With a goal of becoming more sustainable and reducing their carbon footprint, iFly, an indoor skydiving facility in Queenstown, joined the Climate Action Initiative (CAI) in 2021, a community-led program with the aim of reducing local businesses’ greenhouse gas emissions. IFly’s journey highlights the importance of collaboration, data-driven decision-making, and a commitment to a greener future.
The Climate Action Initiative, delivered by Environmental Accounting Services through WAO Aotearoa is supported by Queenstown Lakes District Council, Destination Queenstown, and Lake Wanaka Tourism. At its core, CAI aims to bring small businesses together to tackle the pressing issue of greenhouse gas emissions head-on.
Operating a vertical wind tunnel facility simulating the freefall experience of skydiving, iFly was facing a substantial electricity consumption, akin to that of a hotel, resulting in a significant carbon footprint. Recognising the need to align their operations with community and customer expectations for a sustainable tourism industry, iFly made the choice to join CAI.
Through CAI’s comprehensive workshops and mentorship, iFly embarked on an educational journey to estimate, understand, and reduce their carbon emissions. The program not only emphasised the importance of accurate data collection but also debunked the myth that the process was an insurmountable hurdle. Breaking it down into manageable steps, the program allowed iFly to understand their carbon footprint and make plans to reduce it.
Guided by CAI’s expert insights, iFly engaged in comprehensive data collection, shedding light on their environmental impact and identifying key areas for reduction. Marking a decisive step towards a greener future, iFly set a bold goal: to achieve carbon neutrality by 2022.
iFly’s journey exemplifies the ripple effect of sustainability efforts. The CAI initiative has been a catalyst for change not only within iFly but within the broader business community, with over 60 small businesses in the region registered to participate. As emissions reductions have become an integral part of long-term planning for events and destination management. The Queenstown Lakes District Council’s acknowledgment of a Climate Emergency in 2019 further propelled the momentum, garnering widespread community support for effective climate action.
iFly’s involvement with CAI has opened an exciting world of opportunities. The program has led iFly to explore opportunities in green energy production and other green business ventures outside of their core offering.
Matt hopes that other businesses in the region can resonate with iFly’s story, urging fellow tourism operators to embrace sustainability and set environmental goals that align with the long-term vision of their businesses. The transformation that iFly has undergone, from a business operation to a champion of sustainability, is a testament to the potential that lies within the partnership between community-led initiatives and forward-thinking enterprises. iFly’s journey underscores the vital role that small businesses can play in driving positive change and setting the stage for a brighter tomorrow.