we have an important role to play in supporting and driving environmental outcomes. Not only that, but our business is impacted by climate change, we have a responsibility to reduce our emissions and, we have a vested interest in doing so.

At the sawmill we started measuring emissions 10 years ago, and since then have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 46 per cent (934 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent).

Instead of burning waste oil to power the kilns, the kilns are now powered by our own sawdust and wood waste offcuts.

We were burning about $500,000 in waste oil a year, so it’s a reduction in cost as well as in footprint.

To further reduce emissions, OneFortyOne committed $11.2 million to convert three of the sawmill’s batch kilns to continuous drying kilns (CDK). This will improve energy utilisation from the boiler and decrease transportation costs with more timber transported per truck load.

The upgrade will result in 20 less trucks per month on the road reducing the sawmill’s annual emissions by 9 per cent.

Alongside the environmental benefits, there are also benefits for the regional economy, with the $11.2m project creating new jobs, and increasing the amount of timber available for the domestic construction industry. It is the ultimate in sustainability.

There is an opportunity for the sawmill to be supporting the Marlborough energy market with biofuel products that can help local businesses reduce their carbon footprint.

We can make changes within our business to reduce emissions, but to make real change, we must collaborate.

OneFortyOne supports environmental projects outside the sawmill, partnering with the Cawthron Institute on a seagrass restoration project that aims to fight climate change and improve ecosystem health.

The three-year research project will develop a blueprint for seed-based seagrass restoration that can be carried out across Aotearoa. The aim is to enable large-scale restoration of seagrass meadows, helping to support biodiversity, improve water quality and sequester carbon.

OneFortyOne acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their deep connections to land, water, and community. We pay our respect to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations people today.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori communities have a strong spiritual connection between people and the land – the wellbeing of one sustains the wellbeing of the other. We strive to build meaningful relationships with iwi as tangata whenua (people of the land/region), to be responsible intergenerational kaitiaki (stewards/guardians) of the land where our forests grow.