Environmental Protection

What we do practically to minimise our footprint when operating in Antarctica

Pollution Prevention

Carbon and Energy Management

Carbon and Energy Management

To protect the Antarctic (and global) environment we have made a strong commitment to minimising energy demands to meet our sustainability objective. We do this by running Scott Base as a leading environmentally sustainable small research base in Antarctica by:

  • Maximising the use of sealift and minimise airlift use for intercontinental logistics
  • Using more renewable energy
  • Reducing the amount of energy and materials we use
  • Reducing or recycling our waste

Since the 2008/09 season, Antarctica New Zealand has met the requirements of the Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme (CEMARS), a certification programme offered by Enviro-Mark Solutions has been certified as having measured its greenhouse gas emissions in compliance with ISO 14064-1 and committed to managing and reducing its emissions in respect of the operational activities of its organisation.

We are also signed up to the Energy-Mark certification programme, also offered by Enviro-Mark Solutions. Through the Energy-Mark programme we are aiming to develop, implement and maintain an energy management system. The Energy-Mark certification programme is a simple, three-step journey that recognises and rewards businesses for robustly managing their energy use.

More information on our carbon emissions can be found here.

Cleaning Up Sites of Past Activity

Cleaning up past sites

The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty requires sites of past activity, including old waste disposal sites and abandoned work sites to be cleaned up unless they are designated as Historic Sites and Monuments or the circumstances are such that removal would result in greater environmental impact than leaving them in place.

Antarctica New Zealand maintains an inventory of sites of past activity which includes records of deployed field equipment (including all field huts and fuel caches for example) as well as reported sites of historic waste. The inventory is used to assist in coordinating clean-up activities.

Antarctica New Zealand receives occasional reports of equipment, material and debris in various locations in the field, some of which may have historic or heritage value. We have developed an evaluation process to assess the historic value of reported items discovered in the field to assess whether such items should be recovered, remain in situ, and whether or not they should be proposed for listing on the list of Historic Sites and Monuments maintained by the Antarctic Treaty Parties.

Additional information and guidance material below:

Committee for Environmental Protection clean-up manual
ATCM Guidelines for handling pre-1958 historic remains
Clean up of past waste disposal site information summary on the Antarctic Environments Portal

Hazardous Substances Management

Haz substances

To maintain, operate and support science at Scott Base, Antarctic New Zealand is required to store and handle hazardous substances. There are many potential risks to humans, property and the environment if these substances are not handled and stored in the correct manner. The handling and storage of fuel presents one of the largest risks to the environment due to the large quantities handled around Scott Base and in the field.

The regular turnover of staff at Scott Base demands that certain repeat activities are well documented to ensure high standards are maintained. A suite of standard operating procedures (SOPs) has been developed to address this need. A spill prevention and response plan and emergency management response procedures have also been developed.

Additional information and guidance material below:

Scott Base Fuel and Hazardous Substance Spill Prevention and Response Plan

Flora and Fauna

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Our objectives is to prevent taking or harmfully interfering with native fauna and flora through Antarctica New Zealand activities.

Antarctic wildlife and plants can be very sensitive to human disturbance. Unless you have a permit, disturbance of wildlife or damage or removal of plants may constitute 'harmful interference' which is prohibited under the Antarctica (Environmental Protection) Act (1994).

Antarctica New Zealand’s code of conduct provides guidance on minimising impacts on wildlife when in Antarctica.

For additional information and guidance material see:

Annex II to the Protocol on Environmental Protection
Guidelines for the Operation of Aircraft Near Concentrations of Birds
Human disturbance to Antarctic wildlife information summary on the Antarctic Environments Portal

Managing Waste

Managing waste

Most activities carried out in Antarctica will produce waste, almost all of which is returned to New Zealand for treatment and disposal. All waste must be correctly handled, whether in the field or at Scott Base.

We encourage all programme participants to minimise the generation of waste by removing unnecessary packaging and other potential waste before sending items to Antarctica or into the field.

We have developed a streamed approach to managing waste at Scott Base and require all programme participants to dispose of their waste in one of three broad categories: general waste, recyclables, and hazardous waste.

Some materials including polystyrene beads, chips or similar forms of packaging, non-sterile soil, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides are prohibited and should not be sent to Antarctica.

Additional information and guidance material below:

Annex III to the Protocol on Environmental Protection
Scott Base Waste Stream Poster
Antarctica New Zealand Waste Manual 2015/16


Managing Non-Native Species Risks


Our objective is to conserve Antarctic biodiversity and intrinsic values by preventing the unintended introduction to the Antarctic region of species not native to that region, and the movement of species within Antarctica from one biogeographic zone to any other.

Biological invasions are amongst the most significant threats to biodiversity worldwide, threatening species survival and being responsible for major changes to ecosystem structure and functioning. Despite Antarctica's isolation and harsh climatic conditions, invasions have and are occurring and are recognised as a serious risk to native biodiversity.

Introducing non-native species, including any animal, plant or non-sterile soil is prohibited except in accordance with a specific permit.

Antarctica New Zealand’s code of conduct requires all programme participants to clean all clothing, boots and equipment before travelling to Antarctica. Particular attention needs to be paid to boot treads, Velcro fastenings and pockets, which could contain soil or seeds.

Additional information and guidance below:

Committee for Environmental Protection non-native species manual
COMNAP / SCAR guide for supply chain managers
Non-native species pages on the Antarctic Environments Portal