The Environment Strategy [PDF, 1.1 MB] sets out our environmental responsibilities, and planned actions with a view to building a shared understanding of our sustainability priorities. It provides clear direction as to where we should focus our efforts, and the steps needed to achieve our environmental goals whilst recognising the importance of working collaboratively with our partners, customers and communities to deliver on these outcomes.

The actions in our strategy are underpinned by three key principles:

  1. Ensuring a fair and just transition for our customers and communities
  2. Supporting Māori aspirations for sustainability in the places where they want to live
  3. Leveraging opportunities that arise because of the scale and position of Kāinga Ora in the construction and land development sectors.

In delivering on these principles, we aim to achieve four key outcomes:

  1. Avoid producing emissions or making decisions that result in others producing emissions (including transitioning our housing, infrastructure and operations to net zero emissions).
  2. Use resources effectively and efficiently particularly minimising water consumed, waste produced and materials used, supporting the transition towards a circular economy.
  3. Enhance the natural environment restoring mana and mauri of the whenua and awa recognising that if the whenua is not healthy, every dimension of whanau wellbeing suffers.
  4. Mitigate climate change risks to minimise negative climate outcomes for our homes, customers and communities, including defending whare and whenua.

Our 10 key moves

These strategic moves are the roadmap to achieving our key outcomes across our organisational, housing and urban development activities. Importantly, the first three moves are internally focused, to ensure sustainability and climate awareness is embedded into the core of our business and our key decision making processes.


1. Embed climate change risk management into decision making
Embedding current and future climate risk into our urban development, building and investment decision making, considering what and where we are building.

2. Embed climate change mitigation into decision making
Reporting on emissions impacts of all key decision making documents and implementing an internal carbon price as a lever to deliver on our emissions reduction targets.

3. Emissions inventories and reduction plans
Developing whole-of-life emissions inventories and emissions reduction plans aligned with Government requirements and a 1.5°C trajectory for our corporate, housing and urban development activities.


4. Carbon neutral housing
Advancing the carbon neutral housing programme to meet emissions reduction targets and catalyse performance improvements in the sector more broadly. 

5. Renewable energy
Realising the onsite renewable energy generation potential of our public housing assets to both reduce emissions and energy hardship for our customers. 

6. Construction and site clearance waste minimisation
Designing our assets, site clearance and maintenance activities in a way that minimises waste and preserves materials and components for reuse to support the cross government focus on transitioning to a circular economy.

Urban development

7. Low carbon urban development and infrastructure
Planning our developments so that they reduce carbon pollution, increase climate resilience and regenerate natural systems. Reducing the carbon impacts of the infrastructure we are requiring and enabling through our developments. 

8. Transport mode shift
Supporting communities to transition into low emissions transport alternatives.

9. Ngahere in urban environments
Reconnecting communities to the environment around them and supporting environmental restoration with a focus on building ngahere in urban environments.

10. Restoring mauri of awa
Designing our neighbourhoods to restore waterways and connection of the land with the water; and, reduce the sediment entering our waterways.

More information

Read more on how we are building climate resilient homes and communities.

Page updated: 16 November 2022