Sustainability and Environmental Management

Mainfreight promotes a clean, safe and healthy environment for all its team.  We are committed to exceeding minimum environmental standards where practicable.  Our commitment to sustainability involves concerns for both natural and developed environments, and for the economically and environmentally efficient use of resources.

Mainfreight has always attempted to reduce the environmental impact of its operations.  Our sustainability initiatives have often resulted in reduced costs; so the bottom line and the environment are both winners.

Climate change remains an issue for businesses and governments everywhere. For Mainfreight it begins with accepting that our business is based on an activity that generates carbon emissions and therefore taking responsibility to reduce those emissions over time while maintaining our competitiveness and ability to deliver quality services as our customers expect. We measure the carbon emissions we generate across our global operations.

We continue to lobby for the ability to move more domestic freight by rail particularly throughout New Zealand and Australia, because the simple fact is trucks emit 4.6 times more CO2 per tonne km carried than trains.  It is critical for the wealth and productivity of all countries that rail services improve not only to reduce carbon emissions but also to improve the efficiency of their domestic transport infrastructures.

In New Zealand we continue to take the opportunity to build more freight facilities on rail-served land.  We now have 13 rail-served sites in New Zealand and importantly, these sites are on the main freight corridors of New Zealand.  We also continue to push for more New Zealand Government investment in improving rail infrastructure, and the viability of coastal shipping.  Identifying rail freight opportunities in Australia, the United States of America and Europe remains difficult but not insurmountable. 

Our Greenhouse Gas Emissions

We welcome the opportunity to present our global emissions inventories. With this disclosure to ISO 14064-1 :2018, Mainfreight intends to demonstrate best practice in emissions reporting and reinforce its commitment to better understanding and, ultimately, improving our operational carbon emissions performance.

Our inventories are independently verified by Toitū Envirocare and follow the six categories structure of the new standard rather than the closely aligned Scopes 1-3. A significant feature of this carbon disclosure is the inclusion of emissions on the basis of operational control (not financial control). It is our belief that if we can exercise reasonable influence over an emissions source then we must include it. As a result we incorporate emissions from vehicles operated by owner drivers and agents, rail providers, shipping lines and airlines that support our service offering to customers. For full details and wider explanation of our emissions inventories, please refer to our Greenhouse Gas Inventory Reports below:

2021 GHG Emissions Inventory Report
2020 GHG Emissions Inventroy Report

Sustainability Initiatives

In seeking to reduce our emissions, Mainfreight’s sustainability initiatives include:

  • Moving capacity from road to rail and coastal shipping
  • Route planning – using GPS in congested international cities
  • Truck size management – using smaller trucks for distribution within cities and larger trucks between cities
  • Promoting off-peak distribution, particularly between cities and from ports
  • Efficient driving techniques promulgated through our driver training programmes
  • Vehicle maintenance guidelines for owner-drivers to promote efficient running of their trucks
  • The conversion of gas and diesel powered forklifts operating on our docks to electric, and the use of manual pallet trucks to replace forklifts where practicable
We have looked at biofuel opportunities in New Zealand, but issues still surround the consistent supply of reliable products by the fuel companies.  We continue to keep a watching brief on future developments in this area. 


Sustainability and Information Technology

  • Reducing the environmental impact of IT infrastructure is important.  Our data centres in New Zealand, Australia and the United States of America are as energy efficient as possible through initiatives including:
  • Minimising computer room space to minimise cooling requirements
  • Installing efficient cooling systems
  • Using virtualisation to reduce hardware required, - and heat generated – Mainfreight currently runs 48 major applications across only 12 physical servers
  • Using hardware with variable energy management systems – running at full capacity only on an “as needed” basis

Mainfreight’s Commitment to Sustainability

It is important to note that through good old-fashioned common sense, we have been recycling office and depot waste for 24 years in New Zealand. We store and use rainwater and recycle grey water for truck washing, ablutions and irrigation.  Where possible, our new freight and warehousing facilities are built with sustainability and environmental design principles in mind; energy-efficient lighting and heating solutions; and solar power installations where feasible.  Rain gardens are installed as a feature of our landscaped grounds.

Mainfreight remains committed to reducing our carbon footprint and enhancing the environment through our long-held practices of recycling and other sustainability practices, no matter where we are located in the world. 

Mainfreight is actively committed to sustainability and environmentally friendly practices.  Mainfreight will develop partnerships in the wider community to promote socially responsible environmental practices and show leadership in managing the use of finite resources.

Mainfreight’s commitment to sustainability, safety, health and the environment has been, and continues to be, a fundamental element of our operating practices and success to date.

Mainfreight Sustainability Policy | July 2021

Mainfreight Sustainability Policy

Mainfreight Sustainability Policy

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